Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a terrible morning person. The worst. Honestly, don’t even try to talk to me until I’ve consumed at least a gallon of coffee. Am I alone?!
Before becoming a parent, it was all well and good to keep hitting the snooze button and then hustle like mad to get out of the door on time (which I may or may not have always achieved…). In any case, that was my morning routine and I was fine with it!
But now… now I’m suddenly responsible for another human being… and juggling work and the school run… and I have to at least give the impression that I don’t hate the world and everything in it 🙂
In general, having a basic routine seems to help keep things more relaxed for everyone in our family. We’ve found that certain strategies save time and take some of the stress out of our busy mornings. I won’t pretend that we manage all of these all the time, or that we completely avoid morning meltdowns, but these simple tricks have definitely helped us, so perhaps they’ll help you too.
Oh, and these tips can work for anyone, regardless of whether you have kids or not – I probably should have tried these myself a long time ago!
#1 Assign a place for all your essentials
We have a dedicated spot, right by the entryway, for all of our must-haves (keys, wallet, phones, handbag etc.) and that’s where they all live when they’re not being used. It dramatically reduces the chance of forgetting any of these things (although I’m not going to lie, it still happens!).
We also use this same place to assemble all of the school essentials before we head out of the door in the morning.
#2 Pack bags ahead of time
These days I try my best to clean out and re-pack the pre-school backpack as soon as our daughter gets home from school… that way I’m less likely to miss anything. At the very least I’ll aim to get it packed the night before.
Same goes for my own handbag, which is usually ready for me to just pick up and go. Once a week (typically Sunday evening) I also try to clean out my bag. Not only does it feel good to get rid of old receipts and other clutter I don’t need, but it also ensures that my keys, wallet etc. are all where they need to be!
#3 Pre-assemble lunches
I remember my own parents packing lunchboxes the night before school, and now I know why. Even making basic sandwiches can be a real pain when you’re running around trying to get everyone ready in the morning.
For school lunches we use a bento-style box with compartments (like this one here) which makes it much easier to pack a balanced and appetizing lunch for our little one.
I work from home so I don’t have to pack any food for myself, but if and when I’m ever back in an office, I’ll definitely try to pack up my own lunch the night before too.
#4 Prep the coffee machine
Because coffee is life, right?! Cleaning out and programming the coffee machine the night before can save precious minutes in the morning (of course, the tea drinkers among us don’t even have to worry about this!)
And I don’t know about you, but for me even the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the house first thing can improve my mood!
#5 Decide on your outfit (and the kids’ clothes) the night before
Check the weather forecast and then set out your clothes, ironing anything that might need it (side note – I hate ironing so much that I actually try to avoid even buying anything that won’t come out of the dryer wrinkle-free these days).
I’m seriously considering jumping on the “capsule wardrobe” bandwagon too. I’ve recently begun streamlining my closet, and must say that putting together outfits that I love has already become much easier and quicker.
#6 Keep breakfast simple
Despite the near daily requests for pancakes, we tend to stick to a couple of easy options for weekday mornings. Having some pre-chopped fruit in the fridge means that we can always supplement toast, cereal or yogurt with a little healthy addition.
Also, we’ve found that saving hot breakfasts for the weekend has the added benefit of making it seem like more of a treat.
#7 Simplify your beauty routine
I keep all of my everyday make-up products out on the counter, so I don’t have to waste time digging through drawers or cosmetics bags.
I recently bought this pretty make-up organizer and just love it. The fact that I can easily arrange my products by category (face, eyes, lips etc.) is a dream for a neat-freak like me!
#8 Put the smartphone down
I try to resist the urge to check emails or social media until I’ve got through the rest of my morning routine. As tempting as it is, it can also be a major distraction that definitely slows me down.
Waiting until the work day officially begins to start going through emails also helps to keep my work and home life separate, which is always a goal of mine!
Bonus tip – if you happen to be a better morning person than me, you could always set the alarm and get up a little earlier than the kids. This is a great idea in theory, but I personally can’t give up those extra minutes in bed 🙂
So there you have it. One final note… we’re about to have another baby, at which point all of this and any semblance of a morning routine will certainly go out of the window, ha!
What tactics do you use to make the mornings less chaotic? I’d love to hear your suggestions.
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