It seems most people either LOVE mornings or hate mornings. I'm definitely a morning-lover, but I have to say I don't LOVE my mornings starting out before the sun during the week either. It's tough to get out of bed before the sun. But honestly, once I'm up and going I'm SO glad I did it. You know how accomplished I feel when I've gotten 10 things checked off my to-do list before my toddler gets up at 8;00? AWESOME! It makes the whole day feel like I'm slightly ahead of my game.
I think that efficiency is probably the biggest key in lowering the ever-looming stress of getting out the door with your kids. Here are a few tips that I use to make mornings a little less chaotic:
1. Lay Out Your Clothes
I know it seems like it wouldn't save time, but believe me IT DOES! What if you have a desicive streak in the morning and you can't seem to choose what to wear? That can cut an extra 10 - 15 minutes into your routine. Easily. I lay out my clothes the night before so that all I have to do is put them on -- no thinking or cluttering my mind with decisions I could have made the night before. I can focus on everything that I need to get done. I have also found it's a lot easier to lay out my daughter's clothing as well. I love picking out her clothes and sometimes I just can't decide on what to wear -- this solution takes care of that :)
2. Make Primping Time Quick & Efficient
I'm not saying rush through your beauty routine by any means. Most everyone wants to look great during the day and feel like they've got their best face and hair -- and I honestly think it's important. If it makes you feel good to have your hair and makeup just so -- do it! It will make you happier throughout your day. BUT, that being said there are so many ways to cut time off your beatifying. Check out Pinterest for one. I have found SO many easy hair-dos that don't require a lot of drying time or curling. There are also quick and effortless makeup routines that you can find as well.
Another way I try to save a little time in the bathroom is to have some good distractions if I'm getting ready while my little sweetheart is with me. I made a set of play makeup for her that I found on Pinterest. Seriously one of the best ideas -- she loves putting on her "makeup" while Mommy does. And a distracted toddler means I can get through my routine quickly.
3. Get your Lunch Ready Ahead of Time
Some lunches are difficult to make ahead of time. And if that's the case I recommend at least jotting down what you need to pack the night before. The less I have to use my brain to remember small details, the better my mornings are so I can focus on the really big tasks that need to get done that day. I try to have most everything packed up the night before.
Another great way to do this is after dinner if there are left overs you're planning to take for lunches during the week, just pack them up right away. We usually have small containers of leftovers stacked up in the fridge so it's easy for anyone to grab a quick, healthy meal for lunch. Being able to easily take food from home cuts out the excuse to buy an unhealthy lunch during the day.
4. Make some "You" Time
I know it might seem counter-productive to either A) get up earlier than you NEED to, or B) take time out of your morning for yourself. But honestly, it is not. If you have a moment or two to yourself in the morning to collect your thoughts and plan out your day, you will be so much more relaxed about it. For me, I workout in the morning. That's a small amount of my day that I carve out for JUST me. I don't have to think about my to-do list, I don't have to think about work -- I'm just getting my sweat on. It's so therapeutic. I've never once regretted getting up to workout before my family gets up.
(Recently I also started reading the Bible in a Year with a group at Church -- so now I have double "Me" time in the mornings. It's another great way to meditate on my life and my day before they really truly "begin". ).
Whatever you like to do for just you is important. It could be writing, meditating, yoga, a walk, exercise, a workout class. Whatever it is -- do it and you won't regret it. :)
5. Write It Down
You've heard of "mom brain", yes? I have it big time some days. But I have found if I write down what I need to do it allows my brain to "forget" in a sense that I don't need to remember it anymore. That makes room for me to remember things like locking the doors, turning the lights off, etc. But seriously, writing things down is a great time saver for me. If you write out your list of things you need to do (or pack up for the day) the night before, your morning could potentially run like a well-oiled machine.
Yes, I'm that person who writes down what I need to pack up in my work bag/diaper bag/purse/lunch bag every day. But it really, truly helps if I quick think about it before I go to bed. Plus, I think I sleep better when I don't have items I need to make sure not to forget rolling around in my brain all night.
6. Breakfast on the Go
Obviously my toddler doesn't eat her breakfast on the go, but mommy does. Usually while she's noshing away at her toast or banana, I'm packing up the lunch bag (if necessary), getting dinner ready for that night (hello, crockpot!) and getting anything else ready that I need to. That being said, more often than not I'm grabbing something quick to eat on the drive to work. Best go-to on the run breakfast? SMOOTHIES! If you follow me on Instagram you saw my smoothie post on Tuesday. Find some fun ones you like and rotate them in and out of your breakfast routine. Tomorrow's post will include some extra-yummy smoothies you can try :)
Do you have tips for keeping more mornings stress-free and manageable?
Are you a morning lover or a morning hater?