I remember fondly the relaxed and blissful Saturday mornings my husband and I shared as a young married couple. You know – the Saturdays before kids. When you could enjoy a hot cup of coffee, go for a walk or lounge in bed until noon if you wanted. Just because.
My husband has always been a night owl and he would sleep late every morning if he could. And he did – way back when. I’ve never been able to stay in bed for that long – I go crazy. When we were first married I had a lovely Saturday morning routine – It was my time. I would sleep in until 7 or 730 (I’m normally awake before 5), have a peaceful cup of HOT coffee and enjoy a quick workout and shower before Chris would join me for breakfast. It was lovely and it worked so well for us. And then – kids!
Those little buggers wake up so early and when combined with sleepless nights even I wanted to lounge in bed until noon. But once they were up, I’d drag myself downstairs and attempt to sleep on the couch while they were entertained by Thomas or Mickey. As if I was actually going to sleep with 3 kids prying my eyeballs open every time I dozed off.
Part of me loves this special, quiet time with the kids in the morning. But part of me is really, really tired. I reached a point where I wanted to reclaim my weekend mornings. Maybe to sleep in after a late night dinner with friends, maybe to fit in a workout on a jam packed day or just maybe to enjoy a little time alone with my husband. Whatever the reason I knew I wanted my mornings back. I have friends who leave ipads or other toys in their kids rooms. Some set alarms with instructions not to wake mom until it rings. But I know my kids – and I know that neither of those things will work. They will fight over the ipad, the game won’t work – the list of possible problems is endless.
So, first I needed to figure out what would keep the kids out of my hair in the morning. What did I need to provide them with so that they could be self-sufficient. Next, I needed to figure out how to make them be self sufficient in the morning.
- Feed Them
- Give them Milk
- Entertain Them
What to Feed Them
We rarely eat cold cereal during the week so my kids think it is a huge treat and love to spend Saturday morning sitting at the counter with a big bowl of cereal. So, I dug out three Tupperware and filled them with their favorite cereals. Before I went to bed on Friday night I left those cereal containers on the counter so the kids could feed themselves breakfast. It worked out great – they could open the containers easily and cereal stayed fresh overnight.
Milk Cup Solution
Next I left their water cups out – the kids are 5 and 7 so they are quite capable of filling their own cups with water in the morning. But, if they have cereal, they are going to want milk. Our success rate of pouring a glass of milk without spilling is less than 20% , so I filled three milk cups and left them on a low shelf in the refrigerator. I didn’t come downstairs to any milk puddles so I’ll consider it a success.
Keep Those Kids Busy
I’ll be honest – I left books and coloring books out for the kids but all they really want to do early on Saturday morning is curl up on the couch and watch tv. My oldest is good with the remote so I left that out where he could find it. They have done a remarkably good job at taking turns picking shows and not fighting in the morning. Someone might have threatened them that if mom has to come downstairs the tv goes off.
Most weekends I am up with the kids – either we share morning coffee on the porch in our pjs or we are racing around like lunatics to get to a baseball or soccer game. But, it is so nice to have a plan for those weekend mornings when I need a break. The kids feel special the mornings I let them go downstairs alone – they feel grown up and independent. Not a bad thing at all!