It’s 6:30 a.m. and the kids have to be out the door for school by 7:15 a.m., but first they have to eat breakfast, get dressed, do their hair, brush their teeth, have their lunch ready, make sure they have everything they need in their backpack, fill their water bottle and it seems the list goes on and on.
This is a typical school morning at our house. And you would think to do the same routine during the school week would mean our house ran like a well-oiled machine. (That would be a miracle!!)
As a very organized person I would love if our morning routine ran like a well-oiled machine, but having kids has taught me this is almost never the case. I have to learn to roll with the punches (the struggle is real) and realize that the kid’s concept of time is almost never the same as mom’s.
In our house getting 6 kids out the door on time can be very difficult. We have 5 kids at one campus and 1 kid at another. Some mornings it even feels impossible.
Our kids are old enough (ages 6-12) to get up by themselves and get the ball rolling, but there is always something that comes up. Someone can’t find their water bottle (we live in Arizona, having a full water bottle is a must year round), someone else can’t find their backpack, (even though there is a nice little hook for their backpack in the Harry Potter closet under the stairs), someone else can’t find their shoes (don’t worry there is a shoe bin for each child under their hook for their backpack) and the dreaded I forgot to pack my lunch!
Is any of this sounding at all familiar or am I the only mom out there that has these kinds of mornings?
Being the organized person I am, I try to avoid the unavoidable stresses of the school morning. The way I try to avoid the “I forgot to pack my lunch and mom is pulling out of the garage!” scenario is by having the kids pack their lunches the night before.
I’ve tried to make this a smooth process with the least amount of stress as possible. Here are a few things I’ve tried to incorporate to make our morning routine go more smoothly, and not so much like 6 kids running around like chickens with their heads cut off.
I have a special place in our kitchen where lunch boxes, Tupperware, and water bottles go. So each day the kids know where to put their stuff away and where to find it when it is time to pack their lunches.
We have 3 fridges in our house – yes you read that right 3 fridges. (We have a lot of kids that eat a lot of food and one fridge… I mean two fridges just weren’t enough.)
One fridge is for our everyday use; the second fridge is where I store Jenna’s Divine Bites once they are made and ready to be delivered; the third fridge is for lunch supplies and lunch boxes once they are packed.
In this third fridge, I try and keep it stocked weekly with healthy options the kids can put in their lunches each day. I’ve found that giving the kids a variety of options and allowing them to make the choice of what they put in their lunch means they will actually eat what is in their lunch.
I’m also not worrying about whether it is healthy or not because I’m providing the options for them. I try and set aside a day during the week where I can do my kids’ lunch prep.
I wash and cut up fruits and veggies, I make sandwiches, nuts and seeds are stocked up in labeled containers and Jenna’s Divine Bites are made. Posted on the fridge is a list of options that the kids can take for lunch too. (Sometimes I wonder if they have ever even seen this list. My youngest frequently asks me what she should put in her lunch.)
Now, all of this might sound like a lot of work and it is, but I have found that by putting a few hours of effort in during the week makes for a lot smoother morning and one less thing to worry about. My kids have to only worry about grabbing their lunch out of the fridge.
The best part is my organization appears to be wearing off on at least one of our kids. Our most responsible child has put a friendly reminder on our garage door to remind all her siblings to not forget their lunch.
If you enjoy reading about my struggles raising 6-kids in the Arizona desert, and providing healthy alternatives for my large family while growing Jenna’s Divine Bites, please connect with me on Instagram. And of course, check back here to read more.