Top tips for a smooth morning…or not…

You’ll all be pleased to know that my morning routine is now back in action.  If you recall,  daylight savings reeked havoc with my usual peaceful morning routine and it was driving me mad…literally (you can read about it here)

But thankfully, things have fallen back into place.

So I thought you might be wondering what my average morning routine looks like?  What tips and tricks you can perhaps learn from my experience?  So here it is,  in all it’s glory..,

6AM – Alarm goes off.  My husband begrudgingly drags himself out of bed,  curses that he has to go to work so early and promptly leaves the house.  I am sure that he imagines the rest of the household blissfully sleeping until 8am,  laughing over breakfast and then strolling (no…skipping..) to school.   But this is what really happens..

6.02AM  – Get out of bed.  Put exercise gear on.  Tip toe through the house with lights off, in vane effort to avoid waking the sleeping lions (if they are not already awake after elephant husband has stomped out of the house).   Trip over toys on the floor.  Nearly fall down stairs.

6.15AM – EXERCISE.  Can’t leave the house since said husband has already left.  Half heartedly start rowing, or put a DVD on.

6.30AM – The lions are awake. And they are circling.  “I’m hungry”, “When are you finished” “Can I have a go”.  I have learnt to block them out.

6.45AM – head upstairs.  Make daughter breakfast.  Decide son is old enough to make his old breakfast, tell him so.  Turn around to find him loading half a jar of Golden Syrup onto a burrito wrap.  “err…do you think perhaps some fruit and vegetable matter to balance out that sugar dear? ”  “Yes Mum, look, I have a bowl of Frozen peas”.  Okey dokey then.

7.00AM  Making lunch.  everything I put in, my daughter is taking out.  Time to get dressed.  Get son into the shower, he resists like it is the worst possible suggestion (like he doesn’t have one every morning) I just push him in.  2min later I’m trying to get him out…he is resisting like the shower was always his favourite thing in the world.  I turn the hot tap off.  Where are the clothes?  It is about this point I wish that my evening routine includes getting everything ready for the next day.  I know this is what wise and organised people do, but at the end of the day it is last thing I feel like doing. Now I am annoyed at myself as I frantically pull the house apart trying to find shoes, hats and other school required accessories.   Brush daughters hair and she screams like a banshee being stabbed to death.

7.30AM Trying to wrangle kids who have decided to play a game which involves taking blankets off the bed and trying to slide down the stairs.   At this point I’m questioning my decision not to have TV in the mornings.  We used to have TV, then we had no TV until “dispatch ready”…e.g clothed, fed, packed and ready to go as soon as i say “dispatch”..   I’m open to anything that works.  Right now,  we are on a “no tv in the morning” phase, due to the hell that was created last week when one was “dispatch ready” and the other wasn’t…don’t make me re-live the torture

8AM.  I’ve decided to ignore them.  I’m in the shower.  Bliss.  For 1min before they find me.  My daughter is complaining that her hair hurts.  My son is asking if he can play computer games (err…no…the same rule which applies  EVERY MORNING!).   If I shut my eyes I can block them out.

8.02AM  Open my eyes.   Kids have got the nail polish out and are painting each others nails (aka fingers).  I catch myself before I scream “what the? are you doing” at the top of my lungs.  “It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter”  it’s my new mindful mantra…are they even allowed to go to school with nailpolish?  I don’t think so but I don’t have time to care.   “Do you have any boy colours mum? like blue”   “there are no boy and girl colours dear,  you can choose pink”  …no gender bias in this house…kapow…I’m on fire.

8,20AM  Straddling the children on the floor, trying to blow dry my hair.  “Can you blow dry our nails?”.

8.25AM  $*&% just realised the time.  5min to get to the school bus.  Hit panic buttons…start clapping loudly and yelling “lets go lets go” .  everyone ignoring me   “where are you hats, where are your shoes?  Why are you not ready…you were ready before” .  I used to have a bell for this time of the day.  I walked around the house ringing it without saying anything.  It was quite effective.   Where is that bell?

8.30AM  Finally left the house.  Walking down driveway  “it’s library day today, do we have my book?”  “I need to do a poo”.   RUN back in the house.  Search frantically for the book.   wait for toilet completion.

8.35AM  Running down hill to the corner.   Sorry sorry…we are here.   Big Kisses.  Have a great day.

9.00AM  Sitting in my peaceful study with a cup of tea…ready to start my “real” work.

AND that my friends is how it is done. Learn from the master.


Daylights savings…I don’t like you very much right now…

Why, oh why, do we have daylight savings?

As parents, we all dread the shifting of the clocks…just as we have our children in lovely bedtime and morning routines,  we have to shift it around again and hope they don’t notice.  I’ve heard the advice that you should start shifting the clock 10min’s at a time for 6 days before then the transition will be easier but I always forget to do this.   Although admittedly, typically, it hasn’t been a huge issue in our house (which I smugly attribute to our sometimes anally retentive bedtime routines…which I totally know deep down is not the case but I’m going take it anyway).

However…not this time.  And you know why.  This time, it’s not only the kids that have been affected…it’s me.

You see, morning time had become my happy place.   As my kids get older, they have started to sleep a little bit longer.  I was starting to be able to rely on the fact that they wouldn’t wake up until at least 7am (Amazing, I know!!).  So I started setting my alarm at 6am.   This morning time is MY time and I love this time.   Usually I try to do some exercise,  I can’t leave the house as my husband is typically already heading off to work,  but I can test my co-ordination with some aerobics DVD downstairs,  or use the rowing machine, or do some lame weights.  I never feel like doing it at first, but I always feel awesome afterwards.  If I’m lucky I’ll squeeze in a cup of tea, and start to think about the priorities of the day.

I hadn’t realised how much it was helping me to stay less stressed during the day,  until I lost it.

My kids have been getting up consistently at 6am since the time change.   Today, my son got up at 5.20am.  UNACCEPTABLE.   Their usual morning routine begins with “I’m hungry”,  “can I watch TV”, “what are we doing today?”, “I don’t want to go to school”, “I don’t want to go to school  holiday program” or some variation there of.

Bloody day light savings.

Initially, I tried to push through….I would not be deterred… and on the first day of early morning family rising,  I pursued my own morning routine.   I started in the usual fashion with some exercise downstairs.  My son decided to follow me and lie on the couch right next to me, so that he could continue whinging directly into my ear.  Not to be out done, my daughter grabbed her drawing (great, she’s keeping herself amused), and proceeded to lie down directly in front of where I was stepping, and then spread her coloured pencils out under my feet.   No…stay calm Claire…you can do this, you can reclaim your morning…just zone them out.

But it didn’t work,  I wanted to throw something across the room (maybe one of the children).

The next morning was worse.   They decided to start fighting with each other and I couldn’t concentrate above the blood curdling screams I could hear from above,  which left me running to the rescue to discover my daughter languishing on the floor, rolling, screaming because my son had dared to “touch” the side of her plate.

My morning ritual has been shattered.

I forgot what it was like to start your day with someone elses demands instead of your own.  So I’ve given up.  Stopped exercising in the morning. Started just getting straight into the usual morning routine, making lunches, cleaning up the kitchen.  I intend to do some exercise later in the day but later never comes.  And I’m pretty amazed at how much that has seeped into everything else I’m doing.  I’m stressed. I’m walking around with a perpetual sinking feeling in my stomach.  I’m over it.  I’m flat like a pancake (sadly I don’t look like one).  I’m eating like a horse.  I can’t be bothered doing anything in the evening other than smashing some TV (Netflix…oh how I love thee).

And then today I was reading this blog,  about productivity (great tips by the way) and I connected the dots between the loss of my morning ritual and the collapse of my entire world.

It also reminded me that one of the keys to finding balance, is to constantly be re-evaluated and reviewing your system.  Sure, I get that you have to have a system…but the key, especially when you have kids, is that you have to be flexible enough to change it when things change around you.

OK…so, I’ve identified the problem, which now means I can find a solution.  Yah!  But does that mean I have to get up even earlier!?!?   Reclaim my morning at 5am (ouch),  or do I try to get the kids to bed later (oh no, my TV time)?   Do I tell the kids that mornings are Mummy time,  and they are allowed to watch TV until I am ready (they are old enough to respect that…right?!).

Anyone got any ideas?