You guys – I used to be a morning person. I’d get home from work and be out cold asleep by 11, then all perky and cheery by 7 AM. My day was almost guaranteed to start smoothly.
That was before kids. Before 3 hours of sleep. Before there was no such thing as “sleeping in,” or “lazy weekends,” or any of that stuff that we all take for granted before parenting. haha
Now I’m the girl that stays up way too late, just because that’s my time to think and be and work in silence, with nobody else needing me. Most nights I choose to stay awake instead of going to bed early because, as every parent knows, you get sleep or you get alone time to relax – but not both, amiright?! 😛 So now I’m a night owl that groans when my tiny human alarm clocks wake me up in the morning.
I’ve accepted that this is the season, but I hated that whole waking-up-already-behind feeling I had going on for a while. Maybe you do, too? Anyway, here’s what I’ve started doing every night and every morning to make sure my days (usually!) start smoothly.
- Fold and put away laundry. If your days are anything like mine, the laundry gets washed and dried just fine, but the folding ends up a giant procedure aka 3-ring circus when I try to do it around all the kids. It will literally take me triple the time to fold during the day, so now I wash during the day and fold at night.
- Empty the sink and dishwasher. If the bed isn’t made the bedroom looks messy to me. If the sink is full of dishes, the kitchen looks messy to me. It’s one of the many things I’ve learned to let go of on a crazy day, but it’s still something that matters to me, so waking up to a sink full of dirty dishes just starts my day off wrong. With no tiny human interruptions, this is a task that takes about 10 minutes tops and is well worth that minute of perfectly clean kitchen when I come down in the morning.
- Pack all snacks/lunches & set up coffee. When my oldest first started kindergarten I never let him buy lunch and I sent him to school every day with Pinterest-perfect lunches. #iwassocutebackthen haha Then reality kicked in. Now he sometimes buys, sometimes brings, and I save the Pinterest-cuteness for holiday/special day lunches. My first grader often packs his own food now, but whoever is packing it – it gets done the night before, not the morning of.
And coffee – obviously. That doesn’t need an explanation, does it, darlings? 😉
- Do a “sweep” of the house – putting odds and ends away. No matter how “organized” I am, we still end up with random legos, a mini lalaloopsy, a light saber, or the occasional hair tie thrown around. Before I head to bed, I step into each room and put those random items where they belong. Again, a 5-10 minute task that keeps things feeling fresh and neat come morning.
- Lay out clothes for everyone. WHERE IS YOUR SHOE? WHY DON’T YOU HAVE SOCKS ON? No, you may NOT wear pjs to school!!! … If any of that sounds familiar to you, then you get why this one is a must-do in my house full of little ones. The older kids lay out their own clothes, and I do mine and the younger kids, including socks/diapers/hair tie. Every. Single. Thing in one place. The only exception is shoes – they each have one pair that stays right by the door.
The last thing any of us want to be doing in the morning is running around looking for a sock or clean pants. 🙂
In The Morning:
- Get myself dressed and ready FIRST. You guys, I wear a full face of makeup pretty much every day, but I’ve got my routine down to 15 minutes flat. (I will say – I don’t do a major hair routine, so if you do, that probably would take longer. haha) For me, being dressed – even if it’s just in leggings – and wearing my makeup gives me an extra dose of energy and motivation for the day.
Because the older kids follow their set routine chart (see below), I can get ready, move on to the babies, and then we all meet at the table for breakfast.
That actually makes it sound a heck of a lot easier than it really is, but you get the idea. The process works. 😉
- Keep breakfast simple. I don’t run a restaurant over here. haha Breakfast during the week is one of 3 things – oatmeal, yogurt, or hard-boiled eggs. On the weekends, we make “fun” meals like pancakes, muffins, etc. But during the week, it’s eat up and go, people! 😛 (We still end up with those days of GRAB AN APPLE, THE BUS IS HERE! 😛 but overall, this works for us.)
- Give the kids a routine and keep it consistent. This could really be all its own post, but it definitely helps keeps our mornings manageable over here.
I have a printed routine chart for the older kids to follow – basic items like brush teeth/potty/dress, etc. The kids know that NOTHING ELSE happens until every item on that list is completed. On school days, toys don’t come out until my oldest gets on the bus. I encourage books in the morning, and this is a frequent win.
On a good day, they finish the chart and have a few extra minutes. On a slow day, they finish the chart and we head out the door.
I try to keep a balance between encouraging independence and letting them enjoy their tiny human days with Mama helping them out. The chart covers both pretty well.
Let me know if this is something you’d like me to talk about in more detail!!
- Start a laundry. You know how I fold every night? I wash every day. Gone are the days when folding all the laundry would mean I was all set for a few days. I do laundry every day now, because the mountains are just annoying, but a basket or 2 at a time feels doable.
- Give each kid a real hug and I Love You. I wrote about this last week in more detail, but seemingly tiny actions like a focused hug and I Love You have such deep impact on their hearts. I do this every single morning, no matter how “good” or “bad” their behavior is, or how crazy the day started. I hold them, I see them, and I love them.
For them and for me, it sets the tone for our day and for our hearts, with something that takes almost no time at all.
Do you have an evening or morning routine? I’d love to hear what simple things you do to make your days start smoothly!!