Good news, ladies. I am pretty sure I have found the ultimate mom life-hack. It magically provides a peaceful shower (taken alone), a moment to sip (hot) coffee in the morning and allows time to collect thoughts and prepare for the day.
Now here’s the bad news: it requires getting up an hour before your kids wake.
I know what you are thinking, “that sounds awful, I need rest!” Or “how is it humanly possible to get up any earlier?!?”
Seriously, I am not into self-torture nor am I a martyr, nor the woman striving to be the perfect June Cleaver having a hot breakfast on the table so my children slowly wake to the smell of sizzling bacon. I am simply a girl who wants, no NEEDS, a few moments alone in the morning. These moments allow me to be a better mom. A mom who is less rushed and frantic, is softer and less grumpy.
Is it hard? Hell yes. Do I wish for 10 more minutes and long to stay under the covers? Every. Single. Morning. Yes! Does it happen everyday? No. But when I can manage it, I am here to tell you it will save your day. Listen to my reasoning. All of my OCD is about to hang out here, so hold on tight.
The arrival of our second son sent us (myself especially) into a little bit of a panic. Trying to wake, dress and feed a toddler and newborn was hard, really hard. I would often find myself still in pajamas at lunchtime because there was not one second of the morning available to shower or get dressed. Hours later, once both kids were in bed for the night, I would still be left with laundry, picking up toys and showering! It was beyond exhausting.
When we finally wrangled our infant son into a somewhat regular schedule, I was under the delusion the mornings would be significantly easier because we were all finally receiving much-needed sleep. It was, however, quite the contrary. Yes, we were rested, but it didn’t solve the problem of getting zero done during the day while trying to parent two children. Not to mention, I was completely neglecting myself. If I was able to manage a shower, it usually took much longer than it should. Between trying to blow dry my hair while holding a baby and feeding a toddler breakfast, getting properly dressed had to fall by the wayside. And by properly dressed, I mean wearing anything other than two-day-old pajamas. The long process would cause us to be frantic on the days I had to rush to work and do preschool drop off. On the weekends, it would delay getting out of the house to do something, dare I say, fun! I felt neglected. My kids felt neglected. I needed a new approach.
So it began. One morning I set my alarm for an hour before the roundabout time my children wake. The moment I heard the buzzing, I immediately regretted the decision but drug my tired butt out of bed, anyway. In this uninterrupted hour, I was able to shower, put on makeup, fix my hair, and get dressed. I then drank my coffee hot for the first time in months, prepared breakfast for myself and sons, started a load of laundry, picked up any miscellaneous leftover toys and shoes from the night before lingering on the living room floor, and made the bed.
Holy guacamole! I was dressed and ready for work. I was not in a frantic, make-up melting state trying to round up everything for the day. I felt prepared and relaxed. I wasn’t sure who I had become, but I liked it!
The realization hit me there is no person more productive than a mom with an hour of uninterrupted, kid-free time! What was even better is my kids awoke to a relaxed mom. If we needed to get out the door quickly for preschool drop-off, it was no problem! If we wanted to head out for a fun adventure, we were out the door in five minutes compared to two hours. My morning “chores” were completed by 7 a.m., including the breakfast dishes. I felt organized; my house no longer felt like we were living in squalor and mornings were easier. LIFE. CHANGING.
This new found organizational glory then started to bleed in to other areas of the day. AM and PM “to-do lists” are now daily phone reminders. On the mornings I have my free time, I do all things possible to have the house and myself ready for the day. I dress for the day’s events, make the beds and unload the dishwasher. In the evenings, I remind myself to pick up the house, lay out clothes for everyone, run the dishwasher, and fold any remaining laundry.
You know what all of this leaves for me to do during the day? Be present with my kids. Sure, there are still lots of other things moms have to accomplish throughout the day, but having a leg up on the to-do list makes it feel achievable rather than overwhelming.
Go ahead, and set that alarm! You will only regret it every single morning you hear the buzzing, but trust me it’s worth it!