**This post is dedicated to all of the STAR mamas who have little ones to motivate into the car, early, every Wednesday morning, and to every other mama out there who has children to get out the door, any day of the week.**
We enjoyed Week Four of STAR Homeschool Community last week. I try to get to the church around 8:20 or 8:30 to set up a few things, and then I run upstairs by 8:45 or so in order to greet families coming in for our 9 am start time. This last Wednesday, things were a bit quieter than the previous two weeks between 8:45 and 9 am, and then the crowds started flowing in a little after 9 am. I mentioned to another STAR mama, with delight, “people are getting comfortable in this community now.”
I am truly overjoyed that this community is thriving, and I could not have imagined how beautiful this would be!! This post is not meant to shame any hard-working mamas! Consider this friendly advice from a seasoned, “been there, done that” mom. I want to share a few tips and tricks we have learned over the years that made getting out the door a little smoother for us.
Make “Clothes Kids” the Night Before
It’s a silly name, and I am not sure where it came from, but this is what our children called it. Do you see how this outfit is laid out?
This is a baby outfit, but our children were setting up outfits like this on their bedroom floor, down to the socks, when they were much bigger kids. I can’t remember the age they stopped doing this, and it makes me a little sad that our super tall daughters are not creating “Clothes Kids” any longer.
We went back to this technique when we had three year old foster twins who had some pretty big tantrums over clothes in the morning. This helped! We were able to remind the twins “remember, you picked out these clothes last night.”
Whether you choose to lay the clothes out like a “Clothes Kid” or in a pile on top of the dresser, it doesn’t matter. This was a fun way for our children to set it up for themselves just before bed, the night before a big event (or in the case of our foster children–every night, to avoid the daily tantrums).
Don’t Fret, Buy Some Duplicates
Maybe our situation with our foster twins was unique, but the little guy (who was on the autism spectrum) was obsessed with Thomas the Train and Mickey Mouse. If a t-shirt did not have one of these characters on it, we were in for a big fit. I couldn’t always guarantee that the one, worn out Thomas shirt or the beloved Mickey shirt would be out of the washer or dryer on time, so I came up with a solution: I purchased multiple inexpensive Thomas and Mickey shirts and filled his dresser drawer with them.
I promise we won’t be judging you at STAR if your child shows up in the same outfit every week.
It’s okay to have a few duplicates, if you need them, in order to maintain some sanity in your morning routine.
Prepare Lunches the Night Before
I know this is easier said than done, and I know what it’s like to be so exhausted in the evening that you cannot picture doing one more thing. Trust me, mama, you’ll be just as tired in the morning, and you will thank yourself if you got lunches packed up and water bottles ready the night before.
Perhaps you need a routine of a STAR lunch? Like your child’s clothing, it is truly okay to show up to STAR every single week with the exact same lunch. Setting up a routine like this & putting regular items on your grocery list can protect something extremely precious: your brain power. If you are in a routine, you won’t have to come up with a plan of “what’s for lunch?” every single week.
To avoid complaints from the children about having the same lunch every week, make it a tiny bit special. Throw in a juice box or a special kind of cheese they don’t get at home (like Baby Bel cheeses–our kids love those!) or a to-go yogurt they wouldn’t typically get. Or! Get a STAR cookie cutter and cut slices of cheese or meat or bread like STARS, but only on STAR days! Make it so that your child looks forward to their STAR lunch because it’s special and just a little different in some way.
Decide on Your Weekly Breakfast
Like the routine lunch concept, choose a breakfast plan for every single week of STAR. Toast & sausage? A breakfast burrito? Oatmeal? Again, removing the need to thinkabout what is for breakfast will make your brain feel less frazzled in the morning.
Consider preparing and freezing some easy breakfasts to use each Wednesday. This last summer, my kids and I made some easy, cheesy (ha!) breakfast burritos like theseand stuck them in the freezer. They were simple to warm up and serve. An easy breakfast will be super useful for getting out the door quickly!
Pray About Your Morning the Night Before
I learned the benefit of praying about my morning the night before when I was involved in an early Bible study in high school. I had friends to pick up on the way there, and I wrote a little drama skit for the group every week, in the morning, right before we met. It was the morning after our wild & crazy youth group, and I was soo tired, and a teenager, and I knew I needed to pray in order to make it through. I prayed every week, and watched God faithfully wake me up on time and give me energy, strength, mental clarity and even joy!
Can you imagine having all of these things on a Wednesday morning when you are rushing out the door with your little ones? Pray about your morning. He is good and faithful! Watch Him work.
Skip the Coffee
Okay, maybe you were with me on praying, but skip the coffee? I’ve lost you, haven’t I?! Haha! Here’s my reasoning: we have a Keurig machine sitting in the Project Room and a tea kettle and three full boxes of a variety of teas. I keep some k-cups and flavored creamer cups in the Project Room, as well as raw sugar, stevia and honey. There is also real half & half in the little fridge. One of the mamas sets up this coffee station for the moms each week, and so far, only one or two moms has used it each week. Make use of it! Grab your coffee when you get to STAR! One great thing about this is that it is much less likely that you will spill it on yourself as you’re trying to wrangle children, find the car keys in the bottom of your purse and rush out the door.
If you’d like different flavors of coffee or different additions (non-dairy creamers, alternative sweeteners, whatever you like), let me know, or feel free to bring your favorites. Gather ’round the coffee “pot” and enjoy! (Maybe it won’t be as amazing as your home-brewed joe, but perhaps you will find the sacrifice is worth the time it saves you).
What Ideas Do You Have?
Comment below and let me (and other moms) know your tips and tricks for getting out the door! We would love to learn from you! (Our children learn at STAR and so do we!).
I hope this was helpful! Let me know what you think about it below. See you Wednesday morning, bright and early!
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