We all have them, these mornings that seem like a complete mess, where nothing is ready on time and our heart pounds so fast it feels like it is going to explode. But a little planning can help alleviate stressful mornings.
Sometimes I think moms and dads have a harder time coordinating school day mornings than kids do. The hustle and bustle that goes with getting the kids out the door and off to school can be a bit overwhelming. But there are ways that you can not only enjoy a more peaceful morning, you can conquer these hectic school mornings altogether!
By now you might be picturing yourself on top of your endless mounds of laundry with a cape flying behind your neck and your hands on your waist, like Superwoman who just captured her most infamous villain. No? Maybe that’s just in my head. But that’s what I think about when the word conquer crosses my mind. It’s a feeling of ultimate accomplishment. It’s a notion that I have just defeated whatever barrier was holding me back, whether that barrier be what packing in my kids’ lunches or taking my business to the next level. To conquer anything, whether monumental or minimal, is to experience a deep feeling of satisfaction.
And mamas, I’m here to show you how to conquer your Monday through Friday mornings during the school year! It’s possible, it’s totally achievable, and I can guarantee that it will make your days start (and often end) so much better.
1. Start Your Day With Gratitude
If you search up gratitude on the internet, you will find countless research about the benefits of practicing being grateful. As you look for things to be grateful for, you will, without a doubt, find them. Every morning, I get up and say at least ten things that I am grateful for. Now for me, I practice my gratitude in the form of a prayer to God because that’s who I believe in. But if you want to focus simply on being grateful, then do that.
I will say simple things like: I am grateful for my warm bed. I am grateful for the moon. I am grateful that I had one more night on this Earth with my children. I am grateful that my husband doesn’t snore. I am grateful for the pack of coyotes that were howling outside my window. It can be anything. But what that does is make you intentionally focus on all of the good that’s happening in your life instead of focusing on what might be going wrong. The world—and our minds—will always try to tell us what’s wrong. It’s up to us to change the messages that we are hearing over and over and over again.
2. Have a Little YOU Time
School mornings are often all about the kids. How many moms out there eat their breakfast in the bathroom because everyone else is fed, clothed, and ready for the day but you are still in your robe ten minutes before you need to leave for work? Anyone? This has happened to me more times than I’d like to fess up to. That’s why it’s so important to nurture YOU a little before it becomes all about them. If your jam is to read, then read a little. If you like to workout or meditate or go for a walk, then do that. For me, I like to do my devotions and journal in the morning. It helps me ground myself well before the stressors of the day even begin. But whatever that special something is for you, carve out a little time, even fifteen minutes, to do that. It feels so good to give yourself a little TLC (and peace and quiet) before the hecticness begins.
We are human beings and as humans, we need connection. It’s actually essential for our wellbeing. So connect with someone or something in the mornings. If you are married, try to connect with your spouse. Have a cup of coffee and talk about your upcoming day. If you don’t have a partner or they aren’t in for the coffee connection, then snuggle your dog or your cat or your pet bird. Giving and receiving love and attention is loaded with all sorts of health benefits and stress relievers. So find your person (or animal) and spend a few minutes with them.
4. Prep the Night Before
If you want to crush your school mornings, then prep, prep, prep. I currently make four different lunches for four different little humans who all have their personal preferences, favorite snacks, and ideal protein choices. So after dinner, in between doing dishes and bathtime, I prepare their lunches for the following day. I usually give them a little leftovers from dinner (my other suggestion is to ALWAYS cook enough for plenty of leftovers: they are a lifesaver!). I put them in their school containers so that in the morning, all I need to do is put in a little fruit, a bit of veggies, and their favorite snacks. Voila! Lunch packing for all four usually takes me less than ten minutes. I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of proud of that timetable.
5. Do Something to Wake Yourself Up
This suggestion may not be your favorite, but I promise it works and it is super healthy for you. One of the best ways to conquer your school mornings is to do something that jumpstarts your body. This will wake you up, get your blood pumping, and give you more energy than any cup of joe you could consume before 8 a.m. Again, this could be a quick workout, a brisk walk, or my personal favorite, a cold shower. I can hear your teeth chattering now. No really, turning the dial to C gives your system a little shock, queuing your body to know that it needs to kick it into gear, which is exactly what you need to do in order to conquer your day! I recently bought a cold plunge and go in nearly every single morning. Sitting in 50-degree water for 2 minutes gives me the energy and stamina for the entire day, without needing a sip of coffee.
6. Get Up Early
You might be wondering how in the world you can achieve all of these suggestions before leaving the house in the morning. Well ladies, I’m going to interrupt your beauty sleep. Actually, I am going to enhance it. Did you know that stress can make you age more than a little less sleep can? Stress, especially continual stress, can wreak havoc on our bodies, our minds, and yes, our beauty. But getting up a little earlier so that you give adequate time for your morning routine is proven to be good for all facets of your being.
Now, if you are wondering how early you should be getting up, I recommend at least 2 and half hours before you need to leave for school. That will give you enough time to experience and enjoy all of the steps you will need to take in order to conquer your day. Personally, I get up at 5 a.m., because I need to get out the door and pull out of my driveway each morning by 7:40 a.m. I’d actually like another 15 to 30 minutes, but I’m not quite ready to wake up at 4 a.m. (yet!). But the more I practice these early morning steps, the more I want to incorporate. Nurturing yourself in the wee hours of early morning easily becomes a habit that after a little time, your body and your mind crave. And crave more.
Now I do want to emphasize that getting into the habit of getting up early means that it would not be wise to continue being a night owl. It is still important to get at least six to seven hours of sleep, so as you start to wake up earlier, try going to bed at a time that still allows for an adequate night’s sleep.
School mornings don’t have to be the stressful, angst-laden experience that they often are. With proper time management and early morning intentional routines, we can conquer the present while preparing the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.