I’d love for you to welcome my friend Megan Flatt, who writes about creating your own Mama Revival on her site MeganFlatt.com. Today, she’s sharing tips for creating streamlining your morning routine with kids in tow!
Today was my 2-year-old daughter’s first ballet class. It was adorable. She floated like a bubble and hopped like a bunny. She followed the teacher’s examples with wide eyes, smiles and giggles the whole time.
She is still my baby in so many ways, but she is growing up so fast. I love the saying about parenthood: the days are long, but the years are short. As I watch my kids grow up, I am amazed every day at the awesome little people they are becoming. I am also amazed every day at how exhausting parenting can be. It seems there is always something we need to be doing.
Even getting to ballet on time is a feat. I have to get both kids up, fed, dressed and out the door to get my son to school at the earliest possible moment, in order to be at ballet class only 15 minutes later. It’s easy to fall into morning rushing and barking orders at the kids; “Eat your breakfast!” “Where are you shoes?!” “Hurry up!”
One of the ways I strive to be more present for my kids (and yell less) is to be organized. To make my morning more smooth, I first think of everything that needs to be done, then I try to eliminate as much of that list as possible. Here are a few tips that help me streamline my morning to create less stress and more enjoyment for all of us.
Lay out everyone’s clothes the night before (including yours): While the kids are getting PJs on, I pull out clothes for the next day. I even try to take it one step further and lay out a full five days of clothes on Sunday night in a stack for my son. I layer pants, shirt, socks, and underwear and repeat for each day. Then we just pull off the top pack and he’s ready to go.
For my daughter, who goes to a wonderfully messy preschool, I completely rearranged her dresser drawers. Instead of pants and shirts in two different drawers, I now have pants and shirts that can go to preschool (ie get messy) in one drawer and nicer pants and shirts in the other drawer. Now we can just grab anything out of the preschool drawer, and she is set.
And I lay out my clothes too! Hey, even a few minutes saved is a few more minutes without stress!
Skip showering: I have pretty much eliminated my shower from our morning routine. I find I’d rather have a longer, more relaxing shower after the kids go to bed, than rush through a shower in the morning with at least one other person banging on the shower door. This way, I can get up and throw on the clothes I laid out the night before before my kids even wake up.
Plan and pre-pack lunches: Through out my day, I try to streamline tasks and group like tasks together. So, if I am already in the kitchen fixing or cleaning up from dinner, it is easy to put lunch items together for the next day at the same time. At the very least, I group things together in the fridge, so I can just pull things out in the morning instead of digging through the fridge to see if we have any peanut butter left.
Streamline breakfast choices: Before I had kids, I used to tease a family friend about his ‘anal’ breakfast routine with his kids. He served a set breakfast item each day of the week. Monday was always fruit and yogurt, Tuesdays were toaster waffles, Wednesday was oatmeal, and so on. But now, after morning breakfast battles of my own, I completely see the appeal. On any given day, there is no debate over what is for breakfast and the kids still get some choices like what topping on their oatmeal or what fruit with their yogurt.
We still get into a rush some mornings; there are still days I feel more like a task master than I’d like. But, I have found the more organized I know my morning will be, it helps me feel more calm and help me be more present with the kids. If we are not rushing through a checklist, we are able to enjoy each other more. If clothes are laid out, we can have a few extra minutes to snuggle in bed, or if lunches are already packed we might have time to put a puzzle together before we leave.
Sometimes the days are long but, then I have a day like today, where my 2-year-old says, in her broken little pixie language, “I happy, Mama!” Or when my 5-year-old son can’t stop talking about the cool millipede the “bug lady” brought to his preschool. I try to stop, reflect and take a mental snap shot of exactly where we are today, as I know it is so fleeting.
I want to be a present parent. I want to enjoy my kids and the rocks and bugs and tutus that come with them.
For me, being a present parent is one part organizational skills, one part mental exercises, and one part self-forgiveness when I am not as present as I’d like to be. (And a good dash of bugs and tutus too.)
Megan Flatt is a Mama Strategist and a wellness expert. She helps moms find their groove, claim the time to do it, and create the energy to support their own Mama Revival. You can start with her free mini ecourse; The Mama Mindset by clicking here. You can also catch up with Megan on facebook www.facebook.com/meganflattpage or twitter @bump_life