5 Tips for Having a Better Weekday Morning (When All You Want To Do Is Pull the Covers Over Your Head and Suffocate in Coziness)
Let’s get real for a second here: mornings suck.
Not only am I not much of a morning person, but neither is anyone in my household, which makes mornings feel so much harder. What am I to do when I have a husband who stays cocooned in bed until the last possible second, a toddler with no sense of urgency, and I am left feeling at my wit’s end, rushing everyone out the door while trying to keep some semblance of sanity?
In an attempt to beat the weekday morning blues, here are 5 tips that we have implemented in our household that have truly helped us get out the door without killing each other first!
1. Figure Out Your Morning Non-Negotiables and Streamline Your Routine
Taking some time to sit down and actually think about your morning routine is the most important step in designing a strategy that will work best for you and your family, and this approach is two-fold.
First, ask yourself what your “morning non-negotiables” are: the rituals or actions that you absolutely MUST complete before you leave in the morning in order to feel like a fully-functioning human being. For some, this could be a fresh brewed cup of coffee or an energizing jog. My morning non-negotiables are pretty basic: brush my teeth, have presentable hair and makeup and some kind of beverage and snack to bring to work with me. BOOM! I am ready to take on the day!
After you have decided on what your non-negotiables are, you need to figure out a way to budget enough time in your mornings to accomplish these goals. Mentally go over your morning routine with a fine-toothed comb and ask yourself a few simple questions: What can I streamline? What can I do in advance? What can I cut out altogether? For example, I used to be a firm believer in the invigorating powers of a morning shower BUT this process takes forever! The fix? Showering the night before. I bought some inexpensive dry shampoo and am currently enjoying the extra 40 minutes I get in bed every morning. And an added bonus: after a stressful day in a germ-filled school, nothing feels more relaxing or disinfecting than a long, hot shower!
Mornings go by fast, so treat whatever time you have as precious. It is important to make time for your non-negotiables because they help to keep you sane and feeling your best. Once you have decided what these non-negotiables are, it makes it much easier to streamline your routine by ditching everything else! Once you have a solid plan in place, you are ready to find ways to put it into action!
2. An Oldie But Goody: Prep in Advance
Yes, I know this is a little bit “productivity 101” and will guaranteed make you feel like your Mom, but it is the stuff of morning heaven. There is so much that can be comfortably prepared in advance, so why stress yourself out by jam-packing even more things into your morning?
For me, the biggest favour I can do for myself in the morning is to meal prep in advance. Surprisingly, meal planning is almost “having a moment” right now and has been dominating my Pinterest and Instagram feeds. However, you don’t have to craft detailed spreadsheets or cook batch mini-quiches for the entire week. For me, I am happy to do the bare minimum: having some fruit and a healthy snack easily accessible and ready to go in the morning (lest I will be tempted to devour leftover Halloween candy). I try to pick fruits and snacks that require little to no prep (think apples, bananas, granola bars) because I know that I am not going to want to dice a pineapple, either in the morning or in advance, no matter how much I promise myself that I will.
Another “in advance” game changer for me has been laying out my work outfits the night before. If I am really in the groove, I will put together a whole week’s worth of outfits in advance. This has really saved me the panic of stumbling around blindly in the morning and coming across articles of clothing that need ironing or mending (Bonus tip: have a basket for clothing that needs to be specially cleaned or mended. My old method was just to throw said clothing back into the closet in hopes I would deal with it later. Spoiler alert: did not happen).
Finally, get your kids involved in preparing the night before too! My little girl, a notorious diva and fashionista, delights in picking out her own clothes and will labour over the decision. Can you just imagine the turmoil this has caused in the wee hours of the morning, when tensions are already high and the time we have to look through every one of her accessories to find the perfect one is limited? We have made it a part of our bedtime routine to have Indy pick out her ensemble for the next day, which has not only saved us time in the morning, but has cut down on fashion-related arguments considerably.
Taking the time out of your evening to prepare for the next day might not be the most exciting thing to do with your night, but trust me – morning-you will be oh so happy you did!
3. Wake Up Earlier Than You Have To
I hate to say it, but your Mom was right: add this one to your list of non-negotiables.
I am not going to tell you to wake up early for the more touchy-feely reasons, such as more time to yourself to mentally prepare, get zen or whatever, but for the pure sensibility of it.
I used to plan every aspect of my mornings down to the last second to maximize the amount of time I would get to laze around in bed, but no matter what, inevitably SOMETHING WOULD GO WRONG. Hair dryers would spontaneously combust. Children would have inconsolable meltdowns over being given the *wrong* spoon to eat their cereal with. Occasional teachers would get stuck behind a gravel truck on the first snowfall of the year for the majority of their one and a half hour commute to work.
This is the one area of your life that it is okay, nay downright practical, to be pessimistic. Bet money on the fact that YOU WILL NEED MORE TIME!!!
4. Communicate Your Plan With Other Members of Your Household
Tough love: your days of being the long-suffering mama-martyr are over. Everyone can chip in to the success of the morning.
This step has admittedly been one of the hardest for me. I am a person who needs control, and I hate feeling my grip on things slip away when I entrust someone else to do what I feel is my job. I have come to realize, however, that a household works best when everyone is working together and doing their part to contribute to the success of the family.
As hard as it has been, I have learned to delegate when necessary. After I had made my list of what to streamline, cut or move to the night before, I was also able to pinpoint areas where I could take tasks off of my plate and give them to other members of the family. Hint: it is not just your spouse that you should be delegating to, but your children as well! We moved all of Indy’s plates, cups and cutlery to a drawer that is easily accessible for her. She knows now that in the mornings, it is her job to set her own place setting while I feed our dog and get the coffee started. It may seem like such a small task, and was one that I thought would be a whole lot easier just to do myself. However, it has made a huge difference not only by being more time-efficient, but by relieving some of the stress from my morning. I no longer feel like I have too many items on my morning to-do list!
Just remember to make delegating a conversation! Trust me, your spouse and kids will be much more on board with your brilliant scheme if you make them feel like they have a say. And who knows — they might even have some pretty good ideas too!
5. Don’t Put Yourself Last
When do you feel your best? When you haven’t had time to curl your eyelashes or tame your frizz with some hairspray? When you hastily change from your jammies to your go-to sweatpants and hope you beat the rush at the nearest Tim Horton’s drive through? When you feel rushed, underappreciated and exhausted before you have even left your house?
Like it or not (and this is going to sound incredibly pompous), but the success of my family’s morning depends a lot on me. If I am not looking and feeling my best, I am not just doing a disservice to myself (which I truly am) but my family as well! For so long, it felt like enough to sacrifice my appearance, the quality of the meals that I was preparing for myself, and my sanity in order for my family to be eating nutritiously, looking baller and being relaxed — but were they?
When I was not feeling my best, I certainly wasn’t acting my best either. I was my worst nagging self: constantly rushing my family through their breakfasts to get out the door, being snippy when asked a question or asked to do something, and just generally a major morning grump. And it didn’t make me feel any better acting this way. Watching my husband and daughter deal with my mood made me feel even worse about myself, especially my value as a wife and mother.
At the end of the day, does wearing mascara make me a better wife or mother or employee? The short answer is no. But for me, it is the difference between feeling like a slob and feeling like I can take on anything that life throws my way. Therefore, it is worth getting up early and putting aside the time in my hectic morning to include this non-negotiable into my routine.
So there you have it folks! Five simple tips that I hope will be a major game-changer in your morning routine! I would love to know: What are your morning “non-negotiables”? What is your best “morning hack”? Morning shower vs. evening shower? Comment down below!