These past several weeks have not always been “easy”. I mean, our family hasn’t gone through any major tragedy. We both still have jobs, and we have our health and one another. The thing we have lost is our regular routine that helps us manage the day, our tasks, and expectations.
I, personally, find it exhausting to act like the personal assistant or servant of my children, at their beck and call every moment of the day. Having a 12, 8, and 3 year old, their needs and the urgency of those needs vary, but I was exhausted for not having a moment to just exist! I was fighting from the minute I got out of bed to get the kids on task. I had virtually no time for my own work, and my glass was empty! Have I mentioned that my husband works from home (all the time) and he sucks at making it to meetings, so I already act as a secretary for him making sure I’m hounding him about getting to meetings every day.
During spring break we did all sorts of fun things and even though we were stuck at home, both my husband and I took the week off of work. We had a little time to read a good book, catch up on work in the garden, and enjoy our children without the stress and pressure of day to day stuff.
When it was time to get back to work and school this week, I decided to start the day with 3 things that have immensely helped us to manage the day, and have lightened my load as the days have gone by.
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Pack Their Lunchboxes
Pack their lunches first thing in the morning- Packing lunches is my nemesis. In fact, I have often posted a picture of lunchboxes on the last day of the school year to commemorate the fact that I don’t have to pack lunches for the whole summer. It was one of the small upsides to the whole distance learning thing. But then my kids were coming to me hungry at all times of day asking for lunch. Packing lunches has helped me to answer all the “mom I am hungry” comments with “check your lunch box”. It’s like I don’t need to manage their food needs the rest of the daytime and it’s definitely worth it. I also just need to share about our favorite lunchbox organizing containers (since we’re really trying to cut down on disposable plastic bags). These containers are fun, dishwasher safe, and they are so easy to use when packing lunches or snacks!
Plan their chores-
Every day I tell my kids they’ll need to do some chores before they get screen time. The problem is that they finish school activities at all different times and then they’re hounding me for which chores they need to do in order to play. Sometimes I’m in the middle of working, or washing dishes, and it’s just another overwhelm for me. Instead, I’ve started planning and posting their chores on the door in the kitchen first thing in the morning. This helps them to know what’s expected, it helps me to know which chores will be done (so I don’t break my back trying to clean up after everyone), and it keeps them independent with transitioning and being held accountable for chores. At first I used sticky notes, (click here to read more about how I do sticky note clean up), but now I’ve just laminated a sheet of paper and I’ll be writing their chores each day with a vis a vis marker.
Make them get dressed
I, personally, love hanging in my loungewear and jammies ( I love shopping with these ladies who have a small boutique). I am honestly just as effective and motivated to be productive in my comfy clothes. However, it turns out my kids aren’t. Beginning last week, we decided to make our kids get dressed and brush their teeth first thing in the morning. This seems to help something click in their brains. I imagine the message is something like “Oh yeah… I guess it’s time to do something now.” This small routine has really changed the overall mood and attitude in our house throughout the day.
Don’t get me wrong, things aren’t perfect around here, and we’re definitely having rough days. Yesterday I had a temper tantrum, for example (yes I closed the door and cried and yelled into a pillow about how this all sucks and I want our “best life” back). If you have other tips for making this quarantine and distance learning go more smoothly, please share in the comments!