The BadAssMama's Guide to Stress-Free Mornings

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OK, so MAYBE the title is a bit of an over-promise. But, if you follow a few of my handy dandy tips, you can find yourself making it through back-to-school mornings with less yelling, less hair-pulling and even a little more Zen…

·      Skip the shower No, I don’t mean roll up to drop off covered in peanut butter and boogers. But I do mean drop the MORNING shower from your routine. End each day with a relaxing soak in the tub, or even a more utilitarian shower. In the morning, brush your teeth, wash your face and start chasing down the kids. This can easily knock 20 minutes or more off of your morning routine.

·      Work the night shift I make it a rule to leave as little as possible to be done each morning. Before you hit the sack, make sure that the morning supply chain is ready to go. Make sure that backpacks are stocked with homework, gym clothes, permission slips and anything else you might be frantically searching for 10 seconds before the bus comes. If your kids are old enough, make this part of their chores as well! Pack lunches the night before, so you don’t accidentally send your kid to school with your coffee mug and open their sandwich on your commute in…

·      Become a personal stylist I love the spontaneity of picking the perfect wardrobe and accessories first thing in the morning, don’t you? Not so much. If you want to make it out the door with matching socks and a portion of your sanity intact, lay out clothing choices – including shoes, jewelry, baseball hats, whatever – the night before. I like to lay out 2 days of clothes and 2 sets of PJ’s for my kids each night before bedtime. I hang my outfit of choice in the closet, place my work shoes in my bag and keep my commute flats right by the front door for easy access.

·      Be the routine Nothing throws off the morning schedule like lost car keys, dead cell batteries or a misplaced tote bag. Store your most-used items in the same, convenient location each day. I store my work bag and car keys right on the couch in our living room for easy access, keep a box with hats, scarves and gloves by the front door in the winter and swap out for a box with baseball hats and sunscreen in the warmer months. Hang coats on hooks that are easily accessible for the little guys for self-service

·      Streamline the gravy train Kids love choices, especially when it comes to food. But – ask an open ended question like “What do you want for breakfast” and before you know it, you’ve become a short-order cook. Who has time to make French toast on a Monday morning? The key is to give your kids (especially the little ones) 2 choices that YOU can live with. Would you like waffles OR cereal? A banana or grapes? Strawberry or vanilla yogurt? This way, they have their say while you still make the morning train.


This post from my archives is being re-run as part of BlogHer's Smart Mom's Guide to Being Busy editorial series, brought to you by Rice Krispies and BlogHer.

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