Good morning! If you’ve been with us for Day 1, welcome back! I’m so proud of you for continuing on! If you haven’t snagged a copy yet, it’s not too late to get yours and join us! Head on over to Make Over Your Mornings to get yours now. The workbook that comes with it is invaluable – not to mention the personal videos you get to watch each day featuring Money Saving Mom‘s very own Crystal Paine. You can find Day 1’s Blog Along post here to catch up. And if you’re looking for a testimony to how wonderful this program works, you can find mine here.
Have your copy and ready to start changing your life? LET’S GO!
There are so many ways in life that we set ourselves up for failure and don’t even realize it. Just like Crystal mentioned in the video, having a sink full of dishes when you wake up in the morning can really set the tone. If you’re already feeling like you have to “catch up” to your to-do list when you get out of bed, your day starts off with a feeling of failure or frustration – and moving away from that to a good place can be very difficult to do.
Sometimes, we have to step outside of our comfort zone to really analyze the things we’re doing in our life that are creating our own stress. We also have to have the ability to set aside enough pride to admit where we are lacking in personal accountability so that we can make the changes necessary to better our lives, homes, and all-around happiness.
For instance, one of my areas sorely lacking in personal accountability was the kitchen. You know the drill. You’ve worked all day – whether that’s outside the home or in it (I know how much work it is to be a Stay At Home Mom) – you make dinner and finally get to sit down to enjoy it, and by the time you’re done eating, you’re pooped. Rinsing the dishes off almost always happened, but the actual process of loading the dishwasher and hand-washing the rest just never seemed to happen. So, the dishes would stack until I couldn’t bear it any longer, and then I’d end up spending two hours cleaning my kitchen, only to repeat the same habit over and over again. You’d think spending that much time on a regular basis just to clean the kitchen would have gotten me changing my ways. It’s funny how lazy we humans can actually be. In reality, spending just an extra 10-15 minutes a night will keep the kitchen looking wonderful and keep me from having two hour counseling sessions with my sink.
For me, Day 2’s lesson brought on the biggest life change. The differences I’ve implemented because of Day 2 have given me so much freedom and personal happiness – which directly reflected on my family’s happiness. Mom isn’t a grouch because of a million things piling on top of her = everybody’s happy.
I spent a good amount of time thinking and thinking hard over what my biggest morning stressors were, and this is what I came up with:
- Dishes/Clean Kitchen
- General pickup of the house
- Clothes to wear/Backpacks ready
- Getting kids to bed on time
- Planning my day
The dishes were a piece of cake to come up with. Plain and simple, I knew I needed to be able to wake up to a clean kitchen. I was so sick and tired of it looking like it did. And I was especially sick and tired of just how much it brought my mood down. Do I even need to mention the fact of unexpected company dropping by? YIKES! I always felt ashamed and embarrassed.
I actually ended up solving this in two stages. I first started by waiting until it was time to cook dinner to handle the dishes. Since I was right there at the stove, I could juggle the two jobs fairly easily. I would unload the dishwasher (from the night before) and load what was ready and waiting. Then, once dinner was finished, I forced myself to immediately get in the kitchen and start cleaning up. It didn’t leave much to hand-wash, but after a couple weeks of that routine, I amped it up a bit. Now, the routine is to unload the dishwasher in the morning after breakfast. I can then load the dishes from breakfast, and any hand-wash items are set aside. After lunch, I load up those bad boys, and then follow suite with the dishes from dinner. After dinner is when any hand-washing gets done, and before bed they’re dry and ready to put away. So, I do. That way I ensure I wake up to a kitchen that needs absolutely nothing done.
Another thing that drove me nuts was waking up and feeling like the house was cluttered. Mail not gone through that was scattered on the kitchen island aka the catch-all, kids’ toys throughout the house, blankets drug out and on the living room floor, etc. I don’t know what it is about little things like that, but they drive me bonkers! And just like the kitchen being a mess, seeing those things would immediately put me in a rotten mood and have me stressed and frazzled. I solved this problem by making it a part of the bed time routine for the kids and myself. It just takes 10 minutes or less, and everything is back in its place. This also makes cleaning day go so much faster because there isn’t a week worth of clutter built up to go through!
During the school season, the mornings are a mad house. This year, we have two in school for the first time, and that definitely added to the need to get things prepared the night before. As part of their bed time routine, the kids are responsible for picking out their outfit for the following day as well as making sure their bags are packed and ready to go. They set these things aside so it’s a no-brainer in the morning for them to get ready to go. I’ve also found that it’s helpful for me to set aside clothes as well. It’s not something I’ve fully incorporated for myself just yet (because it’s usually just pull out whatever t-shirt and jeans you can get your hands on, and go with it), but as I work on sewing up a capsule wardrobe, I’ll be implementing it even more.
This one was the big kicker for me. Getting the kids to bed on time doesn’t sound like something that would be a morning stressor. However, it has been something that indirectly affects my mornings. We have always strictly enforced a bedtime. We believe in the kids getting a proper amount of sleep each night. The problem was, as the older two became older, bedtime was getting harder to navigate. “He’s bothering me while I brush my teeth!” “She won’t let me in the bathroom!” “Hey, do you want to see what I can do with all this water?!” “Blah blah blah nothing’s getting done blah blah blah” Meanwhile, I was hounding them for an hour every night to leave each other alone and get ready for bed. By the time they made it to bed, I was exhausted, stressed out, and in a bad mood. And I couldn’t fully extinguish the fumes before bed, which made it impossible to get to sleep on time myself, let alone get a good night’s sleep. I decided that if I was going to implement a bed time routine for myself, they could as well. We worked out who got showers at night and who got them in the morning. I set it up so that while one is doing their things in the bathroom, the other is getting things ready in their bedroom, and then they switch. They are both responsible for picking up their rooms and items in the house before bed and getting their items set out for the following morning. And to top it off, I set an alarm on my phone every night that says “Bed Time Routine”. My husband thought I was crazy and even laughed the first few nights the alarm went off. But, it worked! Instead of me losing track of time, my phone remembers for me. And you know what? After a couple of weeks of the routine, the kids now hear the alarm (as well as my husband) and know immediately it’s time to start getting ready for bed. It’s phenomenal what a difference that one alarm has made! Plus, I don’t have to micromanage for an hour! BONUS!
Planning for my day the night before has done wonders as well! If I don’t sit down and plan what needs to happen, I run around in circles the next day. Planning in the morning doesn’t work well for me simply because I spend the night before trying to sleep when instead my brain is going over all of the things I need to remember to get done the next day. If I write it out the night before, my brain can relax. So, I set it so that as soon as the kids are in bed at 8, I sit down and plan my next day. Then, it’s relax city until I go to bed.
Speaking of bed, Crystal spoke of making sleep a priority. Guys, this is so important! We’re not worth a whole lot when we’re exhausted and half there. Getting enough sleep makes such a huge difference in how productive you will be. I know there are certain seasons of life where getting that in one fell swoop isn’t possible. Crystal did mention in the video several ideas to get those extra z’s.
I’m a night owl. Always have been and probably always will be. However, that just doesn’t tend to work with kids who don’t run on a 2nd or 3rd shift clock. We still have to get up with them whether we’ve been up all night or stayed up until 3 in the morning. I’ve been known to stay up all night enthralled in a good book. Many, many times. And I always pay for it with my exhaustion and bad moods. I’ve stayed up late at night to get work done. I’ve pulled all nighters trying to make deadlines. At the end of the day, it just doesn’t do me any favors. Making sleep a priority has actually freed up more time in my days to do those things I used to stay up late for because I’m not tired and groggy and only giving 50%, not to mention having to stop to nap. To make sure I stay on track, I also set an alarm on my phone. I like to be in bed by 10 since I get up at 6. That gives me almost 8 full hours of sleep and keeps my tank on full the next day. So, I set my phone alarm for 9:50pm. That way, no matter what show I’m watching or book I’m reading or project I’m working on, I don’t lose track of time and getting to bed when I need to. Just like with the kids’ bed time routine alarm, this alarm has been phenomenal. All it takes is a little self-control. That book will still be there tomorrow and so will that stack of papers. GO TO BED! You’ll thank me in the morning when your brain is working at full potential and your eyes aren’t bleeding.
For a good summary, here’s what my nights look like:
- 5:45-6:15: eat dinner
- 6:15-6:30: clean up dishes and kitchen
- 6:30-7:00: free time with the kids
- 7:00-8:00: kids’ bedtime routine
- 8:00-8:10: plan for next day
- 8:10-9:50: free time
- 9:50-10: get ready for bed, sleep
I’ll be back here tomorrow with my experiences and thoughts from Day Three! And don’t forget, if you still haven’t gotten your hands on a copy of the Make Over Your Mornings e-course, you can do that here.
What are your morning stressors? Are there any you’re stuck on how to combat?