Striving for Better Mornings

Last night I offered up some encouragement and ideas for ways that single parent families can make evenings more relaxing. While I was writing, I also mentioned that mornings can be an incredibly rough and stressful time—we are trying to get everyone up, fed, and out the door and for many of our families, this can be one of the toughest times of the day when it comes to organization. I thought we could brainstorm some ideas to make mornings go more smoothly in a single parent household too…

Many of us have already figured out that if we get up earlier than the kids in the household, we get a jump start. For years, I have set my alarm to get up at least a half-hour and usually a full hour before the first child is due up. I also get in the shower very first thing so that is out of the way. That gives me a little time to set the house in order, take care of the pets, start a load of laundry, make my bed and get dressed before anyone else is even up. It is amazing how calm and organized I can feel with just a half-hour head start on everyone else.

Another trick is to do what you can the night before: making lunches, organizing homework and paperwork, choosing clothes (I confess I never do this, but for many people this is a lifesaver), and having children take showers and baths so that they don’t need to in the morning. This worked well when my kids were younger but when they became teenagers, they all wanted the morning shower so we worked out a stagger on when people get up and get in the shower—someone will have breakfast while one is showering, and then they will switch.

I also think it can be helpful to take advantage of individual family members’ optimal time of day—if you have some “morning people” in your family, take advantage of that and put them in charge of making breakfast or feeding the pets. Instead of trying to force those who have a hard time in the mornings to “keep up”—maybe you can make accommodations and they can do an extra chore or task in the evenings. Overall, look for ways to minimize what has to be done in the morning and come up with a comfortable pace. If this means getting up earlier or some more organization, it may be well worth it for a better morning routine.