How Juliana Does Mornings
I used to hate mornings. Every day I'd try to get my kids to do their routines—breakfast, chores, ready for school, etc. Every day my three school-age kids would leave the house in chaos, we'd all be frustrated as we walked to school, and I'd come home with my other two kids to deal with the aftermath. I'd look at the breakfast dishes still on the table and think: "Everyone gets to go out and have fun and I'm the one left to clean up the house. Tomorrow everyone better get their act together." And then we'd do it all again the next day.
One particularly frustrating day, I called my mom after I got home and told her what I'd been dealing with. Instead of commiserating with me about how rotten my children were being, and how sad it was that I had to pick up the slack, she asked me, "Why are you telling yourself that story? You like being a mom."
It was true. I choose to stay home with my kids. I really love it and don't want to do anything else right now. So why was I letting myself feel this way? I decided I needed to rewrite my story.
"We don't have to get everything done by 9:00."
The first thing I decided to change were my expectations. I had been putting a lot of pressure on my kids and myself to get everything done in the morning by 9:00 when school started. I wanted their rooms clean and the kitchen to be clean. I wanted them to practice their piano. I wanted to come home from dropping them off at school to a clean house to start my day.
But I also wanted a happy home. I wanted to start each day happily and actually enjoy the time I get to spend with my children before they leave for most of the day.
So I lightened up. I still ask them to make their beds, get dressed, pick up their rooms, and have their backpack ready. But if the kids don't make it to their piano practice, we figure out a different time to do it.
And I totally let go of having them help with the kitchen. It wasn't happening anyway. I decided to just plan on coming home and cleaning the kitchen after school drop-off, instead of being resentful that they hadn't done what they were supposed to do. I changed that story to: "It's nice to be able to clean the kitchen when it's so calm and quiet."
Now I just plan that from 9:00 to 10:00 every day, I put the house back together after the morning chaos. Then I can take my two-year-old to the park or the pool and enjoy the time I have with her, before its time for her to take a nap and for me to get more of my work done.
I realized I don’t want to set up a schedule where the expectation is perfection. We all have mornings where we oversleep (me included), grumpy mornings, days where we forget to pack our lunch, days where we need a little extra love and grace. I want to give that to my children. I want to be on their side, encouraging them, helping where I can, letting them know imperfections are part of life and I still love them.
"It's a blessing to serve my family."
The biggest change I made to my story is that instead of being jealous of what everyone was doing while I stayed home, I decided to be grateful that I get to serve my family.
Service is one of my core values and knowing that I am serving my family each day brings me joy. It helps me connect to something bigger. I know God has sent me these children to love them and to teach them the best I can. When I realize I’m doing God’s work, it gives me more purpose then just being a maid who is always tiding up.
I chose to be a stay at home mom, and I really do love it. When my kids and husband succeed, it's my success too, because I make it possible. This does not mean that I don't pursue my own interests and personal successes. I have recently started making more time to paint, and I've been loving it. But I also work really hard to keep our house running smoothly.
This year I have four kids in school, and just one at home. We're two weeks into the new school year, and we're already off to a great start. Now that I've taken the pressure off and rewritten my story, I'm able to enjoy my mornings and focus on my kids instead of the house. I can be the mom I want to be.
About the Author
Juliana was born in Provo, Utah and grew up in Gilbert, Arizona. She met her husband at BYU and they now have five wonderful kids and live in Castle Rock, CO. Life is crazy when you have five kids under 11 and a husband who runs his own business, but Juliana has always dreamed big and is good at planning and organizing, which keeps the chaos at bay. In her spare time she loves Mexican food, traveling, painting, scrapbooking, photography, and going for walks.