#MomsLifeHacks #MomsSavingTime #MomsWeekdayHacks #MakingMorningsLessPainful
I am not a fan of weekday mornings. The pressure of getting everyone fed, dressed, toileted, cleaned and dropped off to school (or work in my case) while creating some semblance of ‘easing into the day’ generally feels overwhelming.
I had a delightful interview with Jennifer P., a reader of MHN, yesterday. Jennifer is not only the mother of three children ages 8 and under, she works full-time and her husband travels Monday through Friday most weeks!
My burning question… how does she handle mornings? Although I’ve managed (some) competency in a few areas, like food and fitness, I’ve yet to come up with a reliable process to make mornings reasonable.
Inevitably, I start off the day with the grand intention of having a nice, drama-free morning where everyone faces the all-important start of the day on a positive and peaceful note. Yet, by mid-breakfast I begin to get stressed about being off schedule and start appealing to the (nonexistent) sense of efficiency in my kids. I then get frustrated and quickly devolve into Dragon Mommy by tooth-brushing time. But I digress…
Jennifer has mostly great mornings and was kind to share the brilliant short cuts that work for her family.
Jennifer’s top 5 morning hacks:
- It’s all about the night before. “…I do everything and anything possible the night before. (Including) lunches, snacks, water bottles…you name it! Basically if it can be done the night before, I do it.” Minimizing the work that takes place in the morning allows her to build in some leisure time for the kids and bring the morning intensity down.
- Get up early! Ideally, at least 30 minutes before the kids. “My children get up at 6:00 am and I try to get up at 5:30 am. Sometimes I get up closer to 5:45 am, especially when I’m tired, but having time alone to prepare breakfast and have coffee, makes the morning schedule run that much smoother.”
- Involve the kids. Find the age appropriate ways that your kids can help. “I put out all of the kids’ clothes the night before and my six year old helps to pick out her clothes for the next day…My oldest (eight years old) is able to help keep an eye on my youngest (age two) during some of the morning prep.” Empowering your children, to help in big or small ways, can make a tremendous difference.
- Meal ‘routine’ for lunches. “Unfortunately, all three kids eat different things so I have to make three different lunches. Mondays through Fridays, the kids eat the same basic lunch with modest variations. For example, I include an apple for fruit one day an orange the next day.” A ‘system’ (previously I shared mine for dinners) to repeat key aspects of each meal, saves a lot of time from the grocery shopping to actual preparation.
- Negotiate flexibility at work. “I’m fortunate that I’ve been with my company for several years and have the flexibility to go into the office a bit later in the morning when needed…I couldn’t imagine not having that…it’s huge!” Although Jennifer has earned her employer’s trust during her tenure, consider negotiating flexibility and resetting expectations around ‘face time’ with your company. Many moms find arriving at the office predictably at 9 am unrealistic. Many things can happen, outside of your control, to upend the morning schedule. “On the days I have to be fully dressed and ready for work when I drop my kids off, everything is much harder.”
I hope you enjoy these tips as much as I have! Jennifer’s morning time hacks have already changed the way I am preparing for tomorrow.
How do you handle mornings? Do you feel that these tips can fit into your routine? Leave a comment, I look forward to your feedback.