Mornings. Ugh. Even just hearing the word makes me cringe. Mornings have never been my favorite thing, as I’m much more of a night owl. But after having a kid, you kind of can’t be a loaf all day. Turns out, kids need to eat real food and be entertained. Crazy right?! It’s taken us a little while, but we’ve finally figured out a few helpful hints for how to have a more productive day with a toddler. It’s about time because pretty soon we’re going to have another tiny human added into the mix. Our Schedules will change of that I’m sure.
The night before:
- Tidy up. We try to clean throughout the day. But let’s be honest, toddlers are tiny tornados. It’s impossible to keep our house clean while he’s awake. After dinner and right before bed, we vacuum the floors and put everything back in its place – that way all his toys are clean and put away and ready to be pulled out the next day!
- Every night, I try to come up with a to-do list of sorts for tomorrow. I like to add any appointments, playdates, etc that we might have scheduled. That way I can know what to expect and what our timeline will be to make it out the door.
- To make the morning run much smoother, I pick out outfits for both H and I. This way, there’s no last minute scrambling to find a missing shoe or looking through the laundry to find a matching shirt. I lay out entire outfits. Which for H means a hat, sunglasses, tee, shorts, shoes, and a stack of Luvs diapers. We’re set for the entire day. The accessories and extra diapers go into my diaper bag, and the clothing gets folded and put in a particular place in my bathroom.
In the morning:
- On my way upstairs to get H, I turn on and set the coffee maker, that way it’s ready for me by the time we get downstairs. Caffeine is my love language, and without it, I’m pretty worthless, so it’s a definite morning necessity!
- First thing’s first – cook and eat breakfast. Once H lets me know what he wants from my list of options, we cook breakfast, together. I like getting him involved in the process, and if we don’t eat first thing in the morning, then the little mister gets Hangry, and nobody wants that!
- After breakfast, we get cleaned up and dressed for the day. We’re trying to make teeth brushing a natural habit for H. W get into the routine of brushing our teeth and wash our hands and face. After we get dressed in the clothing I’ve picked out the night before. I’ve noticed that the longer we stay in PJs, the harder it is to get motivated and moving. By putting on real clothes is crucial for us as a stay at home/work from home mom. Getting dressed also puts me in “awake” mode and helps me feel way more human so I can cross things off our to-do list.
- Head outside! H has a ton of energy to burn and is one of those kiddos who is AWAKE the second his feet hit the floor. We always head outside right after breakfast before the weather gets too hot. He gets to run around and play! Sometimes we play in the pool and splash around and sometimes we go to the park to climb and slide. Either way we’re getting in some good Vitamin D and fresh air is a necessity. I let H run the show during this time, he gets to choose what activity we do, and he loves getting to have some input on the day’s activities. We usually play for several hours or until it gets too hot!
- After a few hours of play, it’s lunchtime! Once again, I like having H come into the kitchen and help me decide on what we’ll eat and cook. Whatever it is we’ve decided on. If we’ve been playing inside, then all of his toys must be picked up and cleaned up before we eat. I have him help me do just that while our lunch cools off.
- I probably won’t win any parenting awards for admitting this, but next on the list is my favorite time of day: nap time! We clean up from lunch, I change H’s diaper and we head upstairs. He gets to choose the two books that we read. Then I turn on his sound machine and lay down and snuggle him. I wait until he falls asleep to leave.
- While H is napping, it’s mama time. We are very lucky that he’s a marathon napper, so I typically get about 2.5 hours to myself. During this time, I get to catch up on emails, take pictures, draft a few blog posts, or whatever it is that I need to do. This is also when I try to start laundry, start thinking of dinner plans, tidy up whatever area(s) of the house need it most, etc. Although I’ll be super honest and admit that probably half of this time during the week is spent enjoying a hot beverage (while its still hot), eating cookies or some other sweet treat I don’t want to share with my toddler, and/or catching up on my trashy television (RHOC anyone?).
- My husband usually gets home right around the time that H wakes up, so they get father and son time together, and I get a little more “me time” to finish my blogging / work from home tasks. They usually head back outside and splash in the pool for a little, play golf in the backyard, kick / throw around a ball, or head to the garage to organize a few things.
- My husband and I usually trade off on dinner duty, so whoever is cooking, the other one is playing with H. If our kitchen was bigger, we’d all probably be in there together, but because it’s a tiny space there’s just not room enough for all of us. This is also usually when we turn on the TV and let H pick one of his shows to watch (he’s currently obsessed with Little Einsteins, Super Why, UmiZoomi, and Blaze and the Monster Machines). Once dinner is ready, we make sure all Hs’ toys are picked up, set the table, and then all sit down together and spend time together around the table. This is probably my favorite time of day, as we all get to catch up. My husband lets me know what’s happening at work, I tell him all the silly (and hair-pulling) things H has done that day, and H chatters away telling us everything about everything.
- After dinner, we snuggle and goof off and go on a family walk in. Just like our mornings, I feel like a little evening air is so cathartic and helps us all calm down and breathe a little easier. It also helps that another walk means a little more energy burned, and the dog gets some good exercise, so this is one routine that we try to maintain as much as possible!
- After we get home from our walk and play a little longer, it’s time for bed! We used to have a super strict routine for H for bedtime. We’ve gotten a little more lenient with it as he’s gotten older. Now, we put on PJs, brush teeth and I snuggle him while singing “rock a bye baby” and “itsy bitsy spider”. After hugs and kisses, I pass H off to my husband, who then takes him upstairs. He reads him a few books and lays with him until he falls asleep.
- While my husband is up with H, I’m downstairs cleaning up from dinner and doing things from “the night before”. Once my husband comes down, he and I spend a little time together. We decompressing and watch something on Amazon. Hulu or Netflix. Right now we’re re-watching 24 together, and we’re totally Jack Bauer obsessed!