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The Evening Routines That Make These Moms Mornings Not So Hellish

Photograph by Twenty20

I hate hectic mornings.

The rush. The yelling. The forgotten things. It starts my day off on the wrong foot and almost always assures a crazier mom than usual. It’s bad. So bad. For everyone involved.

Even my daughter has noticed. To the degree that she said, “Mom, maybe you should set your alarm a little early when we have a morning appointment.” I’m sure she cringed at the thought of judging the morning wildness, what would her mama say?!? But as I relied on her to fix breakfast for her brothers, she obviously knew she was right enough to chime in and offer me a little advice.

Yes honey, yes, Mommy absolutely needs to find a way to ease the morning tension.

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Slowly but surely, after six years and three kids, I’m learning that a little evening prep work makes the morning go smoother. I have a few routines—like laying out everyone’s clothes, but decided that now was as good a time as any to poll my fellow mothers and learn what they do to make their mornings go smoother. Here’s what they had to say …

"Prep my coffee the night before!" -Katherine S.

"We try to have quality time with the kids right before bed, rather than cleaning or watching TV, so that bedtime can be mellow and they wake up feeling good—not rushed." -Allison B.

"My husband and I try our best to squeeze in a few 'The Office' reruns while we rub each other's feet. It's heavenly!" -Heather W.

"We have our Roomba run at night while we sleep so I wake up to a clean floor every day. The carpet lines give me life!" -Naomi N.

"Outfits are prepped the night before, as are lunches. We make sure all papers and homework are signed, placed in folders, and put in backpacks. Saves time, energy, and eliminates forgetfulness!" -Amie P.

"I get all outfits picked for the week on Sunday night and make a weekly menu. We have hooks for backpacks by the door, and a cabinet for lunch boxes, so we know where everything is in the morning. It helps with getting six kids and myself out the door by 7." -Stephanie S.

I try to do today what I will thank myself for tomorrow.

"Making sure my kitchen is clean and that I'm in bed before 10 p.m. so I'm well rested in the morning." -Mary S.

"We 'lay out our human' as my 5-year-old calls it. We put her clothes on the floor down to the shoes and undies the night before in the shape of a human." -Alicia P.

"Before bed I place the cereal container, bowl and spoon out on the counter." -Darcy Y.

"I tell the kids what's to be expected of them the following morning so they're not wandering around aimlessly or asking for the iPad when they need to be getting dressed." -Kristel A.

"I try to do today what I will thank myself for tomorrow." -Sammy F.

"I also load the dishwasher and clear out the sink. I love walking down to a clean kitchen in the mornings." -Tasha B.

"I leave my son’s lunch bag open on the counter so I don't forget to pull the food out of the fridge and pop it into his backpack in the morning. -Jackie F.

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"Set a 'go to bed' alarm, like a morning wake-up alarm. It reminds me to wind down what I'm doing and start heading upstairs. I've also put a self-imposed 8:30 p.m. cut off for snacking and eating. It helps me realize that the exhaustion I'm feeling is a signal to go to bed, not a reason to eat food." -Jamie D.

"Always make lunches, and clean up the kitchen after dinner. Something about waking up to a clean kitchen just helps the overall day run smoothly. I also always throw a load of laundry in too, which helps keep the massive amount of laundry with six people in check. And then it's ready for the dryer when we wake up. I fold when I get home from work. A load a day is the key to our home running smoothly." -Rachel W.

"I head to bed around 10 p.m. and read until 11 p.m. Something about ending on a peaceful note helps me wake refreshed!" -Laura B.

"Clean out the car. Round up shoes, jackets and carseats and have them by the front of the door. Leave the TV on the PBS channel so my 4-year-old can just turn it on while I make my coffee." -Jasmine H.

"My daughter actually sleeps in her clothes for the next day to avoid the putting pants on battle." -Danelle W.

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