Stagger to the kitchen, coffee maker still has last night’s dregs — throw them out (sink still full of dirty pots — what a disgusting sight).
Who’s hidden my shoes? And — uh oh! The kids are up already. I yell at them to get dressed and sure enough, one of them has gym today and no clean kit (even in hiding).
Must get their packed lunches ready — why are their lunch boxes still lurking in their school bags?
The cornflakes packet is empty, the milk is just about OK …
Finally, we are ready to set off — but who’s stolen my car keys?
The kids are late — again. I arrive at work flustered and unkempt — what a way to start the day!
It really doesn’t have to be anything like that.
Take a few steps to make life easier in the mornings and your whole day will seem brighter.
1.) Priority One — Get Enough Sleep
There is no getting away from it — we need our sleep.
If you are tired in the mornings the chances are you are not having the restorative sleep that you need. You will become irritable, short-tempered and downright cross unless you happen to be a saint.
Now I do know that as a working mum sleep may seem an impossible dream, but if you look at your life you might find a time when you could schedule some extra sleep.
If at all possible, delegate some of the routine tasks to other people whether they are paid workers or family.
Take a nap when your child naps. Even a quarter of an hour can revitalise you for the next stint.
Go to bed an hour earlier. It is said that the hours of sleep before midnight are the most valuable from the recovery point of view.
2.) Your Evening Routine Sets the Scene For Today
It’s good to get up and not to have to think too hard. If you lay out your clothes the night before, it’s easy to get dressed. And not just your clothes but those for other members of your family, who might not be able or willing to do it for themselves. You do not want to be harassed for a clean shirt when you are trying to get the kids up. And the shoes, in pairs, should be where you can find them!
If the kitchen is tidy and clean, you will be able to make breakfast that much quicker. The coffee making tools should be at hand and ready for use. Some people lay their table the night before (though if you have pets this might not be advisable). But the sink should ALWAYS be clean and empty!
When you have to make packed lunches, you can make them the night before and put them in the fridge. If you make them at the same time as you prepare the evening meal there will be only one set of clearing up to do.
And make quite sure your bag is ready packed, and the children’s sports gear is in their satchels. Finally, be sure your keys are where you know they should be.
3.) Schedule a Small Treat
It’s so much easier to get up when you are looking forward to something. That something can be as small as a new shower gel or perhaps an extra outing with the dog.
The last thing you think about before going to sleep is that treat. And then the first thing you think of when you wake up should also be that treat. You want to make getting up as pleasant as you can.
This seems to work for children, too. How is it they often get up early at the weekend while they are lie-a-bed slugs on school days?
4.) Get Up Earlier For a Few Minutes of Precious “Me-Time”
This might sound contrary to the advice about getting enough sleep — and it is! But, if you can set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, that extra time will give you a chance to begin the day in a calmer and more relaxed frame of mind. You might even have a little “me-time”.
This special time of day, before the family are under your feet, can be very precious. It works well if you are getting enough sleep, it really is better to go to bed that little it earlier if at all possible.
Sometimes this peaceful time becomes so attractive that even busy mums find time to get up a whole hour earlier. And because they feel so good about themselves, even a trifle smug, they seem able to do a great deal more in that early hour than in the late evening, when they are already exhausted.
And if you go outside in the early morning, for a quick run or some tachiai, the colours are so much fresher and even the air smells cleaner.
5.) Clear the Clutter to Manage Your Mornings Efficiently
Clear the clutter. But how to do this?
One story I really liked was about a woman who advertised an empty cardboard box on e-bay. She told her family that everything they left out would go into the box. It rapidly began to fill and she updated the selling information regularly. As more and more found its way into the box so the bids rose in value. As I understand it, she was able to afford a nice holiday for herself.
It is certainly true that very often the family are to blame for unfair pressure on the woman of the house to tidy up after them. Once they are made aware of this, often they will help. And a schedule can be created with rewards, if necessary, and they will usually take a pride in their contribution.
They might notice that you are less exhausted and irritable. And that is a reward in itself.
And, of course, there is the blitz when you are feeling brave. You hardly ever miss what you throw out, give away or donate to charity.
6.) Thinking is Hard — Have a Routine Instead
It’s emotionally draining to try to remember all the many things a mother has to do, and not just in the mornings. However, a routine will take away a lot of the thinking.
It might be worth you taking the time to make a list of the routine things you do. You might be amazed! Show your partner and amaze him, too.
Once you have the list, check to see what you could leave out. Check it also to see what things you can do to make it easier in the mornings (like laying out your clothes) and make sure those things are on your evening routine list.
Then check it once again to see whether the order is the most efficient. You really do not want to be running up and down stairs several times if once will do.
Once your good routine is established you will not have to think about those necessary but often rather dull activities again — your home will run like clockwork.
7.) Make Your Daily To-Do List — This Will Save You Time
However, there are some things you cannot put in your routines list. The dental appointment, the visit to the vet, the later hours you need to be at the office. This is where your to-do list is essential. Don’t make the mistake of filling it too full. Save it for the important things you must take care of — and you need to be aware of them at the start of the day.
Having a short but effective to-do list will save you having to make last minute arrangements for extra childcare. You might save hours by getting the cat vaccinated on time. And it will save you missing — and maybe having to pay, for that dental appointment.
Time to Wake Up to New Morning
Zzzzzzzzzz — time to rise and shine. Wonder if that new toothpaste tastes good?
The aroma of fresh coffee will set you up — and a quick stretch to welcome the day. Dress smoothly without too much thought.
Oh! Fantastic — the children are up already. The gym kit is already packed and in the school bag. The lunch ingredients are ready in the fridge — you just have to put it together.
You’ve time for a small treat for breakfast — the strawberries have already been hulled ready to add to the cereal. As a family, you all eat together and chat about nothing very much.
Time to go — you are in plenty of time. You arrive at the office ready for work, relaxed and calm.
Ahh, what a way to start the day!