First, I decide on 3 critical times.
- The time we have to head downstairs
- The time we call dad on the phone for family prayer (since he is long gone by now -- catching the 6:21 train)
- The time we have to leave
On a regular school day, we have to head downstairs by 7:45
We call dad (Trent) at 8:20.
And we have to leave by 8:27.
I usually awake when my kids start to awake (sometime between 6:30 and 7:30 right now-- if I have to be ready and leave for somewhere at the same time as the kids, then I for sure get up by 6:45, but if not-- I sleep as long as they do. And as a note, I have NEVER had to awaken my children, no alarms, nothing. They just get up. -- except on Saturday they get up an hour earlier, go figure???)
And then keeping the first time in mind I start on the list working in order of importance.
- Get everyone dressed to their shoes, fix their hair (myself included)-- whenever there is time I shower and get ready also
- Make the beds
- Fold and put away the jammies
- Straighten each room
- Gather all the dirty clothes, garbage, drycleaning if it is a Mon or Thurs
At about 7:40, we all kick into high gear, we have been known to all get the whole list done in 5 minutes. I expect all my kids to help out, but every bit of encouragement helps. I often say things like, "Here, I'll make your bed, while you get dressed let's see who wins?" Anything to get them in gear. Julianne is especially aware that if you hang out upstairs with items open, you will get recruited to help even more so most mornings she gets dressed, makes her bed, cleans up her room and then bring me the hair stuff to fix her hair so that she can head downstairs and avoid me.
At 7:45 we all head downstairs -- any unfinished items will have to wait for later.
From 7:45 - 8:20 we work on this list
- Empty the dishwasher (julianne does the top, catherine the bottom and madelyn the silverware -- adam "helps" everyone) -- It is always clean in the morning-- I start it every night no matter how full or empty it is -- It may not be the most economical, but it is the one thing that helps me be the most efficient.
- Eat Breakfast & clean up it
- Pack snacks and lunches
- Practice the piano (the 2 big girls take turns, one practices for 15 min while the other eats and does the dishwasher and then they switch)
- Sort the laundry I brought down and start a load.
- Load the backpacks
At 8:20 we call Trent's office and he participates in Family prayer via speaker phone.
From there, we put on sweaters, sweatshirts, hoodies, heavy coats, mittens, hats, scarves, and backpacks and head to the bus stop. (I wish I could say I was kidding about all the layers, but I am not.)
Once the big girls are off and if the 2 lists are done, I walk in the house at 8:40 and Madelyn, Adam and I are ready for the day, the upstairs is all cleaned and now off limits, and the kitchen is clean and closed. Then I take the next 20-30 mintues and do whatever chores are in store for the day
- Monday -- the upstairs -- dust, sweep, floormate if necessary, change the sheets (I don't make the beds on Mondays, instead we strip the beds
- Tuesday -- dust and vacuum the basements and stairs
- Wednesday -- dust and vacuum (floormate) the office, living/dining room and hall
- Thursday -- dust and vacuum (floormate) the family room, breakfast room, and Kitchen. Clean the countertops and appliances
- Friday -- the bathrooms
On a good day, we are done by 9:30 and have the rest of the day to play. I also try to fold, iron, and put away 2 loads of laundry a day. My goal is to have everything done so we can play as a family on Saturday and rest as a family on Sunday.
It rarely works out just perfect, but it at least gives me the framework so I don't feel overwhelmed. I don't have to do it all in one day, I just work hard on the chores of the day and once that part is finished, I can relax and enjoy the rest of the day.
The best part is that the afternoons and the afterschool/evening times are now free to do whatever. My kids know that if they did not do their piano before school then they cannot play with friends afterschool until it is done. As a result they rarely miss their morning practice. I think they like getting the chores and practice out of the way early in the day just as much as I do.