By 7 a.m., my house becomes a war zone. Papers are flying, sandwiches are slapped together, backpacks are stuffed, and kids are fighting - all because they are trying to get to the bus on time. Each child has a separate goal in mind, and his or her siblings are in the way.
This leaves me in the middle. As their mother, I try to make sure I've checked and initialed their homework, signed their consent forms, made sure their lunches aren't full of junk food, provided them some kind of breakfast, and ensured their outfits mostly match and their hair is halfway presentable.
Over the years, I've learned several tips to help combat the madness.
Stagger wake-up times
I have one junior high child who catches the bus earlier. I get him up 15 minutes before the others. That way he's in the shower and usually out by the time the girls want their turn.
Get the homework and all the paper sorting done the night before
Sometimes, this can be hard, depending on after-school activities, but it removes a huge burden if we know that all papers are already tucked away in their backpacks.
Provide options for breakfast
My junior high kid doesn't like to eat breakfast, but I've found a healthy alternative. It began with my own protein shakes. He'd always ask for one, but because they were expensive I always turned him down. However, I've found that grocery stores carry a basic health shake that is much more affordable and meets all his nutritional needs.
Combat winter wake-ups
In winter, it can be especially hard waking up kids. One way I've found to get them out of bed easier is to put their outfit in the dryer for five minutes. Then, I tell them when the buzzer goes off they need to jump out of bed and get dressed into toasty warm clothes. This usually does the trick.
Kill the distractions
Shut off the TV, unplug the game systems, and hide the toys. Let your child's only goal be getting out the door.
Whenever I'm upset or freaking out, my kids easily mirror my attitude. Often, I'll put on soft music. The tension immediately drains from the room.