2015 · single mom

Morning Madness: 5 ways to make your mornings easier

Mornings are tough, you guys.

I get up between 5 am and 5:30 am most mornings in an effort to get a jump start on the day – giving me at least an hour to get myself ready before I wake F to start his day. In theory, we should be ready long before it’s time to walk out the door but we are racing, always. ALWAYS.

Last week our first full week of “big school” and in a strange twist of WTF, F is actually getting up earlier and we’re leaving the house later so it makes absolutely no sense that we’re struggling to get to the school before first bell. But there you have it. I’m sure as the weeks progress, we’ll get more and more used to our morning routine but this weekend made me realize that we need to get our ducks in a row and come up with ways to simplify our morning routine. Here’s what we’re employing this week:

Pick out clothes the night before. This might not work well for me since I’m picky and I like to choose my outfits based on how I feel in the morning, but it does work beautifully for F. By simply laying his clothes out next to his bed at night, he can get dressed as soon as he wakes and I don’t need to worry about it. Bonus: we get the “yes you have to wear pants” argument over with before bedtime.

Pack lunches when you clear dinner plates. I will shamelessly admit that I’m not the lunch-packing mama I thought I would be. In fact, I enrolled F in a lunchtime program so I could avoid worrying about sending nutritious lunches within the guidelines and limitations of his elementary school’s lunchroom. I’m happy to keep allergens out of there, but it’s hard to find meals that F will enjoy when he can’t bring a thermos, use a microwave or have access to a refrigerator. I take a lunch daily, and F still needs a healthy snack for recess so I’ll be taking care of this when I’m cleaning up from dinner. Grab and go in the morning.

Make ahead breakfasts. Yep, I’m going there. Today, I baked delicious (and nutritious!) blueberry-oatmeal muffins, and two dozen pancakes to freeze. I’ll also mix up some homemade oatmeal packets (just add boiling water!) for me.

Make pancakes and let them cool completely before packing in a Ziplock bag and popping in the freezer.  Pull ’em out of the freezer in the morning and pop in the toaster for almost instant yum.

Get thee to bed. How many of us have our kids in bed on time, only to stay up for another few hours watching TV? I’ll admit – I have evenings where I veg on the couch long past when I should be in bed, and I suffer the next morning. I’m not suggesting you go to bed at 7 along with the mini crowd, but I am suggesting you set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it. I turn my lights out by 9:30 pm most nights, unless I absolutely have to stay up to finish something for work or home harmony.

It’s hard to overhaul your sleep schedule in one fell swoop, though, so start by going 15 minutes earlier until you’ve found the bedtime that works perfectly for you.

No tech-time. It doesn’t matter if I’m up at 5:30 am for a 7:55 departure, if I spend an hour sitting looking at my Twitter feed I’ve lost an hour of my morning. I regularly lay in bed checking email, reading the news, checking the weather on ten different apps, and tweeting a thing or thirty… and suddenly, the time I could have spent washing my hair, making coffee or getting the lunch I forgot to pack the night before has been wasted on my iPhone. Put your phone away. Leave your computer on Sleep mode.

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