I married my husband, the Italian Stallion, right before I turned 21. Within a year and a half, we had our first child. And now, 10 years later, we just had our 4th baby. In my 10 years of being a wife and mother, there are a lot of things I’ve learned. I can whip up a batch of cookies in under 10 minutes flat, I know the best way to get poop, spit up, play-doh, (and pretty much any other substance) out of carpet, I can stealthily open and consume a full bag of chocolate chips (these ones!) without anyone knowing, and I could sing you every song from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
You might think with all my motherly knowledge (ha!), I am the perfect wife and mother. Oh wow! That could not be farther from the truth! I feel like my life can get into a funk pretty easily. My house is constantly a mess, I’m forgetting appointments, I don’t remember the last time I showered, and I can’t find two matching socks to save my life. There are days when I get to 5:00 pm, and I feel like I haven’t gotten a darn thing accomplished, everyone’s grumpy, and my voice is gone from yelling so much during the day. So, I decided something had to change, and I’m so glad I made this one little change in my life, because I feel like a much better wife and mother because of it.
The one thing I changed that made me a better wife and mom is having a good morning routine. That’s it. I have found that when I am put together in the morning, my day goes so much smoother. And when my day goes smoother, I am happier, everyone else is happier, and we are a happier family. To put it simply, I am a better wife and mom when I create a better morning routine.
Here are a the things I learned I could do to make my mornings better, and in turn, change my entire day.
Wake up before the kids
My husband has to be to work pretty early, so he’s up each morning at 6 am. I am not. Well, I used to not. He would get ready in the dark, and leave me asleep in the bed with a goodbye kiss. Then I wouldn’t wake up until my kids came bounding in, asking to be fed (for some reason, they keep wanting me to feed them!). I would hardly even get out of bed before they needed to be out the door to school. So our mornings seemed to consist of me yelling at them to hurry and grab a bowl of cereal and get ready for school while I struggled to get out of bed. Poor kids. Not that they had to eat cereal for breakfast (we love cereal!), or that they had to hurry and get ready for school. But poor kids because this is how they see their mom every morning, before they leave me for the entire day at school. Before the day has even began, I’m already behind, I’m already yelling at them, they’re already feeling upset, and I’m already feeling like the day has gone down the drain.
So NOW… I wake up when my husband does (I think this alarm is genius). We get ready together. I make him lunch before he goes to work. Yes, I know, it’s very June Cleaver of me. And guess what, he loves it! I always thought he liked kissing my sleeping face goodbye. Apparently he likes my awake face better. Who knew? Then once he leaves for work, I have almost an hour to myself before the kids need to be up and going to school. I can get my day in order, and when they wake up, I’m not a grouch. I have a much better outlook when I feel like I’ve got a good start to my day. Now, let me warn you in advance, this is hard for some of us. It requires a little advance preparation. You might need to set an alarm (or 5), you’ll probably need to skip the Netflix binge at night and go to bed earlier. And if you have a baby up all night (bless your heart), you will struggle with this one. But I do the best I can to be up and going at an early hour. It has made all the difference in my life, and I promise it will make you feel better about your day too.
Keep my phone off
I’m not going to lie, I am addicted to my phone. There, I said it. Every morning, the first thing I do (or used to do), after I yelled to the kids to make their own cereal, was check my phone. I would lay in bed and check my Instagram, Facebook, email, etc. I did not get out of bed until I was sure the world of social media had not ended. Guys, what a waste of time. While my poor children were eating their sugar cereal all alone, dressing themselves, and heading out the door, I was still laying in bed, on my phone. FAIL.
Another thing my phone does to me is makes me feel behind. Before I even get out of bed, I am behind. I have a thousand emails I need to respond to, I’ve got text messages waiting for me, phone calls to make, and that’s not even mentioning how terrible I feel about my life when I log in to Pinterest. So I decided to just stop. I’m giving myself a few minutes in the morning to gain some traction before I turn on your phone and let the world in.
I used to keep my calendar on my phone, so it was my excuse for keeping it with me all the time. Now I use this paper planner from Amazon that I LOVE, and besides not having my phone in my face all day, I actually feel a lot more organized and prepared too. Another thing that has helped me feel better about keeping my phone plugged in and out of my face was pairing my cell phone to my home phone (I have this home phone set from Amazon, and it works so great!). So now when people call me, it rings to my home phone, and I don’t feel like I have to keep my cell phone in my hand all day- it’s been so nice!
I have made it a goal not to even look at my cell phone or turn on the computer or TV until after everyone is dressed, fed, and the older kids are off to school. My phone is not my number one priority. My family is my number one priority. And honestly, I only get to see their faces for a few minutes before everyone has gone their separate ways- to school and work- for the day. I don’t want them to see my face hidden behind a device. I just don’t. And since I’ve changed this, we have much smoother mornings, and I feel so much more present with my family.
I’m just going to throw this one out as simply a suggestion. Because honestly, I cannot bring myself to regularly exercise in the mornings. I know I should. And I know that when I do, I feel so much better the rest of the day. This one is a hard one for me. But I’m working on it.
Whenever I do exercise in the mornings, I feel better all day long. That’s the simple truth. When I exercise in the mornings (I love this video), I know I’ve done it for the day, I don’t have to try to squeeze it in later. And I am better at eating healthier too. Exercise is so important, and making it a part of my morning routine helps me feel better, and when I feel better, I am a better wife and mom.
I have always been that mom who shows up to pick up my kids AFTER school, still wearing my pajamas (yes, at 3:30 pm). Most days I don’t leave the house (except to take the kids to school and back), so I don’t even brush my teeth or put on a bra. Oh my poor kids and husband. How embarrassing for them, right? Yeah. This one had to change.
I had my ah-ha moment one time when I made a quick Target run in a baseball hat, old t-shirt, yoga pants (yoga pants!) and tennis shoes. Luckily I had brushed my teeth and I was wearing a bra. I was sure I would just run in quickly, grab what I needed, and be done. Of course that never happens. I saw an old friend I hadn’t seen in years. And I was mortified. She looked like a super-mom. I thought, “she must have her life together”. Simply because she was dressed, had her hair done, even had a little makeup on. Apparently that’s more than I can muster on a daily basis.
So I changed that. As part of my morning routine, I get myself ready. It’s true that most days, I’m at home doing laundry. And that’s fine. But I get dressed (bra included), do my hair (even if it’s just a ponytail), and brush my teeth. I feel so much better now. I feel like less of a slob. I don’t embarrass my kids, and imagine my husband’s delight when I actually shower once or twice a week. HA!
Straighten the house
I don’t know about you guys, but if my house is clean, all is well in the world. I honestly struggle so bad to keep my house clean. And once my house is a mess, everything else goes down the drain.
So now, as part of my morning routine, I open the blinds and let the morning sun come in the windows (it’s amazing what a little sunshine can do for the soul). Then I make my bed, and do a quick pick-up and get the house straightened. Deep cleaning can wait, but in the mornings I do quick things like start a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, and wipe the counters. If there are things on the floor from yesterday, I quickly pick them up. That’s it. I use a cleaning schedule for day to day stuff, but in the mornings, I simply get my home to the point that if someone stops by unexpectedly, I won’t feel mortified. If you are doing this daily, it is SO much easier to keep up on. I always say “It’s easier to keep up than to catch up”, and it’s so true. Having a clean house just makes everyone happier. And even though my house isn’t even close to spotless, it’s less of a pig-sty. And I feel like a better wife and mom because of it.
Make a to-do list
One thing that is sure to make me feel like I’m a bad wife or mom is when I forget something I was supposed to do or somewhere I was supposed to go. Forgetting to take your kid to a birthday party is sure to put a damper on everyone’s day. Or not realizing that you volunteered to help in your kid’s class until they text you wondering where you are… yeah, that sucks.
So I’ve started making lists (and keeping up on my calendar) as part of my morning routine. I love lists. I have a printable to-do list I use, and those cute little notepads in the Target dollar spot get me every time! I also REALLY love this to-do list pad from Amazon. So now in the morning, I make a list of things I need to get done in the day, places I need to go, etc. I even put things that are sure to be done- or not so sure to be done some days- like brush your teeth, make your bed, feed the children. It feels SO GOOD to cross something off my list. And let’s be honest, I make sure that list is highly visible when my husband gets home from work. I want the world (or at least him) to know that I got something accomplished during the day.
I also use chore charts for my kids, which they love. And I use a cleaning schedule for me, which I love. If we know in the morning what we are supposed to be doing that day, we have less surprises, less meltdowns (from the kids and me), and it seems like we get things done a lot easier.
Seriously guys, having a good morning routine is key for me to be a good wife and mom. I have implemented these things in my morning routine, and it’s made all the difference in the world. I know that not everyone can do every one of these things in their morning, but for me, as a stay at home mom, these things have worked. It’s amazing how just getting my mornings together has changed my day, and in turn, my husband and kids’ days too. So, what would you add to this list? Is there anything you do every morning that helps your day get off to a good start and helps you be a better wife and mom? Leave your tips in the comments, I’d love to hear them.
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