In preparation for the New Year coming, I’ve been perusing sample morning schedules online and trying to think about how well they would have worked for me. Not so great. So I put together the following compilation:
Get up before lunchtime.;-D
Fold your blankets down to air out the sheets OR air them outside over the clothesline (we have a second story deck and sometimes use the deck rails for this) Of course, when my children were small, there were usually some of them in my bed in the morning, so I couldn’t do anything with the blankets when I got up.
Start coffee, unless you have a coffee pot with a timer OR a child old enough to do this for you OR a husband who is able to take care of this for you in the morning.
Shower and/or grooming: if you’re showering this morning, which, let’s face it, most of you reading this aren’t, so just do the best you can. I found it best always to shower the night before myself. But for the showering and grooming part of the day, here are some tips:
For those moments when you *do* get to shower, follow the Church Mouse’s cleaning tip. Only adapt it down a little more- instead of cleaning the whole shower, keep a scrub brush in the shower and scrub down one wall of the bathtub each time you shower.
If you aren’t a morning showerer, or you are but your children won’t let you be, keep a stack of washcloths near the sink, wipe your face and anywhere else that it is in desperate need of attention. If you’re fortunate, your toilet will be close enough to the sink that you can grab a quick dab anytime you have to run to the bathroom, so by the end of the day you might have washed at least your face and armpits.
Brush your teeth in the morning with just warm water (otherwise the coffee tastes funny), use toothpaste or coconut oil later. Get dressed if you can. Notice how this requires that you keep up with laundry? Most of the online schedules I read suggest you wipe down the bathroom. Keep spray and rags or paper towels in the bathroom and wipe down surfaces, including the mirror, and toilet. Again, that’s what it says on many schedules I’ve seen. More realistic for me would have been to to wipe *a* surface whenever you have to run to the bathroom. This way, by the end of the day at least the sink will be clean.
Get breakfast and while you are in the kitchen think about lunch and set out something for dinner.
( Of course, if you are cooking something like muffins or an egg casserole in the oven for breakfast, it might make more sense to go straight to the kitchen, start breakfast, and then go through the above schedule while breakfast cooks.)
Get the kids up, if they aren’t up already, and get them dressed, wash their faces, put little girls’ hair back quickly in a pony tail, get their bedding airing.
Safety pin or tie towels around the messiest eaters instead of using puny little bibs. Eat breakfast together. This is a good time to review memory verses and to chat a little about the day.
Clear away the dishes, wash them and tidy the kitchen.
Start a load of laundry. What’s in it? Towels, washcloths, dirty clothes gathered from the bed-making, towels used to wipe up breakfast spills.
Make beds, if that’s important to you. Try it for a few weeks to see if it really makes a difference to you psychologically. For some people, it really does. Me? I don’t think made beds are that important.
Tips for implementation:
To figure out a schedule that works for you, determine whether you are a messie or a cleany, a morning or a night person.
For the above schedule to work best, you need to think about the importance of proximity- for instance, keep the bathroom stocked with cleaning supplies so you can quickly wipe things down without having to run find the spray or the paper towels (or newspapers, or rags, or whatever you use). Here are some other household shortcuts.
Breakfasts- cereal and milk is easiest, but for our family was cost prohibitive and anyway, never filled up my kids. I have a lot of breakfast recipes here, but the two easiest are probably crockpot grains made the night before in a crockpot (either the more nutritious and also pricier amaranth and quinoa version or the oat groats version) or a quick pan of baked eggs (the link is to a breakfast sandwich recipe, but you can just skip the bread and have the baked eggs). Another easy breakfast is bringing water to a boil, sprinkling your old-fashioned oats in, turning the water off, and covering with the lid. Go do something else for 20 minutes and the oats will be ready. Dutch puffs (milk, eggs, flour) are also quick and easy. Easiest of all? Toast with butter and peanut butter (kids need the extra fats)
Lunches and Dinners: Here are frugal, bottom of the paycheck barrel ideas. Homemade soup made from leftovers is a quick and nourishing lunch, especially in winter months.
What about devotions and Bible study?-
When you’re eating breakfast, or immediately afterward is often a favored time, but you have to determine this for yourself. Sometimes reading the Bible by myself before I got out of bed was best. But there are other things a busy, frazzled, and discombobulated mom can do.
Here are some ideas for morning devotions.
Be ready to praise the Lord, in season and out of season. When you lied down and when you must arise in the middle of the night, do not forget the Lord your God, praise Him in prayer, song, and study. Petition Him in prayer, song, and study.
Around the sixth century, Benedict’s monks got up at orderly times and recited Psalms and prayers, listened to a benediction, as well as other readings. He prescribed some of them, and left others up to the choice of the Abbot.
As Mothers we are often called to arise in the night hours, although with somewhat less regularity than the Monks, and the calls for us are not often calls such as permit us space and quiet for thoughtful prayer and meditation.
Nevertheless, if we make a plan for these things in advance, it is more likely to do us good and make it possible for us to use those hours for prayer and praise than if we have no plan, and no desire to use our time wisely and make the most of the time because the days are evil.
Make use of proximity, again. I cannot stress enough the importance of this tool.
Arrange your thoughts as well as your environment to make this more natural. Place Psalms, Bible study materials, an any reminders you would find helpful where you are likely to see them- in the bathroom, if what is most likely to prompt you up at night will find you there. Over the changing table, rocking chair, or on a shelf by your favorite living room chair, near the rocking chair and humidifier if it is croup that is most likely to call you from your slumbers.
By ‘reminders,’ I mean things as simple as a photograph of somebody you mean to pray for, a note reminding you of your goal to praise the Lord even in the dead of night, index cards with verses on them posted where you will see them- the bathroom, the kitchen, the dining room, on the table under a clear plastic cover, make them up into placemats, whatever.
Use modern tools- find online Psalms and other Bible readings or Psalms set to music and download them to your iPod, Mp3 player, laptop, tablets, whatever you have. More suggestions here.
Let us do what we can to see to it that we rise with our rest completed, not interrupting that rest by unwise choices, too late hours on the computer, with a book, chatting with friends by phone, skype, or text. When interruptions come, and with children, they will come, treat those interruptions as opportunities for prayer and praise.Take the opportunity to spend wakeful hours in study as well.When you awake, and when your children awake, greet the day with gladness, and greet the Heavenly father with praise.* More about that here.
The Children: In all the scheduled activities above, as much as possible, if they are awake have the children helping.
Give them things to do- as much as possible, real things, but you can also give them a wet rag and direct them to wash a cupboard, clean up the floor in front of the fridge, wipe a chair, etc. Set out a stack of plastic plates, the utensils, and even a 2 year old can carry these things to the table, one by one. Have a toddler sing to the baby and make funny faces at the baby while you work in line of sight. Give them a washcloth or dish towel and a plastic cup or a spoon to dry.
Sing as you work- even if you have to force yourself. You will find, most of the time, that even if you did have to force yourself, you will gradually change your inner woman through the actions of your outer woman- it’s not being fake, it’s not being a hypocrite, it’s learning, practicing, and exhibiting self control. The children will join in.
There are a couple of reasons for including the children in your morning routines. One is that if they are helping you, they aren’t in the bathroom dumping out your cleaning supplies and brushing their teeth with your leg razor (true story), nor are they in the living room emptying the game cupboard and dumping puzzle pieces all over the floor, gluing cabbage patch dolls to the rug and gluing magazines to your husband’s flight jacket (true story) , nor are they trying to toilet train the six week old (true story).
If they are helping you now, while it’s a little more work and somewhat distracting, they are learning and sooner than you think, they will be able to take over and do these jobs for you (true story).