I love mornings.
But I'm finding it harder to love them these days, ever since the time change a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it's the settling in of the cooler fall weather. It's not just me -- Frank and our girls are feeling the very same way, too.
No longer able to spring out of bed, we're getting our days started later. This leaves us with less time to get everyone ready, fed and out the door on time. It also means there's a lot more frenetic energy bouncing around our house. And, with it, a lot of grumpy faces, quite a bit of under-breath cursing, loads of begging and a heck of a lot of running -- to school and then back home to pick up whatever it is we left behind.
The chaos of the morning seems to last the rest of the day.
I found I was distracted during my work day, I kept forgetting even the most important of things, and the girls weren't able to unwind after their long days (and neither could I).
Our mornings were never perfect from start to finish, but the good ones always ended with happy hugs.
Finally fed up, I began reading up on what I could do to make our mornings less stressful. Unfortunately, many of the suggestions I tried don't work for me as a parent.
Meditating and journaling, for example, just can't be done in the morning -- at least, not in this house.
So, I decided to reflect on the things we did to make our mornings work before. Our mornings were never perfect from start to finish, but the good ones always ended with happy hugs that led to more successful days for everyone.
Here are the five things that always worked for us. We've been doing them once again -- not always all of them in the same morning -- and our mornings are getting brighter again.
1. Take a moment to yourself
I'm an introvert, so time alone is critical to my mere existence. Without it, I don't have the energy to face the day. So, before my girls start clamouring for me, I try to sneak downstairs. Sometimes I exercise using my fitness app, other times, I curl up on the sofa willing myself to wake up while mindlessly scroll through my Twitter feed.
Lounging in bed, as I've been doing the past couple of weeks, isn't enough for me. I'm still on mommy duty and my girls know it because they always seem to find their way to my bedside to list their demands for the day.
2. Find a quick win
This is a trick I picked up at work when I need to feel like I'm making progress on a big project. It starts with finding a small task -- something that can be done quickly and with little effort. But, it's significant enough that you feel a small sense of pride getting it done.
By focusing on it in the morning, you can go forward in your day knowing you got that at least one thing done. This way, should your day go haywire on you and you can't seem to get much else done, you still feel productive. Maybe it's sitting down for breakfast or maybe it's working out.
For me, it's making my bed. A few pulls of the sheet, a fluff of the pillow and I feel like a bona fide adult.
3. Go device free
I already admitted that I scroll through social media in the morning -- it's where I catch up on the news. But once the girls are up, I put the phone down. It's not social media that's the problem, it's email. The moment I check my email, I get sucked into work mode. I start thinking about the things that I have to get done in the day, then I begin shooting off emails of my own all the while barking at the girls to hurry up. Email can wait, and so can the anxiety that comes with it.
4. Make a connection
We all need a little joy in our lives and making time for it in the morning helps create less stressful mornings for everyone. The days I stop and give each of my girls a private moment -- a cuddle in bed, an extra-long hug or a secret to share -- they are more cooperative and willing to listen. Those moments are good for me, too, helping me feel less guilty when we finally say goodbye.
Like Ellen DeGeneres says, just dance. Music has the power to transform how we feel. It's a fun break to take in between the nagging that usually comes with mornings. Plus, it can get even the slowest morning movers moving. So, find a radio station or a playlist that has happy, hoppy songs and get listening.
This article was originally published on lisadurante.com where you can find more tips and inspiration to create a life that works for you as a working mama.
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