Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bad school mom

I thought I was a pretty good pre-school mom. Bring .50 cents on Friday for the field trip. Dont forget their car set and send them in closed toed shoes. Got it.
There are two parties during the semester, send $10 for each. Got it.
Get here late or skip a few days here and there - no problem. You're paying for it anyway.

Elementary is a whole new skillet.

Last year my Oldest started Grade 2 and my middle started Kindergarten. I literally felt like I was behind, surprised, unprepared, and under-informed the whole year (mostly my own fault). I didn't take it seriously. Barely got my kids vaccinated in time. I didn't help with parties (outside of sending money). I didn't join PTA. I didn't position for "room mom" or "assistant room mom" or even ever find out who those people were. I was scarcely involved.

If you ever want to feel better about yourself as an elementary school mother, just come talk to me.

Flash forward: School starts in two weeks.

Canon will be in 3rd and Whitby will be in 1st. Cosmo - one more year of blissful pre-school.

I talked to my friend Laura [Blog: Is there any wine left] last night about getting a schedule in the mornings and preparing for things to come. She gave me some GREAT ADVICE.

1. Get up before they do.

I definitely am guilty of sleeping until the first child wakes up. They have been my alarm clock for 8 years now. I still stay up till midnight or later every night. How can I be expected to rise before 7:30am? Now I am going to have to find the alarm setting on my phone? This will be a huge adjustment.

2. Lay their clothes out by their bed so they can dress themselves.

This one will help me tremendously because half of my time in the morning is spent moving from the laundry room the the clean laundry baskets in my room to the drawers in the kids room. I am THE ONLY person who knows where the clean-wearable-clothes are. So, no problem... I can do this scurrying at night rather than in the morning. ((I am aware of the red flag that just went off in your mind about my organization skills, but I can only deal with one short-coming at a time)).

3. Check their backpack right after school everyday so that you are not surprised in the morning.

Great. Three strikes. How many times did I go through my kids backpacks last year? None times. Well, maybe one or two max. This will be a huge routine change in our afternoons. It's a welcome change. I already talked to Ashley (our nanny) about what the after-school routine will look like this year. Hopefully she and I together can get the afternoons on the right track.

Here's the bottom line.
First, I don't want to embarrass my kids. Anytime I drop them off late they are exasperated with me as they get out of the van. I'm not the one that has to get a tardy slip from the secretary and walk into the classroom late. This ought not happen!

Second, I don't want my kids to go through their childhood being rushed in the mornings. I want them to enjoy the mornings and start the days off well. Well nourished (which they do because Creighton always gets up and feed them a healthy breakfast), and well prepared (which they will be after getting their after-school routine going).

I don't want to get crazy here but during the pre-school years, I was regular with morning yoga and prayer. We did 10 minutes of yoga together in a circle and then ended with a prayer, and we bowed to one another saying, "God bless you".

Heck, why not add that back in! You know I am going to rock these other three!


we're late again said...

i really laughed at you and have to admit that talking to you does make me feel like a better school mom- cuz my kids are late all the time too!! Wow- Yoga in the mornings- amazing, how did you get from bowing to being exasperated and racing out the door?? That's the question....

Lori C. said...

I think your plan sounds great. I especially think you should really take advantage of the Nanny building some of the organizational things into the afternoon routine. Then she can tell you what's coming up, keep a stack of field trip forms for you to sign, etc. Plus, Canon is at an age where he can start taking a little more ownership. What you didn't realize was that you were just helping to instill independence in him all along. You are so forward-thinking! :) would be good to connect with the teacher early in the year and let her know that you are a working mom, etc. and it is important to you to stay in the loop, and in the past it has been a challenge. Let her know that you are easily accessible, etc. and she will hopefully connect with you if she's feeling like things are slipping or whatever. It would be a worthwhile conversation.

Emily said...

I cannot believe the kids are getting so old!

Miss you guys.


Chaka said...


This is my first time reading your blog. I can totally relate to the morning scramble for clothes. I am the keeper of little people clothes and baby socks and only I know where they lurk.

I am still guilty of sleeping in until some little person wakes, but the best mornings are the ones when I have packed everything for the next day, including laying out clothes down to the socks and shoes the night before. Honestly, I usually only do this on mornings when I am doing dissertation writing and Justin takes them to school--I am afraid he will forget something and so I pack everything so I won't worry!

Don't feel guilty about room mom/PTA stuff! This year I was the ONLY mom not on the volunteer list for Zan's class. But I also had a LOT on my plate and so Justin attended a few parties, Zan was content with that, and life goes on.

You are doing a great job and I am sure you will find a good rhythm for this school year. I love the morning yoga idea!



ziondreamer said...

Lori - awesome advice! Thank you so much for taking time to share that stuff. It really helps me!
And Lara - the yoga and prayer in the mornings all happened because we were never on a time crunch to be anywhere. It was such a great season of relaxation and starting the day off with our souls in the right place. Now its just mahem!!
Chaka - my next project is to get laundry organized. I keep a clean house for the most part. We are minimalistic about STUFF and my common areas especially are virtually toy and clutter free. But LAUNDRY. Laundry is my downfall when it comes to organization. I can't keep up with it.

Amy said...

Nikki - I loved this, and I need to start reading your blog :o). I only have one in Elem., but clothes out the night before is a huge help...and he wakes up hungry. So, if he is dressed, he is fed :o). Also, waking up even 10 minutes before them is almost the equivalent of yoga when it comes to not being stressed..(Still have to pray either way to really not be stressed..I tend to do that 12 minutes before they get up while I am still lying in bed..not exactly focused study, but He understands..especially if I come back later in the day) Love you all, Amy P.

Between You and Me said...

you've got great ideas...we did a lot of that prep work when the kids were in public school....I thought it would be somewhat easier with them at home, but the truth is, I still have to be super organized to make sure we do all that we need to do and read all that we need to read and get to the gym and get to practices and get meals prepared and on the table, and plan dates for me and hubby, and send birthday cards...and ON and ON and ON..

here's the truth...we're in a HARD phase of life...beautiful, amazing, precious..but HARD.

morning routines are good, meal routines are good, after school routines are good, and bedtime routines are good. it's good to have a plan and stick with it most of the time, right?

I try to make sure at some point over the weekend that my week is scheduled out...meals are planned, everything is communicated between me and Andy for the kids' schedules...

you're a great mom..and wife..and full time're creative and fun and encouraging and contagious! Starting with Yoga and prayer will sure help you stay grounded. :)

Chels said...

Nikki, you are an incredible mother. I know this first hand... and I want to be like you when I grow up.

AND I applaud your resolve and determination. I know you'll see it through.

I love you, sister.

katrina said...

Nikki! Oh me oh my, how i loved reading this! i kind of felt like you were writing about me, though. i too am a night owl and have avoided alarm clocks as much as possible. i totally relate to running late in the mornings as well. i want my children not to have to ask if they are late. this will be my first year with 2 in school. i think i will apply most of these techniques. good read!
i love the way your blog looks!

ziondreamer said...

This morning went well y'all!
I was sweating it because Creighton is out of town this week.

I fed my kids eggs for breakfast, made their lunch, and didn't rush them out the door. We even had time for our little "namaste", shared prayer requests and had prayer before we left.

One day down, 185 to go.