Mornings with kids can be a challenge.
In my house, my boys and I seem to be completely out of sync when it comes to waking up in the morning: the days when I’m exhausted, they wake up at the crack of dawn, and the days when I jump out of bed, they sleep in and throw our whole morning routine out of whack.
But let me clarify, when I say ‘morning routine’, I don’t mean that we follow a strict schedule. Every day is not a carbon copy of the day before, and we definitely do not have a pretty printable stuck on our fridge with instructions for a perfect morning (although I have pinned many of these on Pinterest! A girl can dream…)
Some parts of our routine currently work beautifully, but there are other aspects that require a bit of a tune-up. At the beginning of this post it may have sounded like I was blaming my children for our sometimes chaotic mornings; however, I know that any stress that arises as we prepare for the day is a direct result of my actions. This isn’t about blaming myself. It is actually a great thing to realise, because it means that I am in control, and that I am the one who can bring peace to our mornings.
Now I want to share with you what we currently do each morning to eliminate stress, as well as the steps I am taking to create even more calm in our morning routine.
Start the night before
Some of the most important things I do to make our mornings peaceful actually happen the night before. There are some small steps that I take in the evenings that reduce the amount of work I have to do the next day. This includes packing Jack’s lunch for daycare, organising our clothes for the next day, and packing the nappy bag and Jack’s backpack. I also like to have a shower before bed, because it is virtually impossible to fit in a shower in the morning when a pre-schooler and a baby are demanding my attention. I don’t always get these things done, and on the following morning I always wish I had been a little better prepared.
I am the first to admit, I am not a morning person. I never have been. Since having kids, my mornings have gotten earlier and more chaotic all at the same time. It has taken me many years to learn that I can’t submit to my night-owl tendencies and still function like a regular human being the next day. I have learnt to go to bed at a reasonable hour (most nights) so that I don’t look and feel like a complete zombie the next morning.
Wake up before the kids
This is something I have to work on. Like I said, I need my sleep, and I need a lot of it. I am not one of those robots people who can function on 4 hours sleep. This week, my goal is to set my alarm for 6am, and actually get out of bed before the boys are awake. To be honest, I am not looking forward to doing this. But I know that it will allow me to get more done in the morning, and also to take the morning hours more slowly, with less rushing. Wish me luck!
Early morning self-care
The biggest benefit of waking up before the boys will be that I can spend some quiet time focusing on myself. My plan is to do a short meditation, wash my face, get dressed, and make a cup of tea. All simple things, but things that I normally do in a complete rush, with a baby hanging off my leg.
Giving myself the gift of self-care first thing in the morning will hopefully have a knock-on effect for the rest of my day, and maybe even turn me into a morning person. Wishful thinking?
Prepare a healthy breakfast
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I also know that so many mums neglect to feed themselves a nourishing breakfast because they are too busy getting their kids ready for the day. That used to be me as well. Most days when Harry was a newborn, I would start the day with a cold cup of coffee and (on a good day) a piece of white toast with butter. On a not-so-good day, I would forget about food altogether and have an energy drink for morning tea.
This year I have focused on starting the day off right. My favourite go-to easy breakfasts are raw muesli with plain Greek yoghurt and berries, a delicious green smoothie, or a perfectly poached egg on wholemeal toast – yum!
Align myself with the delights and challenges of this season of life
My morning routine has changed dramatically over the last year, and I am sure that it will continue to change in the future. I have found that it is so important to be kind to myself and my children by entering the day with a peaceful heart and a smile on my face. I make a point of giving my boys lots of cuddles in the morning, and trying my best to bite my tongue when I really want to say “hurry up”.
The season of life we are in, with a four-year-old and an almost-toddler, can be described in many ways, one of which is messy. I don’t remember the last time our apartment felt tidy. The amount of mess that two little kids can make in the time between waking up and walking out the door is actually quite impressive. One way that I combat this issue is to feed the boys their breakfast when they are still in their PJ’s. If they get dressed before breakfast they will almost certainly spill food on their clothes and need to be changed.
Accepting the challenges of this season of life, and embracing the easy and wonderful moments, definitely helps to make our mornings smoother and more enjoyable.
How do you eliminate stress from your morning routine? Let me know in the comments below!
*Image credit: Alba Garcia Aguado