11 Secrets to a Successful Morning Routine for Working Moms

11 Secrets to a Successful Morning Routine for Working Moms

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Mornings with kids are stressful. Trying to get everyone fed, clothed, and out the door on time can be a daunting task. Add in making yourself presentable and getting to work on time, and you’ve created a perfect storm for high-stress, frantic mornings.

A successful morning routine not only gets you out the door on time, it starts the day on the right foot. The goal is less chaos, more calm, so everybody leaves the house ready to tackle the day.

A few weeks ago, I shared nine things you need to do at night for a stress-free morning. Setting yourself up for success the night before is truly the key to a successful morning. That said, there are certain things you can do in the morning that will have a big impact on how you start your day.

The tips I’ve shared below will help your mornings run smoother, and restore the positivity to your morning routine. As always, not all tips will work for everyone, but I hope you’re able to come away with a few new ideas to create a morning routine that works for you.

Morning Routine Secret #1: Wake Up Before the Kids

You knew this one was coming.

I KNOW how hard this can be, especially if you’ve had a night of interrupted sleep. If you’re still in the up-every-three-hours-with-a-baby stage, feel free to skip this step – I know how precious every minute of sleep is.

But once you’re out of survival mode, this is the single most effective way to start your day off on the right foot. Instead of starting your day in triage mode responding to somebody else’s needs, you get to choose how to start your day.

Some people will tell you to wake up way before your kids (we’re talking an hour+), so you can savour the silence to drink coffee in peace, workout, blow dry your hair, etc. As amazing as it sounds to have an hour to myself, I know it’s not realistic for me on a normal weekday – I like my sleep too much! Since I can’t do it, I’m not going to suggest that you do either – although kudos to you if you can!

Instead, set a realistic goal. Wake up 15 minutes before your kids’ normal wake up time, or 30 minutes if you’re able to. Give yourself enough time to get yourself dressed and ready for the day before you have to start dealing with their needs. If you’re extra ambitious, give yourself enough time to squeeze in a little “me” time (more on that below), or enjoy those first precious sips of coffee in peace.

Morning Routine Secret #2: Give Yourself Extra Time

If you have an overly optimistic, down-to-the-minute morning routine, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Inevitably, somebody’s going to need a last minute bathroom trip, somebody’s going to spill milk all over themself and/or the floor, or somebody’s going to have a meltdown. Trust me.

Build extra time into your schedule to give yourself time to deal with the unexpected. With young kids, you can almost guarantee that something is going to throw you off schedule, and you’ll be glad you had extra time to deal with it.

Related: Back to Work After Maternity Leave: 7 Secrets for a Successful Return

Streamline your morning and start your day off right with a morning routine designed for working moms.  A stress-free morning routine leads to a happier, more productive day for everyone! #workingmom #morningroutine  #parenting

Morning Routine Secret #3: Make Your Bed

This was not part of my morning routine for an embarassingly long time. I thought it was a waste of time, because it was just going to be messed up again the following night. Once we started making our bed regularly, I was surprised by the difference it makes.  

Yes, making the bed adds one more thing to your schedule. But it takes less than two minutes, and it sets the tone for the room and the day. The room instantly looks more organized and calm, and you’ll start your day the same way.

Morning Routine Secret #4: Make Time for You

Squeezing in me time whenever you can is important (although I’ll admit that I’m bad at doing this myself).

Me time looks different for all of us. You may want to workout, journal, pray, meditate, read, or do yoga. If you can find the time in your schedule – either by waking up earlier, or while the kids are otherwise occupied – squeezing some me time into your morning routine can make a big difference in how you approach the day.

Right now my me time is my 20 minutes drive to work. It may sound like a stretch to call my commute me time, but it’s 20 minutes where I get to listen to what I want to, or just be alone with my thoughts in silence – I cherish that time!

Related: 30 Day Self-Care Challenge

Morning Routine Secret #5: Start the Day off on the Right Foot

Happy breakfast food

This one is going to sound cheesy, but bear with me.

I always make a conscious effort to make my first interaction with each family member a positive one. An enthusiastic good morning, a smile, and a hug or a kiss go a long way in setting a positive mood for the day. And if one of the kids (or my husband…) happens to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, this gives me a better chance of helping them snap out of it.

Morning Routine Secret #6: Establish a Morning Routine for the Kids

Kids need routines, and this is especially true in the morning. In my experience, a predictable routine with clear expectations leads to fewer power struggles – something we all appreciate in the morning.

Our morning routine is very simple. But the key is that the kids know what’s expected of them, and what the rules are.

Speaking of rules, decide what your screen time rules are, and keep them consistent. Personally, I’m fine with a little bit of screen time in the morning, as long as it’s at certain times only, and isn’t causing negative behaviour. For my older kids, screen time can be a great motivator, and I’m all about making life easier in the morning! If it was turning into a power struggle, or having a negative impact on their behaviour, we would revisit our screen time rules.

Morning Routine Secret #7: Make Alexa Work for You

We have Alexa in our home, and I’ve discovered a few ways that she can help us with our morning routine:

  • Alexa, start my day.” My kids get a kick out of this one. We’ve set up a routine where she tells us a new fact each day, then plays a song (we’ve got her playing “Walking on Sunshine” because you can’t help but smile when you hear it). If you’ve got smart devices in your home, you can add them to your “start my day” routine to make this even more useful for you.
  • Set a reminder. I have a recurring reminder set-up for the time that my kids need to eat breakfast, which is the first step in their morning routine. You could also set a “shoes on, jackets on” 5 minute warning reminder, or a reminder for when you absolutely need to be walking out the door.
  • Set a timer. Alexa can set a timer for when screen time is over, when they need to put on their shoes, or to make sure they brush their teeth for a full two minutes.

Do you use Alexa or Google Home with your kids? If you’ve got other suggestions on how you use them to make life easier, I’d love to hear them!

Morning Routine Secret #8: Keep Breakfast Simple

While I’d love to have time to make elaborate hot breakfasts each morning, that’s just not realistic for us on busy weekdays. There is no shame in keeping breakfast simple – cereal, toast, oatmeal, muffins, fruit, or yogurt, are all quick and easy breakfast staples.

Are you tired of chaotic and frantic mornings with your kids? Streamline your morning and start your day off right with a morning routine designed for working moms. A stress-free morning routine for moms leads to a happier, more productive day for everyone! #workingmom #morningroutine
Streamline your morning and start your day off right with a morning routine designed for working moms.  A stress-free morning routine leads to a happier, more productive day for everyone! #workingmom #morningroutine  #productivity

Morning Routine Secret #9: Clean Up the Kitchen

Taking the time to clean up the kitchen isn’t going to get you out the door faster, but it is going to make your evening a little bit easier. And as anyone who’s ever had to chisel dried cereal off their floor knows, it’s much easier to clean up spills when they happen.

Take the extra 5 minutes to load the dishwasher, wipe the counters, and sweep any obvious dirt. When you arrive home with tired and hungry kids at the end of the day, you’ll be glad you’re not starting your evening playing catch up.

Related: 8 Simple Habits for an Organized Home

Morning Routine Secret #10: Have a Place for Everything

I’ve mentioned previously that we put everything we can by the door, so we’re not scrambling in the morning looking for a missing shoe or mitten. Similarly, backpacks and lunch boxes are always in the same spots. If we need to bring something out of the ordinary to work, daycare or school, we either put it in the car the night before, or place it so that we’d literally trip on it if we tried to leave without it.

Morning Routine Secret #11: Know Your Drop-Dead Time

If you’re going to make it to school and work on time, you need to know the time that you absolutely must leave your house. Once you know your drop-dead time, subtract five minutes, and aim to be walking out the door then.

As we all know, even with the best laid plans, the final steps of getting out the door can take much longer than planned – especially if you have a toddler insisting on doing everything themself! If you aim for an earlier departure time, you’ll have a built in buffer for those days that go off the rails in the final minutes.

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