When you are a working mother, the domestic organization becomes a daunting task. Mounds of dirty laundry, school homework, hungry kids and breakfast-to-dinner meal planning make your head spin. Anticipating hectic hours at the office makes it even worse and doesn’t do much to make for a happy start to the day. So what can you do to reorganize your daily routine and make your mornings smooth – and peaceful?
Every working mother faces her own set of challenges and circumstances. A healthy morning routine, therefore, becomes incredibly important for a productive day.
Sometimes, I get asked how I ‘manage it all,’ which is simple enough to answer: I don’t. But making the most of the wee morning hours goes a long way towards a rewarding and stress-free day.
Forever chaotic mornings
When I was still new to this ‘working mom’ scenario, the only important thing I learned at the time was ‘mornings forever will be a bit more chaotic.’ If I thought that getting to work on time was a hurdle before the baby was born, then I didn’t know what was coming. I am naturally obsessed with anal-organization, setting everything down to its most minute detail. So, you can imagine how I approached our ‘new’ morning routine with an infant.
My son is growing up fast which means he’s becoming low-key unmanageable by the day. However, my day plan includes some key rules that help me keep my sanity intact and stay on track:
1. Become an early riser
As a parent, you are probably already waking up at a very early hour. Sometimes, however, even an extra 20 minutes can make things more smooth.
Figure out how much time you need to get everyone up, fed and dressed, then set your alarm accordingly. For me, those extra minutes are a blessing in disguise. On a pleasant morning, it means 20 minutes to play together or savor my milk tea, while a comparatively bad morning means I’m only 5 minutes behind schedule; hinting towards a rough day ahead.
2.Keep your breakfast healthy but straightforward
You don’t necessarily have to whip up an omelette from scratch – though scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast and fruit make a relatively simple and equally healthy breakfast. Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt can also do the trick.
If your kids prefer pancakes or waffles like my two-year-old, make a batch over the weekend and freeze them, then reheat in the microwave or toaster. Most of the time, I go for a packaged, frozen, whole-grain version; simplifying the breakfast routine even further.
3.Limiting time-consuming tasks
As crazy as it sounds, I have tried to eliminate anything that takes time in the morning. If it’s a shower, it needs to happen a night before. Before I hit the bed, my outfit and lunch for the next day are ready.
I have been trying to proactively think about which activities can possibly be done the night before and luckily for us, most of the things can be easily managed this way! I also pack my son’s bag and cloth diapers to take to his morning-babysitter the following day.
4.Get used to list-making!
I never realized that making lists would make my life so much easier. Balancing a 40+ hour work week, running a mom-blog and all of the other endeavors that flood my daily life can make remembering everything at 4 a.m. (time when I usually wake up) a bit daunting.
Therefore, write out your list of things that need to be done every day, stick it on the kitchen refrigerator or even on the bag itself and the daily hassles will ease out to a huge extent.
5.Watch out for unpredictable events
This might seem like a ‘duh’ thing to suggest, but it still amazes me how unforeseen morning events can be. A few examples from my house would include missing the alarm call, an unexpected feeding session that can’t wait, or the dress I laid out having an unnoticed stain.
Whether you are a stay-at-home child-bearer or a working mother, take your morning routine as a challenge to engage in every single day. If you don’t get it right today, you can always try again tomorrow.
6.Dole-out smart rewards – you deserve it!
If you manage to spare 10 minutes before heading out, do something fun. Read a light-hearted story, some quotes about love or play a quick game on the phone. Personally, I prefer reading a few pages of my favorite book coupled with a nice hot cup of raspberry green leaf tea. The extra kick you get from herbal drinks in the morning can keep your brain awake and fresh for the large part of the day.
In the end…
As I was writing this article, I was smiling. Mornings, unarguably, are overwhelming for a methodical mother. And if you have a fast-approaching deadline, I can pretty much guarantee that it will only get harder.
You might think that after countless hours of getting my kid (and husband) prepped up and ready to go, I would have it down to a science. Sadly, I don’t. Therefore, from a mother to a mother I would like to offer this single piece of positive advice: laugh. Blowing up the morning-waffle maker is kind of funny the first few times.
Let go of the mythical perfectionism and embrace flexibility with all your heart. Even if nothing goes according to plan, something or the other definitely will on another, better day.