Six Steps to Sane Mornings
For many mamas, a morning without some last minute request by the kiddos is a mighty rare thing. Typically, our mornings are spent rushed and flustered. If we’re not searching for a lost shoe or someone’s homework, then we’re cajoling a child to eat breakfast or changing a diaper. And sometimes, we’re trying to do it all at the same time.
Well, mama, a new day is dawning so take heart. Sane mornings are not only a possibility, but they are achievable in just a few simple steps.
Step #1: Get a game plan.
This is crucial. Remember the old adage, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” Well, every bit of it is true. Your success hinges on how thoroughly you plan for it. You need a game plan. Even if you just keep an old notebook handy, you need a place where you can store your “to do” lists and keep a record of all chores and errands that need to be done. At night, before you do to bed, make sure you pull out your notebook, day planner, or even your cell phone (for the more tech savvy among us). Go over everything you need to do the next day and make sure you are adequately prepared for it.
Step #2: Collect everything the night before.
No more running all over the house in search of all the missing pieces in the morning. Keep a basket by the front door (a laundry basket works great) and use it to store everything that you will need when you head out the door in the morning. That includes your bag, too! This is also a great way to encourage your children to wrap up their homework before they go to bed.
Step #3: Pick out your outfit before you go to bed.
I know it’s not high school anymore, but we still care about what we wear (and if you don’t, you probably should). Go ahead and pick out what you are going to wear the next day, down to jewelry and all, and lay it out before you climb into bed. This way, you will eliminate all that wasted time you spend in the morning standing in front of your closet, soaking wet, donned in nothing but a towel, griping that you have nothing to wear. Encourage your kids to do the same (plan their outfits, not gripe about having nothing to wear).
Step #4: Wake up to an alarm, not an emergency.
When I go give moms personal help, the first question I usually ask them is, “how do you wake up in the morning?” Hands down, the most overwhelmed moms wake up to some type of need—either their kids need them or the phone rings or something else happens to get them out of bed. To truly succeed, you need to approach motherhood as a professional career. Set your alarm and get up before any need arises. This will also give you more time to prepare yourself physically and emotionally for a productive day.
Step #5: Take advantage of shortcuts.
Ain’t nothing wrong with some shortcuts here and there! That’s the whole reason why they invented 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. They’re there for your benefit so use them. Keep a sock basket where you dump them all and let the kids match up pairs themselves. Wipe the floor with a wet rag and your foot instead of doing a full-floor mopping. I also keep Smucker’s Snack’n Uncrustables in my freezer for those crazy days when the kids need to grab lunch on the run.
Step #6: Don’t freak out.
One of the rules I live by is this: When I feel hurried, I must slow down.” Sometimes, when we feel rushed, we do foolish things, such as snap at a child or forget something vital. When you feel that rushed feeling, don’t let it cause you to live a rushed life. Your sanity and joy is much more important than that. The entire universe isn’t hinging on if you are running on time or not. So slow down, take a deep breath, and carry on.