Mornings can be a chaotic time for many moms. You have to get your kids up for school, make sure they are dressed appropriately, feed them breakfast, and get their lunches and snacks ready. If you are a working mom, such as myself, you have to worry about getting yourself ready and out the door too. Help!!
I have come up with a few tips that will make your mornings run a little more smoothly and will bring down the stress of getting everyone out the door on time. Trust me, these tips will change your mornings dramatically. I think that we can all agree that less stress in our lives is a great thing so let’s start with our mornings.
Before I share these tips, I must tell you that the first four tips must be done the night before. This is essential to start your mornings off right.
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Lay Clothes Out
This tip alone cuts down on a tremendous amount of stress and arguments in the morning. Discuss with your children what clothes they would like to wear the evening before. Keep in mind what the weather will be the following day and have your children pick out their clothes accordingly. If you have younger children, you can pick out their clothes. However, I recommend that you discuss your choices with them and make sure that they are in agreement with your decision. Sometimes my son and I would have disagreements in the morning if I didn’t discuss with him the night before what I chose for him to wear. Arguments are time wasters and stress producers that you do not need in the morning so make sure clothing choices are in consensus.
Also make sure that shoes are put near the clothes or next to the door. Hunting for shoes in the morning as you are trying to get out the door can be stressful and cause you to be late.
Don’t forget about yourself. In addition, you will need to lay out your clothes. Sometimes I can stare into my closet for 15 minutes before I decide what to wear. Don’t waste your time on deciding what to wear. Prepare the night before. You will be so glad that you did.
Taking just a few minutes the night before to lay out your children’s clothing, along with your own, for the next day will save time and squash any wardrobe arguments or indecisiveness.
I have found that if I prepare lunches the night before that my mornings are less frantic and stressful. To begin, clean out the lunches pails from the following day and wash any containers that were used. Next, place all nonperishable items in the lunch pails (granola bars, nuts, crackers, containers of peanut butter, etc.). After you are finished, place any perishable items that you will need for lunches in a designated area in your refrigerator (cheese sticks, juice, cut up fruit, vegetables, etc.). These items will be ready for you to grab in the morning and place in the lunch pails fairly quickly.
Sometimes, I will prepare one lunch item in the morning, such as a quesadilla or egg sandwich, but for the most part, I prepare all of the lunches the night before. By doing this, you will already have planned out what your children will have in their lunches, and you will also save time and your sanity in the morning. Another great tip when it comes to lunches is to plan out a weekly lunch menu for your children. I do this every Sunday night. This planning helps me to save time during my nightly lunch prep.
To sum it up, preparing lunches the night before will allow you to use your time more effectively and feel more organized in the morning.
My son and I always organize my son’s backpack the night before. During this time, I sign his agenda, we get rid of any papers that he no longer needs, I read any parent flyers, and we check over his homework. Please complete this step with your children. Even though my son and I are doing this together, I am teaching him how to go through his backpack. This step will help your children become more responsible and organized. Eventually, over time they will be doing this on their own with less guidance. You will still need to check over their homework and sign agendas/paperwork, but in time, your children will be responsible for making sure these things get done.
Organizing your children’s backpacks will help you get out the door on time with less stress. You don’t want to be looking for homework or searching for an important paper that needs to be signed when it’s time to leave. Have your children’s backpacks organized and ready to go.
One thing that I like to do before I go to bed each night is tidy up my house. Now, I am not talking about fully cleaning my house. Tidying up my house consists of doing the dishes, picking up any stray items in the living rooms, bathroom, bedrooms, and kitchen, and putting those items where they go. You may be surprised how having a tidy house in the morning can really start your day off right. This task is rather simple and doesn’t really take a lot of time. Remember, you are not doing a full house cleaning. Before you go to bed, set aside about 15-20 minutes. During this time, finish up any dishes that may be left from dinner. Tidy up your kitchen and tidy up the rest of the rooms in the house.
Another great tip is to make sure that you get the rest of your family involved in this activity. I tell my son that he responsible for the family room, his bathroom, and bedroom. He must pick up any items that belong to him and put them away. I also ask him to make sure his shower rug and towels are hung up in his bathroom. My husband is in charge of the living room since that is his primary territory. My primary focus is the kitchen, and then I do a final walk through of the house and tidy up things that might have been missed. However, my son and husband do a pretty good job, but I have a little bit of an A-personality.
The point is that spending just 15-20 minutes a night tidying up your house can greatly reduce the stress of your morning. Waking up to a messy house produces a sense of being behind before your day has even started. You want to start your day off organized, prepared, and stress free so spend the time to tidy up.
Wake Up Early
Waking up before anyone else in your house can be so peaceful and relaxing. You need this time to focus on your well-being and sanity. Enjoying quiet time to regroup and plan out your day is so important in having a stress free morning. If you are not a morning person, this might take some time to adjust to, but trust me. It is so worth it.
Personally, I wake up two hours before I have to wake up my son for school. The first hour is considered my quiet time. It gives me time to drink my coffee in peace, do some reading, and exercise. I like to read a devotional and the required chapters in my Read the Bible in a Year reading plan. During this first hour, I also pray and plan out what needs to be done during the day. I will also walk on the treadmill or do some other form of exercise the last thirty minutes of the first hour.
During your quiet, you may try some of these suggestions or come up with some of your own, such as writing in a journal or just listening to the birds chirp outside. Whatever activities you chose, give yourself time in the morning to restore and refuel your soul. This time will help to set your mood and attitude for the rest of the day.
I use the second hour to get myself ready. Whether you are a working mom or stay at home mom, you need to take the time to make yourself presentable when you walk out the door. This is not to impress others but to make you feel good about yourself. I work outside the home. So I need this hour to get myself together for work before I wake up my son. When you wake up your children, you only want to focus on getting them up, dressed, fed, and ready to go. You don’t want to be running around the house, trying to get ready, and get your kids ready at the same time. This is a recipe for chaos, which we want to stay clear of.
Whether you wake up one hour or two hours before your children, waking up early is essential in establishing the peace and focus that you will need to have a productive day.
Now, I will be honest with you. There will be some mornings that may be a little stressful or chaotic due to circumstances out of your control. This is called life, friends. However, I promise you that these tips will dramatically reduce the stress that busy mornings can produce. If these tips seem a little overwhelming, then try one or two for a week. Once you have a developed a routine with those, then add another tip. Slowly work these tips into your schedule, and you will see a remarkable change in your mornings. Give it a try this week!
Another great post you may enjoy is How to Start Your Day with Joy.