I hate mornings. I am not exaggerating- I absolutely despise the early hours of the day. I’d like to say that my MS is the root cause of that but truth is that I’ve been this way my whole life. Ask my mom.
I read all these blogs online that tell me that the only way to have a stress free morning with kids is to get up before them and be ready for your day earlier so you can focus on them. Well, I think that’s just ridiculous. And for some of us it’s just not feasible or wise. And while most of what I’m about to say is specifically targeted to working moms, I think there are nuggets of truth in it for any mom. Because when it gets down to it, we’re all working moms.
So here’s what I really think.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET UP INSANELY EARLY TO BE A GOOD MOM.
There. I said it.
I don’t get up more than 15 minutes before my kids. At 5 and 7, they’re independent enough with clear enough routines that I don’t feel like it’s necessary at this season in our lives. Of course, when they were younger I had no other option but getting up earlier. As they got older, I kept trying to force myself to become a super early riser, and it took my husband’s reminder to give myself grace and use my time in the best way for me. Not just doing what I think I SHOULD be doing as a mom. The key is the routine, not the wake up time.
NOTE: If getting up early is your thing, then please do your thing. I wish I was an early morning person. Unfortunately, I’m a more middle of the afternoon person. 🙂 This routine works for us in part because my husband is able to do school drop off most days and I work less than 1/2 mile from my job. I have pockets of time at other times during my day instead of just in the morning.
So why do routines matter for a working mom? Because the less decisions you have to make, the more mental effort you can use to be present with your kids. Time at home with your kids is a precious commodity for all moms, but especially those of us who work outside of the home. In my experience, the key for a less stressful morning is to have a plan for what to eat and what to wear.
What to Eat
One thing you need to understand about our family is that we eat a variety of types of foods. We don’t have any dietary restrictions and we eat a mixture of processed and from scratch foods. If I focused on making everything from scratch I’d either blow my food budget, eat out all the time, or just go crazy. Or maybe all three. Again, I give major props to you moms who get up early AND make all your food from scratch.
I’d also like to be that mom that makes a hot breakfast every morning. But I’m not. My solution for that is to provide a variety of premade breakfast options that can be prepared quickly and will stick with my kids and husband until lunch. Enter the freezer. I usually make and freeze things like breakfast casserole muffins, waffles/pancakes, breakfast burrito pouches, and sausage muffins. Other non freezer options may include oatmeal, cereal, or toast and fruit. When I wake my girls up, they pick what they’d like for breakfast or I may give them a choice of two depending on what’s in the freezer and pantry. They get dressed while I make their breakfast. Multiple premade breakfast options=less decisions for me to make in the morning. Which is good for all parties involved.
What to Wear
I like to prepare as much as I can for the week on the Saturday and Sunday before. Even if nothing else gets completed, my kids will at least pick out their clothes and I’ll have at least a bare bones meal plan. For the entire week.
I used to care if their clothes matched perfectly. Now? Not so much.
Are you clothed?
As long as they start on Monday morning with 5 outfit options in their closet, I’m happy. As long as it’s weather appropriate and it fits, I’m good to go. Again, the key is not having to make a decision. They have five different options to pick from so there’s no decision making on my part.
Why routine makes a difference
My children couldn’t be more different in their morning habits. One is a morning person who operates at normal speeds when completing tasks and the other moves at turtle speed. All.the.time.
There was a time where I actually took milk in a spill proof cup and handed it to my youngest daughter before I even got her out of bed. Order matters to her. The term “hangry”? That’s ALL her. She needs food before she can do much of anything. Fortunately, she’s much better at that but just simply having a routine wasn’t enough for her. That routine needs to be in the right order. That meant that for awhile breakfast was before getting dressed. Now she’s able to get dressed and then come out for breakfast. They eat and we talk while I pack lunches or empty the dishwasher. While we don’t have a sit down breakfast of bacon and eggs everyday, we do spend time together each morning in the way that works best for us- and that’s what matters. You may also need change up the routine- seasons change and we need to be willing to change with it.
Moms, don’t feel guilty for doing what works for you and your people. Are they fed? Clothed? Loved? Are we being the best stewards of the time we have with our kids? If yes, then way to go.
What are YOUR morning routines- I’d love to hear what works for you!