Three years ago, I started to realize that the way our mornings were starting out: cranky, confused, yell-y, and stressed, were contributing to a lack of joy and productivity in our day. I decided to change that.
In my last post on how I am bringing magic back to my mornings , I stressed how important it is to do as much as possible of the morning work the night before, which frees up your morning to be slower and more relaxed. One thing that really helps are once a month “Bulk Prep” sessions of breakfast and lunch foods. I don’t always do this but when I do, I am amazed at how much weight it takes off my shoulders. It’s one less in a long line of decisions I have to make every day and that builds momentum towards productivity.
Breakfast Bulk Prep
Usually at the beginning of the month or at the very least the beginning of each week, I do a quick bulk prep of breakfast foods. On my regular rotation are freezable breakfast burritos, french toast sticks, pancakes, sausage patties or links, and sometimes chicken nuggets (to be served with honey). To the batters for the breads I add hemp, chia, and sometimes oatmeal for added protein and nutritional bulk. I wrap the items in wax paper and store in gallon bags in the freezer. When I am prepping breakfast, I’ll pull the needed items out to thaw on the kids plates in the fridge for the next day, when they will be nuked or heated in the oven. This tiny step has made a huge boost in the start to my day and saves me about 20 minutes every morning!
Lunch Bulk Prep
Did you know you can do this with lunches too? Things that have frozen well for us are baked spaghetti (pre-portioned and baked in muffin tins), tuna/chicken/peanut butter sandwiches, hummus and pita, and ground turkey/ bean burritos. For both lunch and breakfast bulk prep, a quick Google or Pinterest search will yield you ideas for this for every diet and lifestyle for DAYS.
“Um…this sounds like a lot of work…..”
Not really. You are going to make all these breakfasts and lunches anyway. With these tools you just decide when you are going to do it, thus freeing up more of your mornings.
And don’t forget about YOU mama…
There are little things you can do to make your weekly self care more streamlined too.
Choose your outfits for the week ahead of time
I know it sounds over the top especially if you are a SAHM but working moms know the power of doing this for sure and in reality we are ALL working whether it’s home or away so let’s make our lives easier. You need to like your clothes. You need to feel good in them. Choosing your outfits ahead of time including shoes and accessories based on what you are facing this week is a tiny way to give yourself thought and care and it also makes it easier to do the nightly “lay out” I talked about in my first post which will save you tons of time in the morning. So at the beginning of the week, go to your closet and really try to think about and choose outfits that always make you feel good. Hang those in an area separate and enjoy the satisfaction knowing you have one less thing to think about every morning. All these “one less things” are starting to add up to MORE TIME TO CHILL in the mornings. A slower pace makes room for more JOY (aka magic) and I’m always after that.
That’s right. Sometimes the person in the room with the worst attitude is ME. But I’ve been learning to re-set my default buttons. My default used to be stress and reactivity to every perceived interruption to my carefully laid plans. Slowly…SLOWLY…over time, it is changing. The dual qualities of “calm and cheerful” even if we have to fake them at first have a SERIOUS power over how we perceive everything that happens in our life. These are my “situation defusing” weapons for handling the stuff that makes me have rapid heartbeat during the day. Can I tell you a secret? I’ve caught my daughter doing this type of quick recovery too now, as she watches me retrain my own brain for a happier way of life.
Set your Top 5
In my last post setting your “Intentions” for the next day was a big one. Right along side that is making a list of the top 5 things you need to do tomorrow that will help you feel connected and productive as a MOM. Notice I didn’t say to list the top 5 “most urgent” or “most important” things as you’ll read in time management books. Nope. This is meaningful list. Sometimes urgent and important things will make it on to this list, but those aren’t usually what makes you feel connected to your children and purposeful as a mother. The urgent and important have a way of getting themselves done, so these other more intangible things needs to be on a list too because they are even MORE important to your sense of well being.
For example, an almost daily item on my “Top 5” is “Play with my daughter for 30 minutes: undistracted and completely present”. That’s something that’s hard for me to do sometimes but it is critical to building our relationship right now and so it gets on the top list. What you want on this list are the things that at the end of the day make you feel warm, joyful, and content. Of course you still have your regular stuff that you have to do, but make sure these are on there too, because they matter. Mostly importantly, how you feel about yourself as a MOM matters. In fact, that’s the most important thing.
The REAL truth…
All the lists in the world won’t make you a better mom, but taking care of you WILL. A lot of times I have to shut my own mental hamster wheel down when I start feeling guilty or ruminating on my “failures”. Guilt has never once increased anyone’s quality of life or made anyone a better person. A lot of times I have to tell myself to respond the OPPOSITE of what I feel right away when I encounter this thinking because I am so prone to negativity. It’s a process. Try it out. And when you don’t make it and you lose your cool, be ready to JUST START OVER immediately. Don’t dwell on it, just keep starting again and again. We’ve got this.
What are your secrets for finding more joy in your mom-life?