I am not a morning person. I hate mornings. I go to bed at night dreading having to get up in the morning. It’s not a very positive start in the morning and for the past few months has resulted in bad attitudes and tears (sometimes from Mara, mostly from me). I recently resolved to start my mornings more positively by making a few small changes to my routine.
The first is to have a good bedtime routine for myself. I pick up the house after the Toddler Tornado goes to bed and clean the kitchen. This ensures that I’m waking up to a mostly clean house every day. If I come downstairs to a mess in the morning I’m almost instantly in a bad mood. I also try to cut screen time out at least 20 minutes before bed by swapping my phone for a book. This is the time where I like to read parenting or self-improvement type books. It’s something slightly interesting, but doesn’t suck me in and make me want to stay up reading.
The second is to get up before Mara does. She usually wakes up around 7:30, so just getting up 15-30 minutes before her makes a big difference. That’s time where the house is quiet and still clean from my nightly cleanup. It’s a great way to start the day and I can have a little coffee before I get her out of bed. On the mornings I don’t do this I walk into her room in a zombie like state and communicate via grunts. Greeting her with a smile and a little energy in the morning definitely makes a difference in her attitude for the morning too.
I also like to read a little in the morning with my cup of coffee. It’s a relaxing quiet start. This is usually a different book than my bedtime one, just because I’m lazy and don’t want to carry the book back and forth. While this reading time is usually only 5-10 minutes, it’s a good way to sit and have me time before everything becomes all about Mara.
The last thing is to make Mara’s breakfast before she gets up. She is not a fan of eggs and really likes a hardy breakfast, so she has oatmeal just about everyday. (When she gets more teeth I will probably add pancakes to the mix). I make her oatmeal and leave it to cool while I make my coffee and have my reading time. Then all I have to do is flavor it when she gets up. Her favorites are applesauce and cinnamon or peanut butter and banana. Before I started doing this Mara would spend most of the morning clinging to my legs and crying while I made her oatmeal and my coffee.
Once Mara is in her highchair happily munching away I empty the dishwasher and make my breakfast. Emptying the dishwasher has been a HUGE de-stresser! I just place the dirty dishes in throughout the day so there is never a pile in the sink. Then after dinner I only have to add the dinner dishes real quick and wipe of the counters. Having a clean kitchen almost all day takes the stress of needing to do “one more thing” away. I can carve out some Me Time during naps without feeling guilty.
Do you have any other tips or tricks for making mornings run smoother? I’m always looking for ways to make my days more efficient and less stressful.