Welcome to Mom Hack Monday!! Are you a Monday-lover or a Monday-hater? I saw a poll on Instagram the other day asking if people were Monday-lovers and I thought to myself, “Who in their right mind LOVES Mondays? I am a pretty positive person but LOVE . . . a MONDAY? They obviously have not been at our house on a Monday.” And then I got upset with myself for being so negative . . . which in and of itself is a pretty negative thing to think . . . so then I was stuck in this circle of Mondays and negativity and just YUCK!
I had to get out of it.
Enter: Mom Hack Monday! Where we will focus on how to make our lives as moms easier because Mondays need all the help they can get.
Now let’s get to the thick of today’s Mom Hack Monday: 5 Tips to Make Your Mornings Better. Alternate titles could also read “How to NOT Yell at Your Kids in the Morning” and “Even in Motherhood: Preparation is Key.” But seriously – why do the last 5 minutes before leaving the house with kids seem to take YEARS? Why can no one find their left shoe? Why does everyone have to go to the bathroom AFTER I said “Let’s get in the car?” These are 5 things, that when I do them, REALLY help make our mornings run more smoothly. They are tried and true and help us not get totally derailed on even the most difficult mornings.
1. PREPARE! PREPARE! PREPARE!
Do as much as you can the night before. Somehow, something that can take you 15-20 minutes in the morning takes about 5 minutes at night. I try to get my kids’ lunches prepped (fruit cut, sandwiches made, etc.) and get them ready in the fridge so that they are easy to assemble in the morning. We pick out everyone’s clothes the night before and put them in a location that makes our morning easier! Honestly, the best place for us is to put each kids’ outfit in the kitchen so they can change without having to go back upstairs. That doesn’t always happen, but man our mornings seem much easier when I remember to do that.
I also try to prepare my kids’ expectations and talk about what our morning is going to look like. My daughter is a natural planner so she likes to know what is going to happen and when. My son is pretty much just happy to be along for the ride but can get easily distracted so I have to be clear with what my expectations are. (i.e. “In the morning, I want you to come downstairs with a happy heart so we can eat eggs and toast, get our clothes on and get in the car to go to school.”
The last thing I do to prepare is take a few minutes to pick up the kitchen and living room. A good friend of mind calls it “resetting the house.” If you take the time to reset the house at night and clear the clutter, it helps you wake up with a clutter free mind, ready to tackle the day.
2. WAKE UP BEFORE YOUR KIDS!
This may sound like a no-brainer, but when your kids wake up at the crack of dawn, or if you are a super night owl like myself, you may find it difficult to do this one! When I wake up with my alarm (okay, when I remember to ask my husband to wake me up when he hears my alarm go off) and get my day started BEFORE I hear little feet running down the hall, I always feel like I have a better handle on the chaos. The first thing I do is make my bed because I watched THIS VIDEO and it changed my life. I still love it. Then I get dressed and move on to the third thing that helps our mornings run more smoothly . . .
3. DRINK A LARGE GLASS OF WATER BEFORE YOUR COFFEE!
16 ounces. It will wake you up more than if you just drink your caffeine-quenching cup o’ joe. I don’t know why, but it works. I tried to find an article supporting my theory but there’s not really super scientific evidence of this. I found an article from USA Today, but really I think my husband read it on reddit and shared this tidbit of knowledge with me . . . I tried it . . . and was mind-blown at how effective it is.
4. SET AN ALARM 10 MINUTES BEFORE YOU NEED TO LEAVE!
Seriously the last 5 minutes before you need to leave the house with kids can seem like it takes forever because someone always has to go to the bathroom or find a jacket or a shoe or their bag of rocks for their rock collection (super important things here) or . . . well, you get the idea. I have an alarm set to go off on my phone 10 minutes before we NEED to leave every day and that’s when I say “It’s time to go.” Then by the time we ACTUALLY get in the car with 3 kids we miiiiiight be on time.
I saved this one for last because it makes the BIGGEST difference in whether or not we have a “good” morning. Honestly, the same series of events can happen but if I have taken the time to quiet my heart and trust God with my day, to fill my cup with His GRACE and His Spirit, the little things like going back inside to grab someone’s rock collection or sword don’t seem to irritate me like they would if I were only focused on myself, my to-do list, and where I need to be on time. I have a hard time waking up before my kids with enough time to make my bed and get a cup of coffee, let alone to sit down and have a legit quiet time/ Bible study, I know myself and my habit of staying up late so that’s probably not going to happen in this season of life, so I like to read a quick devotion in the morning and start my day in prayer. It’s more about trusting God for HIS timing and His PLAN than checking off the “Bible study” box on my list of tasks to accomplish. THEN once the kids are napping or in preschool or having “quiet time” playing a puzzle (or watching ‘Super Why’ for the 23095468th time) I can have MY quiet time and dig a little deeper in prayer or in the Bible. Does it happen every day? No. But that’s why there is grace.
Here are some great devotionals/reading plans to get you started:
1. She Reads Truth is a worldwide community of women committed to reading the Bible together every day. You can follow along any time and there’s even a convenient app for your phone!
2. 100 Days with Jesus – this Instagram account turned book is an incredible journey through the names of Jesus. “Through prayers and insights that widen your view of Jesus’ nature and purpose, you will see Him in ways you’ve perhaps never noticed before—specific to your need, complete in His love for you.” It is written by the mom of Cory and Coby Cotton, our friends from A&M and members of Dude Perfect.
3. Everyday Holy is a book by Melanie Shankle that I LOVE! I am not reading the devotions sequentially, as I jump around from all of these different studies, but somehow whenever I read it is always applicable to my life. Each short devotional makes me want to open my Bible to explore the ways I see God’s love for me.
4. YouVersion Bible App – and if I am really short on time, I will just start my day with the verse of the day. Even by reading just one verse my heart, your heart, can be changed.
Well there you have it . . . five things that help my mornings with young kids run more smoothly. I would love to know if you try any of these or any tips that work for you!