Tackling the Morning Rush

Articles abound on how to order your mornings for a less hectic, more controlled pace while getting everyone out the door on time, but I’ve found they’re mostly targeted at ONE age group and rarely address a family with kids in almost every developmental bracket. Our kids are now 11.5, 9, 7, 6, and 20 months, so the only thing we’re missing at this point is a high schooler. I’ve been a mom for over a decade (and prior to that, was the eldest of six that spanned an age range of 18 years!), so I have begun to get a sense of what works well for us at this stage of familyhood. For what seemed like forever, I was convinced that my Tiny People woke up every morning with a determination to fulfill their daily mission of making me late for work, and totally stressing me out in the process.  By the time I actually plopped down at my desk, I felt like a glass of wine.  Not cool at 8am.  So I got to thinking…how can I trick these little ones into cooperating?  After all, I am a bit older and wiser.  Without further babbling, I’d like to offer a few quick tips that have worked well for our family’s morning routine. Take what works, leave what doesn’t, and don’t sweat the rest.

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Mass boring? Can’t focus? Let’s Chat.

Any Catholic parent knows that attending Mass with Tiny People Under the Age of 20 is heroic in and of itself.  First, there’s the struggle to get out the door without breaking 70% of the Ten Commandments.  Then, the oh-so-pleasant ride to Mass, made memorable by the people who are still upset about the ritual of getting ready, and those who aren’t still raving are downright sullen.  Of course, Dad taking the turn into the parking lot on two wheels and almost hitting old Mrs. Reilly with the car doesn’t help the mood much, either.  And then, the fun begins!  Race to the door!  Bathe in the holy water!  Stop pulling your sister’s sweater off!  Race to the pew!  Genuflect towards Jesus, not the exit sign!  For goodness’ sake, GET IN THE PEW ALREADY!  Sit!  Kneel!  Stand!  Stop chewing on your hair!  No, you can’t go up and talk to Father on the altar right now!  If you ask me if we’re getting donuts after Mass ONE MORE TIME… GET BACK IN THE PEW!  You should’ve went before we left home!  Why do you have a stuffed snake?!  WHERE DID YOU HIDE THAT THING?!  No, it’s not time to go home!  Three more songs!  And so on.  Sound familiar? Continue reading