I have a confession: I am not a morning person. Ideally, I prefer not to have anyone speak to me before 9 a.m. It doesn’t matter if you say something pleasant before that time, I will feel annoyed with you for speaking to me at all. I simply want to be left alone. But I also want to be a pleasant mom to my children who are determined to rise early (it is a rare morning when they sleep past 6:30). The combination makes for an interesting dynamic to the mornings in our home.
I don’t’ even remember when, but at some point I established a few simple routines that have been sanity-saving. They are little things that are making a huge difference for us at this stage of life. Sometimes I hesitate to share because I’m afraid someone will think I’m weird (or weirder, if you already thought I had the weird part down). Or that someone will roll their eyes at my lack of experience (I’ve only been parenting 5 years, so I’m hardly an “expert”). All that to say, this is what currently works for me. These 3 things are making my mornings easier. Not easy. Unless you have a cook, nanny, and maid, I am fairly certain there is no such thing as an easy morning with small children.
- I lay out outfits the night before. I help Jackson and Kate lay out their clothes before they go to bed. Kate frequently sneaks out of bed to switch out her outfit, but at least it’s ready. Jackson is very determined to only wear “comfy” clothes, so if he has to wear anything not deemed “comfy” it helps to prepare him the night before. And I’ve found that I like the convenience of not having to think about what I’m wearing while simultaneously coordinating my children getting dressed for the day.
- Have a plan for breakfast. My kids love a hot breakfast and we rarely eat cold cereal. I almost always make at least part of breakfast the night before. We enjoy baked oatmeal several times a week. I love this recipe because you can change it up so many ways. At minimum I already have something planned so it is one less thing to juggle in the morning. At best, I have something baked and only have to scramble a few eggs. When Jackson and Kate were smaller I had the juice cups ready to go in the refrigerator. I prepare Lynleigh’s baby food and bottles the night before too, since she wakes ready to eat.
- Empty the dishwasher. Several years ago I began making sure my kitchen sink was clean before going to bed. Not waking up to a pile of dishes in the sink was huge. But waking up to an empty dishwasher, so I can immediately place breakfast dishes in the dishwasher has made me feel on top of the morning. I don’t have to scramble to put away dishes while people are clamoring for breakfast or end up with piles of dishes in the sink. While I don’t do this 100% of the time, the mornings I do this are so much better.
Ironically, shortly after writing this post I had a morning where I realized I totally forgot to lay out clothes, I had no idea what we were going to eat for breakfast and my dishwasher was packed full of …dirty dishes. What can I say? Mommy brain is no joke.
Our days feel significantly less chaotic when I do remember to do these three things. The past 10 months have been a challenge for our family as we welcomed our 3rd baby, Lynleigh. This time around I did not have the added pressure of going back to work, but we still have found our 3rd child to be a significant adjustment.
When Lynleigh was born we had a 4 year old and 2 ½ year old too. To say I felt in survival mode when Mike returned to work is an understatement. Between the sleep deprivation of nursing a newborn round-the-clock and 2 high-energy preschoolers, I often felt like I was on the verge of becoming certifiably insane. So, these are my three routines I implemented that help me feel a little less frazzled every morning. Let me know if you try them and how they work for you!