All you need to do is say good morning, give kisses, and tell your family to go. You grab a cup of coffee, kick up your feet and watch the family execute the morning routine with ease, no hiccups and all smiles. Success! As you pick up your phone to text a friend, a blaring alarm wakes you. It is 5:30 a.m. A morning of mommy autopilot was just a dream. Reality quickly hits. Today is another day of trying to conquer the back-to-school routine.
Now that the late-night movies, pajama days and long days of sunshine are coming to an end, how do you find both structure and fun during the school year? The best way to start is to follow these five steps to establish a mommy autopilot structure in your home:
1. Establish your family’s core values.
What are your priorities? What do you value most as a family? What character traits and behaviors do you expect from all family members? The core values become your compass for how you spend your time and make decisions. If something does not align, then say “no” with pride. You will find peace as you stand firm on your family’s core values.
2. Cast the roles for each family member.
You may be the chief operating officer of your home, but you are not the only human living in your home. There are plenty of hands that can help you with daily tasks. It is a good life lesson on how to operate a home. In time, they will perform the assigned roles with pride. An allowance is a nice bonus to teach money management. You might try the 5-10-10-75 money rule with five percent going to taxes (back to you), ten percent to others (tithe, charity, etc.), ten percent to savings (do not touch) and 75 percent to have fun.
3. Design a monthly meal plan.
Last minute decisions on what to make for dinner can make your blood pressure go through the roof. Poll your family to determine their favorite meals, and plug them into the nights that you plan to eat at home each week. Fill in the remainder of the nights with new recipes or close the kitchen for dinner out. Once you develop a few monthly meal plans, you can rotate through them for variety.
4. Pick your start and stop times.
Studies say that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep and school-age children need nine to 11 hours of sleep. What is your sleep goal? What is the sleep goal for your kids? You know that a sleepy mommy and a sleepy kid lead to an emotional roller coaster ride at the end of the day. Save that thrill for a trip to an amusement park! Strict start and stop times for the entire household does a family good.
5. Conduct a weekly family meeting.
What day works best for your family? Use this time to discuss successes and challenges from the week, revisit your family core values, and recognize the contributions of each family member in the household operation. Open communication in your home is priceless and critical to build trust.
Establishing and maintaining your family core values, family roles, monthly meal plans, sleep goals and family meetings are the foundational components for mommy autopilot. Now, you have the bandwidth to focus your mental, physical, and emotional energies on raising responsible and loving kids.
Good luck with back-to-school! This too shall pass, my mommy friend!