This year, I’ll have 5 kids in school which means 5 kids to get ready in the morning. While my husband is a great help with getting lunches made and breakfast prepared in the morning, I am the one who oversees everything to ensure everyone has what they need for school, and we’re not late. First, I need to take care of my own needs, and be available to help my kids take care of their morning responsibilities.
Start the Night Before
I’ve realized my day needs to start the night before. In fact, some of it starts during the weekend when I do my weekly review. I look at the calendar for the week, put together a menu plan, and write tasks in my daily action planner.
Each night, I review the next day’s list and appointments. If a child needs a note or money, I put it together and put it in their school notebook. All school bags are packed and hung on the children’s hooks in the kitchen. Anything I need for errands the next day is put by the back door.
A good morning routine prepares you for the day ahead. If you’re a morning exerciser, get up early enough to make it happen without affecting your children’s morning routine. Focus on the essentials – exercise, prayer/meditation/quiet time, breakfast, shower and getting dressed.
Notice I haven’t mentioned checking email or going online. Depending on what you do and how your daily schedule works, checking email and being on the computer may not be an essential. I learned last year not to check my email while my kids were up in the morning. I felt like they interrupted me, and I got frustrated. I needed to see that my job was to focus on my kids in the morning, and do the other stuff after I dropped them off at school.
Right now, I’m struggling with my morning routine. Last year, I used to get up at 4:45 am and be out the door by 5:15 am for my morning run. Over the summer as I took a break from running to heal my ankles, I got out the door later for my morning exercise. I’ve tried to get myself back in the routine during August without much success. I like getting out the door at 6, and hanging out with my husband in the morning before the kids wake up. Coffee tastes much better hot.
To make my mornings a little easier, I’m going to try shifting 2 of my morning runs to the weekend. This way, I only need to be out early on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Running Tuesday morning is better for me than Wednesday morning since we have Girl Scout meetings every other Tuesday night. I know I’ll lack motivation to get out the door in the morning.
Nourish the Body
Another essential part of my morning routine – breakfast. Eating protein like eggs for breakfast keeps me going until lunch time meaning I don’t want to snack in the morning. Before I head out for my run, I’ll put together eggs en cocotte in a ramekin and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes. By the time I get back, the eggs are cooked and cooled down. If I’m rushed, I rely on oatmeal which takes about 5 minutes to make.
Get Dressed to be Your Best
Since I am growing my blogging and freelancing this fall, I wanted to get myself back into the business-oriented mindset I had when I worked in fundraising. I don’t need business clothes, however, nice khakis like the ones from Lee that I scooped up at Kohl’s last week will be perfect. I can mix and match with the cute Ann Taylor and Casual Corner tops I’ve been finding at Goodwill, plus jewelry from Target and look put together all the time with little money.
My kids notice the difference when I’m wearing the khakis and tops. They think I’m dressed up to go somewhere which I am. I am dressed up to be the mom who handles writing, parenting, and volunteering all in one day. I carry that confidence with me because I know I look my best.
Fill Up Your Bucket with Positive Thinking
Finally, read or listen to something positive that reminds you can handle whatever comes your way today. You know as a mom that all the planning in the world can be derailed by a sick child or a flat tire. The difference is your attitude in handling the situation. Sometimes our attitudes need to be shaped into being positive and capable.
Some moms like to read the Bible and use biblical verses to help them focus. Other moms dig into inspirational and motivational literature like Sara Ban Breathnatch’s Simple Abundance. Whatever you choose should be short in case your morning moves quickly; think of it as your daily vitamin for motivation.
Take 5 minutes this week, and write down your ideal morning routine. Keep your priorities limited to 3 to 5 items. Put time limits on them if that helps you. Try the routine out for a few weeks giving yourself and your kids time to settle into the new back to school routine. Then, tweak what needs to be tweaked. Shift things around if the flow doesn’t work. Ask your husband to help you out if you need a quiet time. Let me know how your routine works for you.