Yesterday at our church moms’ group meeting, we had a guest speaker; she was a professional organizer. For me, this was like meeting a celebrity. 🙂 This woman wasn’t famous or anything, but organization is like…my thing. I love having a place for everything and putting everything in its place at the end of the day. So, I was thinking about what to share today and organization came to mind. I don’t mean the organization of rooms or closets, but I was thinking more about the organization of our days.
I was trying to search and find the last post I did on morning routines, and July 2013’s post about routines came up! It has been two and a half years since I talked about morning routines?! Obviously, it is time to chat about it again!
In case you ever missed it on here…I am definitely a left-brained gal. People ask me about cleaning, not creativity. 😉 I have two very creative daughters, bless their hearts. They, unfortunately have to go it alone with getting creative because this Mama really stinks at colors and fashion and “cool” stuff. Now, if they want to know how to unclog a drain or the best way to get a stain out of a shirt…I’m their girl! I can be a little creative when it comes to food, but I mostly just love recipes/instructions, routines, and logical things. Ha! Soooo, for the most part, I am boring. And I am cool with that.
But, I do want to share some helpful things for ALL moms, whether left-brained, right-brained, schedule-loving, free-thinking, or whatever. Because mornings and evenings can be the trickiest and toughest time of the day with kids. You just never now how they’re going to wake up – excited about the day or angry because they lost a stuffed animal in their bed. And we never know just how easy they’ll go down at night – sweet kisses… or “sweet sassy, get up again and I’m going to go bananas!”
Having the morning and evening planned out can help those crazy, challenging times run a little more smoothly. Or, at the very least, allow you to focus on that super needy child without worrying about the rest of the things to get done.
So, here are the things I do in the morning (usually almost in this exact order):
- Wake up and come straight downstairs to pour my coffee and sit to read my Bible. This is a new first item, since the beginning of January. I used to unload the dishwasher first, but I have found that (for me) if I do not sit with my coffee and Bible FIRST, I am most likely going to put it off most of the day….and my day will suck. Pardon the language there, but seriously. My day just does not start well, if I start rushing around to do a million things and have not relaxed myself with coffee and Bible.
- Pray with each child as they awake. Ok, this is an even newer item. Sally Clarkson shared in one (or several) of her podcasts that she got into the habit of blessing or praying with each child of hers as they got up each day and as they went to bed. She explained that it helped HER to start the day with the right attitude toward her kids. Well, since I really struggle to be pleasant in the mornings, I thought this was the PERFECT idea to help me curb my grouchiness. I have been trying to be consistent with it for about a week now, and boy-oh-boy does it make a difference. Of course, I am still trying to remember to do it each day. But I have seen how much my boys love it. I hold them close and whisper a prayer in their ear, just asking for God’s protection over them and for a good day for us. I have not yet tried this at night, as we usually pray with the kids by room (whoever shares a room gets prayed with together). I love the idea to pray with the kids as my first bit of interaction with them in the morning. I encourage you to try it. It is a little more difficult to grouch at them right after you just prayed over them!
- Unload the dishwasher and get out breakfast dishes. I dislike having clean dishes in the dishwasher throughout the day. We dirty dishes so fast, that I need to get them out of the sink and into the dishwasher right after each meal. Having an empty dishwasher before we start cooking breakfast serious calms me down. So, not only am I boring with my left-brainedness, I am apparently also weird. 😉
- Make breakfast and immediately clean up. This is along the same lines as unloading the dishwasher. I cannot stand to have dirty dishes lying about, and since we use so many dishes each meal I try to clean up as we cook or immediately after we eat.
- Check my Motivated Moms app for the daily to-do’s. I am absolutely still loving the Motivated Moms app, and I enjoy that the items to do are in the list and I don’t have to think about them much. I don’t have to write out my list or worry about what I have done or didn’t do….because they have the check boxes! I highly recommend this app/website for getting things done. You can always add anything specific to your day and work off the pre-loaded lists as well! Wonderful way to keep track of what needs to get done each day.
So, those are the things I do every morning. Some days do not go as I like, and I do have to move some of those around. Sickness the past few weeks did throw me off several days, but I tried hard to stick to the routine so we didn’t fall behind on anything….and so I still felt a little sane!
You might be wondering when I get my shower in, and I should mention I don’t usually shower until somewhere between 8:00 and 9:00 AM. Since we don’t typically have anywhere to be in the morning, I do a chunk of my housework before I shower (I mean, why shower if I am going to work up a sweat scrubbing counters and toilets??). And I only wash my hair every two or three days, so my showers are usually very short and easy to fit in wherever. If you need a shower early in the morning, obviously your routine would look a little different.
In the evening, I usually do the same set of tasks every night. I have identified the things that really help my mornings run smoothly if I do them at night. Like my morning routine, it just helps our household be less grouchy and keeps the mess/chaos to a minimum. In the evening, I:
- Clean up cookware and utensils used to make dinner as I am cooking. I may be a little over-the-top with this one, but as soon as I finish using an item to make dinner, I wash it or put it in the dishwasher. This helps keep my counter-tops clear and allows me to lay out the plates I need to fill with food. Another thing (a BIG thing) is that it gives us a lot less to clean up AFTER dinner. I don’t have a bunch of utensils or pans to wash after dinner. Usually, the one thing I have to wash is the main pan for the food (or baking dish, if a casserole).
- Load and run the dishwasher. As soon as we finish eating, we clear the table, load and run the dishwasher. I do not like to put it off….because I often forget later on! And then we wake up to it full of dirty dishes. One sure-fire way to start my day grouchy is to forget to run the dishwasher. 😉
- Set the coffeemaker. Our coffeemaker has a ‘delay brew’ setting, which I love. I set it all up to start at 5:00 AM, and all we have to do in the morning is pour it. It is heavenly. AND, it is one less thing that will delay my Bible time!
- Clean up all toys and clothes. We clean up toys and things on the floor several times throughout the day, but somehow these things find their way back to the floor after dinner. So, I encourage (or force) the kids to clean up all floors before bedtime – the main level as well as their rooms. I do not always succeed at having spotless floors in their rooms….for instance, if my eldest is reminded several times and I still find her dancing and singing in her room (instead of cleaning) before bed, I may just tell her to go to bed and do it before coming down in the morning. BUT, the living room and family room are all picked up every single night. It just makes me happy to see clean rooms before bed.
- Pray in each kid room before saying Goodnight. I love that we do this each night. We pray in the boys’ room (and then Ethan prays for Mom, Dad, and Buddy…we always have to remind him to pray for his sisters too.), then we pray with Iris (or she prays, if she wants to), and then we pray in Lily and Addy’s room. If we somehow forget to pray, Buddy will remind me as we are leaving their room. And Lily is always quick to call us back to pray if we forget. With all her eczema and sleeping challenges the last two years, I know praying with us is extremely comforting for her at night. So, I will always love doing it. It also ends the day pleasantly with each kid – no matter how naughty they were or how short-tempered I was, we can all just take a breath and pray. Of course, if we are chasing Ethan back into bed ten minutes later…well, the calmness might have worn off! But, at least we tried to put them to bed peacefully!!
Having set routines for morning and evening definitely allows my day to run more smoothly. With lots of people to feed and clothes and clean, it helps to not have to think about some things each day!
Do you have routines for morning or evening?! What do you love about your routines?