I have blogged about this before, but the need has arisen, yet again! The first time I was struck by the fact that getting to church on a Sunday morning begins on a Saturday evening, was when I read Parenting in the Pew.
The mad dash to get out of the house on a Sunday morning has been getting pretty desperate around here and really it is about being prepared and ready to go when we wake up. We haven’t been late, the motivation to get nine seats in a row is enough to keep us on time – little kids scattered through the church freaks me out a bit! But it hasn’t been pleasant. Lets face it there is nothing worse than getting to church with a grumpy heart… well there is: nine grumpy hearts.
With a couple of small kids I really can’t expect them to be ready to dash out of the door when I say dash! It is up to me to get folk moving and it is so easy for me to blame others for not being ready, but I do have a routine and I just having been really to lax about following it. So here we go se7en tips to get out the door… advice I need to get back into the habit of following myself…
- Get going sooner: It doesn’t help to go to bed late the night before because it’s Saturday and there is no work or school the next day. We also have this habit of getting up and heading for the couch to read until everyone is awake. Six days of the week we tend to linger there but on a Sunday we need to get moving and typically before the last little person stirs! Considering the last little person is the quickest to get up and go. No staggering start for this one!!! If we get going soon enough with a little more time than just enough then we have a little “time-space” for the inevitable disaster or small emergency.
- Plan of Attack: Our Sunday mornings are planned to a T, and nothing in the routine changes. My littlest ones are already half-dressed when they wake-up. I pop their vests/t-shirts and socks on under their jammies after their bath the night before. All I have to do is pop on their trousers and sweaters and they are good to go. It is one of the only days in a week we have cereal: very quick and easy: 9 bowls in a row, nine pours from the box, nine spoons, nine dollops of milk, nine dishes in the dishwasher and off we go. This is really not the morning to change routine or add embellishments to breakfast!
- You don’t have time for chores: All the normal chores that typically get done in the morning must get done the night before. I usually have washing waiting to be hung. I have to do it the evening before else forget about it – really there is not time to hang washing before church. Not for nine people anyway, what am I thinking! This kills me – to leave a task undone and requires extreme discipline on my part.
- Pick up: We have a routine pick up and tidy up dash around the house before every meal (I know it sounds extreme but it keeps our chaos under control!) and we sometimes let it slide a little especially if we have visitors on the Saturday evening. Everything needs to be in its place the night before so that on Sunday morning everyone can just grab what they need from it’s home. No scampering around with odd shoes or missing jackets.
- Prepare our hearts: Usually we have an idea about what the sermon is going to be on, we have a weekly email that lets us know what the Bible Reading is at least. This is fantastic because we will have read it with the kids at some stage before the Sunday and then in the car trip to church we can talk about what’s coming their way. This is really helpful with the little guys as they get an idea of what to listen out for. Really this works a whole lot better than just dashing out the door and moaning all the way to church because they weren’t ready on time. Trust me on this!!!
- Packed Up and Ready: Everything we need for church is packed and lives at the front door. Every single person’s Bible and notebook and pen is packed and ready to go. No need to scrabble around looking for things. It is up to each person to have their stuff ready – if it isn’t ready too bad we are leaving. Inevitably everyone looses momentum once in a while and they have to sit through church without their goodies and trust me they have all their things ready after that. I could run around and gather their things for them but somehow I think this is a great opportunity to teach a little responsibility. My nappy (diaper) bag is always packed and ready at the door, with a change of clothes and a spare nappy (diaper) or undies. I just have to toss in my phone and keys and off we go.
- Don’t do too much: Because we go to church right across town I plan too many errands on the way home afterwards and often instead of thinking about getting to church I am actually thinking about all the stops we need to make on the way home. Quick little errands that require drop offs or pick ups… if I plan to do these I should have everything we need packed and good to go the night before. In fact, I need to have an errand box at the door and that should be ready be grabbed as we go out the door.
That’s it, a couple of tips that we need to refocus on so that getting to church is smooth and stress-free!!!