How do you get ready in the morning? How do you feel about your morning routine? Is your day like this- wake up groggy to a grumpy five year old who wet the bed and wants to snuggle in your bed, a screaming one year old who wants to nurse NOW, and has already been up three times since midnight, a husband who is already on his way out the door to catch the bus. Coffee has been made, thankfully, and the smell makes you imagine a long tube from the coffee pot to your bed so you can charge up before rising to face the day. But instead of IV coffee, you have to get up, get the kids dressed, fed, packed, calmed, out the door, yourself dressed, fed, and put together, while drinking coffee out of a cup which gets misplaced several times in the course of one hour. Milk spills, son’s favorite pants aren’t clean, daughter refuses to be changed, and has a tantrum when you remove a sharp pencil from her grasp as she goes running through the kitchen, dog is underfoot…
Your neck is tense, you want to scream, you wonder if other mothers, other households are experiencing similiar mayhem. Well some are and some are not. How can you reduce your mayhem?
1. Let your kids wear as much of their next day cloths to bed as is reasonable to reduce morning power struggles over getting dressed. I love this one. I read it somewhere recently and when I have mentioned it to other moms, they admit to doing it sometimes too. Hearing it from others allowed me to let go of any guilt I may have felt. Try it!
2. Identify only the most necessary steps of the morning routine, and make a list. Help your child to draw a picture next to each word that guides him in his routine. My son has a bed time one and a morning one. (in the am it looks like this: wake up, get dressed, pee, breakfast, brush teeth, feed dog, find backpack and shoes). I refer to ours frequently, when he is building lego spaceships before he has even gotten dressed. Post it in a central place your kids can see it.
3. Set out everything you can the night before. Check backpacks for papers that need to go back, make lunches, set out sports gear if applicable, pack the babies diaper bag, get your own work bag in order, set out your own cloths, set coffee on auto for 6 am.
4. Stock your car or work bag with breakfast snacks in case of over sleeping, missing breakfast etc. If the first part of your morning felt like a bad carnival ride, the last thing you need is hungry grumpy children or your own case of low blood sugar before you even get where you are going.
5 Set your alarm for an hour or half hour before the kids wake up, and steal some quiet morning time to gather your thoughts, journal, make your to do list for the day, meditate, check emails, what ever you can not do once the crew is awake. Some mom’s do this, (I do not) but it might suit you!
These are some ideas that I have found helpful in streamlining and simplifying my mornings. I invite you to try them, and share your own ideas!!!