Photo by: cesarastudillo http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/
Mornings are always hard if you’re not a morning person. Mornings are always harder if you’re not a morning person and you have kids at home, especially when you and those kids need to get from home to elsewhere by a certain time.
I am not naturally a morning person. In fact, I think the hardest part of working full time is waking up and getting myself and my children out the door. Last year I started the book Early to Rise, which helped me start making my mornings a little more peaceful and Zen-like.
The number one way I’ve found that allows for better mornings and therefore better days:
Get up way before your children.
No matter what you have to do, do not let them wake you up.
I always feel a little annoyed when the alarm goes off. But an alarm that sounds and looks like a five-year-old yelling “Mommy I peed in the bed!” is infinitely more annoying.
I would rather have a 5 am morning that looks like this:
Than a 7 am morning that looks like this:
I was reminded of this last week during one of the snow days. I decided to steal a little more sleep due to being off work. The extra comfort of spending more time in bed was quickly negated by being awakened by the aforementioned five-year-old.
If your kids are young enough, as soon as they’re awake, you’re on. If your kids are anything like mine, as soon as they’re awake they always want, or need…stuff.
So instead of waking up to my shower, my prayer, my lonely cup of coffee, I woke up to stripping and washing bed sheets, running bath water, telling my son to get dressed 40 times before he actually did, and making his breakfast while he tried to convince me that I should let him eat cookies instead.
It was nothing out of the ordinary. It was just the typical morning with children that at some point left me scrambling to get centered again.
Second, I start my morning at night. If I’m dragging at the end of the day, I don’t always master this, but I try to get as much as possible ready at night which in turn makes the mornings less hectic. I pack lunches, pull out clothes—my kids wear uniforms, so this step is pretty easy, and put the stuff I need by the door so that in the event of the unexpected, the little time consuming things are already taken care of.
Third, I stopped trying to do too much. I learned this indirectly from my mother, who was a single mom of three. When I was a kid, my mom didn’t take my sister and I, who went to school across town, to school every day so a couple of times a week, she would get up to take us to breakfast at McDonald’s and drop us off at school. I know that she was trying hard to give us her time and attention, but what I remember most about those mornings was how stressed she seemed, without her ever saying it.
Because of this, my kids eat Pop Tarts for breakfast. A lot. Sue me. I don’t claim to be that crunchy and they always like them. I know that they’re quick enough and we don’t have to fight in the same way that we do when they sometimes like cereal and sometimes don’t, or sometimes like eggs and sometimes hate them. I balance them out with a banana or some healthier item. But I am not making pancakes, or any other big breakfast, during the week. I would rather let them sit down and eat happy pop-tarts than stressed out bacon and eggs. We keep it simple and go all out on Saturdays and Sundays, unless they ask for Pop Tarts then, too.
What’s the hardest part of waking up with children? What tips do you have for managing it? Share in the comments!