I know that some people are reading this thinking I'm a hard ass or I just have agreeable children. If you've met Sunshine, you would know I have at least one child who is a bit less agreeable than the other. Yes, I am a hard ass about our morning routine, but it keeps things running smoothly. Of course there are mornings that don't go perfectly. Life happens. Our routine is so smooth that there is room for mishaps. We've basically had the same morning routine for the past 5 years. Summers and weekends we don't stick to routine, but, we are all creatures of habit, so things pretty much flow the same even off routine.
So, what is my "magical" morning routine? Easy.
6:00 (not weekends) wake up, drink coffee, get my "me" time
7:30-7:45 (depending on how the night before went) wake kids up...my children are no allowed to come out of their rooms until 7:30. They can be up, just not out and bothering me.
7:30-8:00 breakfast. We don't eat cold cereal in this house. Breakfasts are oatmeal, eggs, waffles, bagels, or something along those lines. And I don't make each child the same thing. It's all about the timing though because they sit down at the table at the same time to eat. While waiting for water to boil or eggs to cook or whatever, I start lunch. I almost always sit with my kids while they are eating breakfast and chat about what's going to happen that day.
8:00-8:38 (yes, that specific of a time) Bathroom, teeth, get dressed and free time. My kids normally get 30 minutes of free time every morning. If they dilly dally while eating or getting dressed or whatever, they get less free time, so they don't dilly dally. If Monster has a test that day, he studies with me while I finish making breakfast. Thankfully, Sunshine likes to "study", too, so I can just shout out spelling words for both kids or math problems for each of them.
8:38 shoes on. In the winter this changes to 8:36 because we have more gear to put on.
8:39-8:40 walk out the door.
Now, I do only live 4 houses from the school, so it takes all of 5 minutes to walk up there, so that buys me time, but our routine works even if we have to leave early for some reason. For example, when going to the airport bright and early, kids get up an hour to 45 minutes before we have to leave. We've got this down. In three years, it will all change when Monster starts middle school and he starts school when I'm normally waking them up, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it!
Now here's the big secret...it's my "me" time that keeps my mornings running smoothly. I use that hour and half to write, read, check email, Facebook, Pinterest, play games, etc. I don't use it to do chores. First, I really couldn't use it to chores if I wanted to because my house is so small and Sunshine is an incredibly light sleeper after about 5 am, that any sort of noise wakes her up. But, I don't use that time to do chores because then I feel like I didn't get time to just do nothing. From 7:30 am until whatever time my head hits the pillow, I'm running. It doesn't matter if I'm sitting in front of the television with Husband for an hour before I go to bed, my mind is still racing about all the things that have happened during the day, all the things not accomplished, and all the things I have to do the next 50 years of my life. From 6:00-7:00 am (because really, that last half hour my brain starts to wake up), I think of nothing. Really. I sit downstairs with my coffee, a blanket (now that the weather is getting cooler), and my computer and that's all there is. Husband is normally already gone and everyone else is still in bed, even if Sunshine isn't always sleeping, she's in bed. When I don't get that time in the morning just for me, things start to fall apart. Things get rushed, or rather they feel rushed. We could be doing the same things at the same times, but my brain didn't the decompression time it needed. I have a friend who started to get up just a half hour earlier than everyone else in her family every day and she said it has made all the difference.
As parents, I think we need time where we don't have to think. Yes, I'm still "on". What if the dog needs to go out or Sunshine actually gets up out of bed, but it's a different kind of "on" then what it's like after a full day. Even with both kids in school every day, those 2 1/2 hours go by fast and I there isn't room for "me" time. The "me" time I get then is folding laundry while watching How I Met Your Mother. Yes, it's a nice little break, but I'm still working. Anyone who has been following me knows I value my sleep above pretty much everything, so the excuse that getting up earlier is too difficult because you're so tired doesn't really hold up. I'm exhausted every morning. Each morning at 6 am when that alarm rings, I think, "I could just go back to bed for another hour. I don't need to really get up." Thankfully, something in my head says, "Nope. If you don't get up, you'll regret it." So, I drag my butt out of bed. By 6:15, I'm wide awake and thankful I got up to have my time.
So there you have it. That's how the Rock household does mornings. We are a well oiled machined, for the most part, in the mornings. The rest of the day, maybe not so much, but we've the morning thing down!