By Gen Cohen
There's no denying that family mornings are hectic. Parents and kids need to eat breakfast, get dressed, gather belongings… there are lots of moving parts, and an ill-fitting sock, a missing glove, or spilled orange juice can derail the schedule in an instant. But busy mornings don't have to be stressful, and there are ways to find moments of bliss within the chaos. Here are a few methods that work for my (mostly functional) family of four.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO
Wake Up Early. I set my alarm for 20 minutes before my youngest child usually yells, "Mama!" What do I do in this time? I stretch, freshen up, pull on a robe, and page through the newspaper or listen to morning news radio for a few minutes — by myself. That alone time is the perfect way to create a calm front to meet the whirlwind of energy that my kids create when they literally jump out of bed. Not a morning person? Try 10 minutes early at first and I'll bet you'll find this change helps you feel more rested overall. Bonus: This practice gives me a jump on the day when I sit down to my desk, too. No need to scroll through headlines, I've already had my morning news fix, so I can get right to work. That means the whole day is more productive.
Cue the Music. When my children bound down the stairs with requests for everything from clean shirts to buttermilk pancakes (not likely on a weekday, kid!), I put on some music. As a family, we created a "Morning Mix," which includes a little Beach Boys, a few Adele songs, and yes, one favorite Alvin and the Chipmunks number. The music creates a sense of ease that helps the morning flow, plus it's a mood booster that lifts their—and my—spirits well into the afternoon hours.
Savor a Taste. As the rush to brush teeth and put on shoes and tie ponytails swirls around me, I keep my sanity by focusing on the steaming cup of coffee I'll pick up after school drop-off. Each warm, rich sip reminds me to take things slow and steady as I begin the part of the day that is my own.
Bag the Accessories. Winter comes with… stuff. We stay organized by keeping child hats, gloves, and scarves in a bag in the entry closet. When the kids come home, they know the accessories go right into the bag. As we head out the door, the bag gets dumped and everyone grabs their respective items. It's messy but it works, which is pretty much our family motto.