My head spun around backwards and my eyes glowed red. The sound started as a deep growl, low in my throat and grew into a roar as I shouted, “Get in the car … NOW!” No, it wasn’t a scene from a horror movie. I was having one of those mornings. Perhaps you know the kind.
You forget to set an alarm. No one has clean clothes to wear. The only breakfast your child gets is the granola bar you throw at her head as you pass in the hall. Everyone is whining. The dog is barking. If you hear the phrase, “Mom, where’s my … anything?” one more time, someone is going to die.
Okay, perhaps I’m being a bit melodramatic. But, my poor kids put up with one crazy mama way too many mornings until I learned the magic secret. Lean in and listen closely, because I’m going to share it with you, too.
Peaceful mornings begin the night before.
Yes, I said it — the night before. By establishing a simple evening routine and following it, I’ve spared myself and my children a lot of yelling and crying.
Following is our basic routine. Some days, it begins as soon as my kids get home from school.
Do homework early.
Every time I allow my daughters to put off doing homework, I regret it. Inevitably, one of the girls will have a project that takes longer than they thought or a hidden paper they forgot to complete. And, before you know it, we’re up until 10:00 pm providing way more help than we should.
Clean up dinner dishes right away.
Mornings are already hectic enough without having to deal with last night’s crusty pots and pans. I load and start the dishwasher before going to bed and quickly wipe down the sink and counter tops. Walking in to a reasonably clean kitchen in the morning is a great feeling.
Check the calendar.
If you’ve forgotten anything, this is the time to figure it out. It’s much easier to run to the store for birthday treats at 7:00 pm than 7:00 am. Yes, I could get up a few minutes earlier the following day and hope my drill sergeant attitude will hurry my children along. But, somehow that never seems to work.
Lay out everything you need for the next day.
For some reason, I am absolutely incapable of making decisions about what to wear in the morning. So, I lay out my clothes the night before. I also make sure my kids have chosen their outfits. Before going to bed, we put backpacks by the door, locate car keys, and plug in all cell phones and other electronic devices.
Go to bed on time.
Children need a good night’s sleep. So do their parents. As much as I’d like to stay up until the wee hours reading, watching a movie, or browsing Pinterest, it doesn’t serve my family very well. And, you know how the old saying goes … when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!
I can’t claim that our mornings are always sunshine and rainbows. However, when we follow this simple evening routine, it sets the tone for the next day. And, that tone sounds a lot less like something from “The Exorcist” than it used to!
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