Here’s a story from my book, Unfussy Mom…
I asked my 3-year old to put her boots on at least half a dozen times. I was trying to get the kids dressed, fed, and out the door to school while simultaneously getting myself fed, dressed and off to work. The clock was ticking.
After waiting 20 minutes, and still no boots–I blew up.
I yelled, chucked her boots across the room, stormed out, and told her I'd be waiting in the car.
By the time I got to the car I felt like a huge jerk. I took a deep breath, stared up at the sky like I was asking for strength to just get through the rest of the morning.
When I came back inside after taking a chill-pill, my 6-year old son was helping her; calm, patient, and kind. All the things I wish I was. I felt like the worst human ever, then I stopped beating myself up–he must have learned that somewhere. Hopefully, it was from me.
I continued on to drop them off at school, and head to work. During my train ride, I wrote them both an apology letter.
Fast forward to dinner that night.
I wrote an apology letter to each kid just before dinner. Then I told my 6-year old how proud I was of him—he handled himself like a grown-up—a nice one.
“Where’d you learn that?” I asked.
“My teacher,” He replied.
“Oh, you mean I’m not calm and quiet?” I prodded.
“No mommy, you yell.”
“But not all the time right?” Really searching for some validation that I’m not a total failure.
I wish I could tell you I didn’t have another episode like this, or that it was an isolated incident. I’d be lying through my wine-stained teeth.
I learned a hard lesson as I sat there squeezed into my pencil skirt.
Why am I rushing out the door and screaming at the kids just to go to a meeting? The world isn’t going to end if I’m a few minutes late – or even if I missed a meeting.
Priorities, that’s why. And mine were messed up.
Now, I’m learning to slow down. If the kids need an extra hug before they feel good enough to go off to school for the day, I’m going to give it to them. Then I’m going to go to work, and do it well.
The morning rush
How many days are you running around with your head cut off just trying to get out the door, wearing pants, making sure everyone else is wearing (clean-ish) pants, is fed and has all the signed school forms ready to go in their backpacks?
You work five days a week, sooo … five days a week, right?
You have to get out the door anyway, so you may as well make it easy on yourself, right?
Here are 6 ways to make getting out the door in the morning fun:
- Reset your expectations
If your goal is to just make every morning feel easy and fun, keep this goal in mind as you move through the morning.
- Get your butt out of bed earlier
Sorry, not sorry – you knew I was going to say this right? If part of the reason you can’t get out the door without screaming and yelling and running around like a sweaty psycho, maybe getting up earlier will help.
- Do it all at night
Doing as much as you can at night will make the morning so much easier. Make lunches, pack bags, but them by the door, or heck—put them in the car! Having cereal? Pour it the night before? Smoothie? Make it the night before. Shower at night, and lay everything out for the next morning, including have your kids pick their clothes out. Heck, if having the kids sleep in their next-day clothes—by all means, go for it! You can even go as far as putting the toothpaste on your brush at night.
- No electronics
This means TV, video games, or email. I’m totally guilty of asking my kids to dress 10 times while they’re staring at the television. Mornings started going much more smoothly when we instituted a no TV or games rule in the morning. Instead, they focus on eating breakfast and getting ready. If they have spare time, they start coloring or drawing.
The no email rule is for you. Stay present and you’ll be in tune with what’s happening and not start mentally doing all your work and running your to-do list in your head before you even leave the house.
- Dance it out
When I started playing music in the morning I noticed a shift in everyone’s moods. Try a happy playlist like this. Play it softly as background music to set the tone for the day.
- Mimosa anyone?
I’m not telling you to start day-drinking or show up to the office with a buzz. It’s more of a “mimosa-mindset.” By all means, have some champagne if you like, or, drink your OJ in a champagne flute, green juice in a wine glass. Put your toast on a nice plate, sit down, eat it, and (gasp) talk to your family.