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I bet you are a parent who is looking at the title of this article and either thinking that you might pick up some great ideas, or more likely, that you are parent who is going to read some list of absolutely ridiculous ideas that there is no way any of them are going to happen.

Recently I read a list like this – it wasn’t designed for parents.  It was targeted to people who are either single or have no children.  No offense to the author, but seriously, the title should have been more specific than addressed to “every person.”  What parent has 30 minutes to meditate in the morning?!?

So in honor of dumb lists that have ridiculous to-do’s on them, I’m coming up with my own list of eight things every parent should do before 8 AM.  These are not some nice theoretical ideas.  This comes from having four children who get ready for the school day in two shifts (middle school and then elementary school).

  1. Hit snooze once.  You deserve to take a breath before getting into full parent mode.  The craziness will start soon enough, enjoy the last 5-10 minutes of calm while you can.  This may be the only thing that gets you through the morning.
  2. Stretch.  No, I’m not talking about some kind of exercise routine.  I’m talking about when your feet hit the floor stretch your arms out and over your head and give a big yawn.  You’ll feel better.  Trust me on this.
  3. Go pee.  The chances of getting another opportunity to use the bathroom when your kids are getting ready for school are pretty much non-existent, so get in the bathroom when you can.
  4. When you go get your kids up or make sure they are up, sing to them.  I’m not talking about a nice wake up song.  I’m talking about some really annoying song – it’s the only way to get them moving quickly in the morning.  It’s either that or you’re going to repeat yourself a million times telling them to get up.  The song sounds better already doesn’t it?
  5. Remind your children that the bus is coming soon (about 10,934,248 times)  They have a really short memory in the morning and have a tendency to forget why they are up so early.  If you don’t, they will wander aimlessly, or play with the dog, or get on a screen.  Just remember, each time you remind them they will think this is the first time they are hearing it.  Think of this like the movie “50 First Dates” where the actress forgets everything that happened the day before and has to relearn everything.  If you think of your children this way, you won’t be as frustrated and you might even come up with innovative ways to remind them.  (Songs work great here too.)
  6. Try different sales pitches on why your kids should buy lunch that day instead of having to pack their lunch.  Believe me, if you can convince a kid to buy the school lunch, you can take on anything that day.
  7. Quote a movie.  You’re bound to get some crazy questions like “Where are my pants?” What better way to deal with this than to quote The Lego Movie – “Honey where are my pants?  Ha,Ha,Ha.”  Believe me, you’ll laugh and so will your kids.  The other option is to lose it by telling them they are either in their drawers where they belong or in the laundry or lying on the floor of their room.  Laughter is so much better.
  8. Tell your kids you love them to pieces.  Seriously, there is no substitute for this.

There you have it, the eight essential things every parent should do before 8 AM.  No, these things won’t get you a promotion, give you some great million dollar idea, put you on the pathway to success and happiness, or any other BS that these dumb lists promise or promote.  But they will give you the opportunity to sanely get through the morning before you go to work and have to work with adults (some who haven’t really grown up yet).  Maybe you can find some list showing the 12 things every worker should do before 12 noon at work.  I’m sure the ideas will be just dandy.