5 ways to ruin your morning routine with kids

morning routinesIf you need go-to advice on how to really ruin a morning routine with your kids, 

here are 5 surefire tips: 

1. Go to bed super later than anyone in your house and get up ridiculously early. Whatever you do, don’t be rested. Preferably, make sure you are smack in the middle of a deep R.E.M dream sequence when your alarm (or toddler) goes off. This will keep you in the best position to be foggy, slow and as cranky as possible. The whole morning really hinges on this exercise executing perfectly for months on end. For years? Even better.

2. Scatter everything around the house that the kids need for school.  Who needs their lunchbox near the kitchen, or dare we say in the fridge packed the night before? Where’s the fun in that? While you’re at it, put your stuff where you’ll never find it. Oh, and those car keys? Bury them beneath things you would never look under to begin with. Whatever you do make sure that it requires a bit of a “mouse maze” game to find stuff all morning. It’ll be exciting, right?

3. Hold strong in your delusion that 20 minutes of things that you need to do can break all laws of time and space and get crammed into 10 minutes. After all, going 85 mph in 30 mile an hour zones is safe and reasonable when you need to get kids to school on time, right? While you’re at it, hold fast to the rule that it’s less possible to get things done in the early morning as it does any other time of day. I mean, really, who in the world can do anything before 6 AM? No one gets up that early.

woman driving

4. Make sure you are the only one responsible for everything. Our able bodied kids have only job in the morning: to complain and whine about how you’re not doing something right. Yes, you have already completed elementary school, middle school and high school, but it’s up to you to do it all again for them. Its just an unnecessary burden for them to embrace that they can complete tasks on their own. And you wouldn’t want to risk having a conflict. Then, they will surely believe that you love them less. At all costs, dodge this independence bullet with the spirit of a Matrix star. It will only shorten the time you have to be responsible for everything, all the time.

5. Have as many items as possible shoved into your car, purse, their backpacks, refrigerator  closets, EVERYWHERE. This ensures that your feet will move like they have concrete blocks attached and give you those great thighs you’ve always wanted. Clutter makes you feel like you appreciate everything you have more, right? That’s why we accumulate stuff, to make ourselves feel like we have SOMETHING to show for our lives. Whatever you do don’t throw away or donate anything, otherwise you won’t have the necessary stuff to hide all the things that are really valuable to getting out of the door on time or peacefully. We can’t have that. You have time to waste, remember?

Whew! That was a close one. You almost made the deadly mistake of taking complete charge of your morning routine in your house. That may actually make you believe that you have control over something in your family’s life. It could have wrecked you addressing other areas of tension and stress in your family with the same tenacity and grit.

Ok. As you can see I’m being sarcastic. I feel sometimes we have to look at a difficult situation with humor in our lives in order to fix it. By exaggerating and dramatizing the situation, we can see the problems — and the solutions.

So, please don’t ruin your morning routines. Just remember that it can take just as much effort to do so as it does to take control of it and make it, dare I say….

one of the best parts of the day.

What steps do you take to help your morning routine to flow better? 

Do you wake up before the kids? How much earlier?

How have you helped your kids become responsible for their own stuff in the morning? 

Kathy Helgemo



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need a fresh start? now is the perfect time!

Do you need a do over, Mom? We usually need one on a daily basis.

In one way or another, we both screw up something with our kids every, single day.

Most of the time, it’s nothing particularly serious. We forgot that stupid form that the school has sent home five times for us to sign, again. Fed our kids chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. We give into weariness and let them watch way, way too much TV. Run late to yet another appointment.

But sometimes. It is serious.

We’ve ignored red flags that we wish would just go away. And they don’t.

We’ve let serious behavior problems get out of control.

Or been too hard on a kid.

The list is really endless in our heads.

What’s a mom to do? Can moms really start mothering from scratch?

Yes! Especially now.

Well, we have a great offer. It’s actually an amazing offer. Mothering From Scratch: Finding The Best Parenting Style For You and Your Family is on sale …

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* Are you afraid that some of your parenting mistakes are just plain irreversible?

* Are you confused about what mothering “formula” to follow or what advice you should listen to?

Would you like some hard-won wisdom and encouragement from two moms who have been in the trenches — from toddlerhood to teendom?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions above, then …

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What do you have to lose? Only 99¢!


We wrote this book for you, mom. For those moments when you feel like your mistakes can’t be redeemed. When you feel like you just can’t get it right.  

Go get this great resource and enjoy a practical, encouraging pick-me-up when you most need it.

This book is for you. Right now.


Mothering From Scratch

grabbing your new school year by the horns

how to grab the new school year by the hornsA new school year brings with it so many opportunities. However, it can feel like one of the bulls that run down the streets of Spain every year. 

We have some choices, moms. We can let that sucker run down the streets and get out of its way, or use the opportunity to show it who’s boss. The crazy bull of a new school year can be tamed, and you don’t even have to put on a spangly suit and wave a red cape.

Here’s how to really grab the new school year by the horns and get a grip on even more:

1. Assume nothing:

Starting from square one with just about everything that has to do with a kid’s school year is really the best option to get the maximum results from this time. A fresh start always feels different.

That’s right. Just because the kids have always put their lunch boxes and backpacks in the hallway after  school doesn’t mean that they will remember it this year. You may have required them to use a chore chart last year that they loved, but this year, that chore chart may seem, well, so last year.

2. Fix problems:

Ask yourself, “What was the number one issue your family struggled with last school year?”

Around here it was getting to bed at a decent hour. That hour varies from family to family, kid to kid, but the effect is the same. The earlier, the better. It’s like a universal truth for school age kids. Find me a mom that wakes up on any given school morning and says, “Wow! I should have never put those kids to bed so early! They are so chipper and alive!” From the age of Pre-K on, bedtime is KEY to having a great morning, to having a great day, week and year for a child.

3. Create new good habits:

As children get older, they need new habits to help them mature.

A good example of this would be picking one more task that your child could be responsible for this year that you did for them last year. I know a mom who insists that her child’s ENTIRE backpack gets emptied out every night on the dining room table. This is middle schooler who was having trouble keeping up with slips of paper and such. By doing this each day as a habit, they were able to combat the issue.

4. Raise a couple expectations:

Do you have a great student who doesn’t struggle much in school? Or do you have a struggling student who can barely keep up? Either way, we do ALL of them a great service by raising a small expectation of them every year.

If and when they achieve it, their self-esteem boosts and the next hurdle doesn’t seem as high. Something small, or example, like leaving the house at 7:25 instead of 7:30 everyday can give them a reasonable goal. Reward them immediately for achieving the set goal and you’ve built in a great system for later, more difficult ones.

So, congratulations! The new school year brings the grand opportunity to wrestle with some of the tough stuff of parenting.


Grab your new school year by the horns, ladies. This is the time to gain some control and establish great patterns for their whole lives. 

Of course if you need to get a great spangly, tight-fitting suit to wear to help you feel more powerful, I’m sure the kids would greatly appreciate the entertainment.

Just don’t forget the red cape. It works with the outfit perfectly. 

Kathy Helgemo


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to the mom balancing too many plates

to the mom trying to balance too many platesTo the dear mom who’s balancing too many plates….

Sometimes balancing too many plates can hurt complete strangers. How do I know? I was a recent victim.

I was reaching to get a plate at a breakfast buffet for myself when it hit me. On the side of my ankle, from about 4 feet in the air. Donk. Crash.

“Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry. This is what happens when I try and multitask for my children. See, Honey? I’m a disaster!, ” she said as she let out a huge, heavy sigh. She almost looked like she was going to cry. You see, she was on vacation in Orlando, trying to show her kids fun. Her husband didn’t look like he was having much fun at this point.

I glanced over at two mouse ear-clad kids, about 8 and 10 years old. They weren’t shocked. Something told me that they have had this little scenario play down a few other times. Mom was losing it— all in the name of taking care of them. Neither of them was holding anything. No juice glasses, no muffins, nada. The woman they were used to holding everything was there holding nothing but a deep sense of resentment.

“Are you okay? How is your ankle? Oh, I’m so sorry.”

I just put my arm around her. She was one of so many moms, me included, who had come to the realization ….

We were trying to hold too many plates. One’s going to break. It’s just a matter of time, and who going to feel the most impact. This time it was an unsuspecting stranger.

Here’s a few questions to ask ourselves to find out if we’re trying to hold onto too many plates:

1. How many plates can I hold?
2. Is anyone being hurt because I’m holding too many plates?

And the most important question of all….

3.Am I holding someone’s plate who should be holding it themselves?

Ouch. Yeah. That plate. Or plates. Those kids staring at their mom in the hotel breakfast line looked to me perfectly capable of holding their plates. That’s not an unloving observation, it is the reality that I have faced myself many times.

Our kids can only learn hold their own plate by dropping a few. They have to understand the force of gravity. They have to learn the “two hands” rule. All of this can’t be prevented by us throughout their lives. Plates have to be broken. The pieces have to shatter, they have be cleaned up and they have to learn to carefully move on to another plate.

So, to the mom who’s balancing too many plates, put them down. Give them to whom they belong. Brace yourself for a few crashes and know that it will be okay. 

Because, you really don’t want to hurt some unsuspecting stranger’s ankle in a breakfast buffet line one day. They may blog about you the next. Kathy Helgemo



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