Personally, I absolutely hate the morning time. I would do anything to be able to skip right past pulling myself and the kids out of bed, trundle past breakfast and fast forward right up to lunch without having to deal with any woeful morning catastrophes which are likely to happy.
I'm not a morning person and by that, neither are my children. My other half is up and out to work before any of us throw our legs out of bed and feel the carpet beneath our feet. So, for the morning panic and rush, I become a single parent. And I don't do well under pressure. There is many a day when the kids are thrown out of the house to school and they're wearing the same clothes as the day before and a banana and a juice box tossed into their bags for lunch. Yes, there are plenty of days when the morning routine wins and I'm left slumped over the steering wheel of my car wondering if I can do it all again tomorrow as the kids happily wave goodbye to me.
But of course, tomorrow always rolls around and I fling my legs out of bed hoping this morning will be a little easier. So I've trawled through mommy blogs and parenting websites to find some ideas on how to make the morning ritual that little bit easier or at least help me to focus my mind so that I can cope better!
15 Get Up Before The Kids
You know the routine. Your alarm is due to go off at 7:30am but the kids pound through your door at 6:45 giving you little to no time to yourself. There really is only one solution to this. Get up before the kids. Now, I personally would not be one to get up at the crack of dawn in order to have a cup of coffee in silence. I prefer to spend my time dozing in bed even if there is a five year old jumping at my feet.
One of the things all Moms and Dad's need is a little me time. Time to destress and not think about the trials that lay ahead, and all before lunch time. Getting up before the kids is a great way to focus your day, plan out menus for the day and organize schoolbags and sort out routines. Being organized, which can truly only happen when you're not being pulled this way and that way by your children, can help you focus your mind meaning your day will run a lot smoother.
And if you're like me and struggle to get up with the dawn chorus then take an extra hour in the evenings when the kids have gone to bed and the house is quiet. Adopt the same principle of getting yourself organized for the next day and everything will seem a lot easier.
14 Pamper Yourself With Essential Oils
Essential Oils should really be in every medicine cabinet in every house. They aren't called essential for nothing. "Essential oils can treat anxiety and depression due to its calming and uplifting effects. Ylang ylang helps with cheerfulness, courage, optimism and soothes fearfulness. It may calm heart agitation and nervous palpitations and is a moderately strong sedative, which can help with insomnia."
There are moments in all of our lives when we need some calm, peace and focusing through the daily routine and grind of being a parent. A few drops of lavender on your pillow at night can help soothe away those anxieties and pressures you've felt throughout the day. There is no harm at all in stocking up on some fragrant and natural oils which can only help your state of mind, focus you and help you tackle the day ahead with relaxation and positivity.
13 Make Yourself Pretty...Again
This obviously sounds incredibly anti-feminist but I don't mean glam yourself up for the world so that they can see how well you are coping with the life of being a parent. What I mean is, make yourself feel good. Whether that is putting on full makeup every morning or simply putting a bit of lip balm on to soothe your lips, it's up to you. The point is to make yourself feel good, feel happy, confident and in control.
Looking after ourselves has a positive impact on your mental health. Yes, it's incredibly easy to just stay in our pj's day after day and shower only when it's necessary, especially in those first few weeks after the baby is born. But putting some effort into your appearance will make a difference to your outlook on life. So, throw away the sweatpants and wear clothes you feel comfortable and confident in. Brush your hair and wash your face. Look after your body and your mind will follow. Of course, you have to be in a good mind frame to encourage yourself to get yourself ready in the mornings, so if you find you are struggling with this simple task, then consult your doctor and ask for help.
12 Get One Important Task Done
As busy Moms, we all have a million and one things to do. The list stuck to our refrigerators is a mile long with about 1% crossed off and more added every day. It feels overwhelming and never ending because well, let's face it, it is. The endless pressures of mom life can easily get on top of us, challenge us and possibly bring us down. It's up to us to take charge and be in control of that to do list.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was to focus on one task which was on my long list of to-dos and cross it off every morning. Whether that was to start the ironing, call the milkman to change the weekly order or look over your bank accounts. At the end of the week you will feel positive and in control of that perpetually tedious list. And if you struggle to manage completing one specific task every day, then start slowly and aim to cross off at least one from the list every second or third day.
11 Make Yourself Happy
Our happiness is our own responsibility. No one can be blamed for your moods. So, if you are happy, sad, frustrated or angry, it is down to your state of mind rather than directly related to events that have happened which you believe may have put you in that mood. If we can learn to focus our mind on the positive and not let negative situations take control of our day we can easily brush aside any anger or frustration which had the ability to take over.
It's not easy. I'll be the first to admit that, since kids can be incredibly frustrating and test your patience. But by avoiding reacting negatively to things they do we can stay in a positive frame of mind and remain happy. It's our responsibility to stay uplifted in even the harshest of situations. So, make yourself happy. Avoid reacting negatively. Remain upbeat and positive and do things that make you happy. If you feel the positivity waning, set aside time for yourself and do something that makes you happy. Whether that is closing the door of your bedroom to catch a breather or running along the beach with your kids, make sure it is something that will make you happy. Take control of your own happiness.
10 Pick Five
In any given day there are any million and one things to do which can be incredibly overwhelming. There are always essential things you need to get done. Bring the kids to school, load the dishwasher, prep dinners and so much more. It can be incredibly overwhelming when you feel like your struggling to maintain the family and the home on a daily basis. Throw working full time on top of that and it would be no surprise to see that you are faltering at the last hurdle.
One Moms tip includes choosing just five of the ordinary daily tasks to avoid the mountainous to do list getting on top of you. By choosing just five tasks you are free to spread out the workload over the week rather than haphazardly attempting everything as quickly as possible which can lead you to feeling anxious and pressurised which is the last thing any busy mom needs. So leave the ironing until tomorrow, focus on prepping meals for the week instead. Avoid changing the bedclothes and vacuum the house instead. Work off your five things list based on what is more necessary than others to have finished on a given day. Organizing your daily tasks will take the pressure of you and keep you more focused on the day ahead.
I don't know about you but I need my coffee every morning. In fact, give me a coffee at lunch time too and I'm a happy Momma. Like any struggling, tired and worn out mum out there, I need an energy boost and coffee is my go to most days. Although, in the summer time I tend to veer towards energy boosting smoothies with natural ingredients to give me that boost to get through the day. Whatever you prefer, it's a good idea to start off the day with a hit that will not only help your energy levels, even if temporarily, but also something that may help your serotonin levels which will give you a jolt in happiness. Starting off your day with positivity is simply the only way to begin. So give yourself a headstart and look after those energy levels, especially if you struggled to get a full nights sleep with night feeds or a waking toddler.
8 Calm Yourself
It is incredibly easy to let the frustrations of parenting take over. Between toddler tantrums, newborn babies crying, or stroppy teenagers, there is always an element of frustration that can leave you on the brink of shouting at your children. However, letting your frustrations take over and get the better of you helps absolutely no one. Not you and certainly not your kids. In fact, being frustrated often leads to anger which can mean your actions are misjudged and more often than not you will regret your actions.
So, your daughter won't put her shoes on after asking her for the 47th time and your son is stewing over his cereal for an hour. It would be unbelievably possible to lose your head in these situations and react unfavourably. Of course as the day wears on, your patience becomes less and less and your reactions are usually quicker and sharper. But if you can manage to calm yourself during the morning rush, despite an unbearable amount of pressures and frustrations taking over, then you are off to a good start.
7 Do Something Just For Mom
While this isn't always easy, it's incredibly important to put yourself first on occasion and to do something completely for yourself. Parenting is one of the hardest things you will ever do. It is selfless, unforgiving, tiring and comes with an incredible lack of appreciation for what you do every single day for your family.
It's very easy for us, ourselves, to even forget to look after number one. It doesn't have to be a weekend away, or even a night out with your girlfriends, although that would be amazing. It can be as simple as taking your book to the back garden with a glass of wine and relaxing without interruption for a mere half an hour. Being able to take the headspace to relax, refocus and to find yourself for that brief period of time, is essential in keeping your mental health on track. It's very easy to become consumed in the lives of your family and the pressures of the daily grind so it's important to strike a balance on finding time for yourself where you are alone without little hands constantly clawing at you and little voices constantly shouting our your name.
6 Put On A Happy Face
Believe it or not, simply smiling can change your attitude in a second. Looking on the bright side and finding the positive is a mental state of mind which needs to be worked on for it to be continually effective in your life. But by simply smiling your way out of a low mood or frustrations, you can boost your mood and hopefully start the day off with positivity and happiness.
I absolutely do not mean that you should force yourself to smile and to be happy. Find the brightness on a dark day and start your mornings off with a smile. Smile when your children do something that amazes you. Smile when you hug them and smile as you wave them off to school. Keep yourself positive and turn that frown upside down as we tell our kids!
5 Work Out
Working out, whether at home or in the luxury of a gym, is a vital element to keeping any new mom in shape, happy and confident. It's not always easy to get out of the house with a young family but that should not stop you. In fact I was in a position where a gym was out of the question so I had to forgo the fancy equipment on offer and rethink my options.
Since heading to a gym was a logistical nightmare for me, I would do as my mother did in the 1980s and work out to videos on TV guiding me through exercises for my postpartum body. And it worked. Not only did working out help my body, it also helped my mind frame. It kept me focused and refreshed. Three days a week, I still get up before anyone's alarm goes off and work on my exercise routine for twenty minutes which starts my day on a healthy and refreshed point. I love it and it's also a time when I am alone and looking after myself. A win win.
4 Pick Up Some Erotica
Reading is one of the best things you can do for your mind. Delving into the lives of fictional characters can be a form of escapism which can help the heart and mind. We all need some sort of escapism throughout our lives, especially when the hardships of our own lives creep in on top of us. The thrill and excitement of finding out what is going to happen to our favourite characters and becoming consumed by their story is both exhilarating and a relaxing way to take some time out for yourself.
Again, it's not always easy to find half an hour to read a book away from the hustle and bustle of family life. In recent years, I have taken on my sisters house rule which says, if there is an open book in her hand, then no one is allowed to talk to her until the book is closed and out of her hands. And amazingly, this rule has worked for years.
3 5 Minute Meditation
Five minutes is all you need to center yourself for the day. A five minute session of comfortable, relaxing meditation in the morning is one of the best ways to stay off your day. To make it easier, you can even do this in bed before the children get up. Sit up straight and clear your mind. Focus your breathing and meditate. This is one of my favourite ways to start the day and is something I've done since my teenage years.
Meditation can be a solo activity which means you should manage some time to yourself, even if it is just five minutes, on your own in your own space. But it may also be nice to get the children involved and teach them some good meditation practices which can benefit them later on in life.
2 Get Walking
There is nothing more refreshing and uplifting than a quick stroll, a slow stroll or a brisk walk with the pushchair. As we've said before, exercise is one of the best ways to energize your body and to start your day on a positive note. So when you have dropped the other kids off at school or worked through your five things list, grab the pushchair and the baby and take thirty minutes to walk and brush away the cobwebs.
The fresh air and exercise will benefit not only you but also your baby who will more than likely sleep better after the warm or cool circulated around her. The exercise will energize your body and set you up for the day. The endorphins will make you feel happy and positive and give you a release of energy which you'll need to get through the sometimes chaotic days of parenting.
1 Meet Other Moms
And finally, one of the best things a new mom can do as part of a morning ritual, even once a week or fortnight, is to meet other Moms. Becoming a mother can be a very lonely and isolating experience. There are a multitude of parenting groups and Moms and babies groups close by to you which always welcome new members. Meeting like minded people who understand the loneliness and the difficulties of having a newborn can be a refreshing experience where you can share your troubles and your anxieties with people who will understand and share their positive advice to help you get through each day as a new Mom.
Many Moms are introverts and may find the prospect of meeting up with a group of women who are effectively strangers, but who become friends, daunting. If that is the case then make sure you meet up with a family member or close friend on a somewhat routine basis. Avoid isolating yourself from the world since meeting other mother's and friends who have been there and understand what you are going through, can be a positive aspect to your day and help you to see that you are doing a great job as Mom.