Tips For the Not Morning Person Parent

Not A Morning ParentNot a Morning Person? Me either. Not that I’m a night person. I just rock 11am like a boss. Except when I’m pregnant. Or sick. Or didn’t sleep well the night before. Ya know what? Whatever the excuse is. Doesn’t matter. If you’re having a bad morning, here’s some tips that may make it a little easier on you next time.

Kid Shelf

I love this one. I have all the healthy snacks that my kids can have wherever, whenever within their reach in the pantry. There’s dehydrated fruit, there’s fruit and veggie pouches, there’s raisins, there’s juice, there’s all natural dirty hippie shit out the wazoo. The yummy-but-should-be-limited-stuff (that I totally don’t sneak when no one’s looking) like chocolate and fruit snacks are all up higher in Rubbermaid totes that the kids can’t get into. So when they’re in full meltdown mode of “Mommy, I NEED something! NOW!” while I’m nursing another crying baby, I can just grunt and point to that shelf.

Prep Fruits and Veggies

If you have all the money in the world, then buy it all pre-worked up. Apples already peeled and sliced. Grapes already packaged with cheese. Apples with peanut butter or caramel sauce. (I didn’t even buy this for myself before kids, if you’re doing it and not cringing at the price difference I’m jealous.)

Otherwise, when you get them home, wash those grapes and apples. Pull the grapes off the stem and put them in a big old tupperware. That way when it’s time to pack them in a lunch, all you have to do is pop them in a smaller tupperware or baggy or whatever you do. Slice up the blocks of cheese, cube them, whatever you do for a lunch… Prep it ahead of time. Morning time ain’t no time for that.

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Prep School Lunches Night Before. And Have back-ups!

Lunchables, Money in their account for buying lunches, cash on hand, whatever. Just make sure it’s a quick grab/remind thing in the morning. Because you never know when you’re going to wake up with a migraine, your baby has a blow out diaper in the crib, your toddler wets the bet, your oldest paints on your kitchen table, your dog gets sick on the floor… the list goes on forever. Mornings suck and you never know how until you’re in the thick of it.

Prep hubby Lunch for week

I make Tuna Salad on Sunday and portion it out into 5 containers. He takes it with crackers all week. Same for Pasta Salad or kale salads. Or some kinds of Sandwiches (If your hubby’s picky about mustard and ham juice making his bread soggy, you can put a cheese barrier between bread and the rest… Or just make them the night before with your kids’ lunches and be sad. I do that a lot, too.)

Swaddle Cheats

You probably already know your mornings will be better if your nights are full of better sleep. To that end, get your newborn to sleep without fits of flailing. Swaddle pods, swaddle sacks, swaddlers; they’re the best ever. Get one that you can unzip from the bottom and you can change the diaper in the middle of the night without having to figure out how the hell they work. Because if you don’t, you’ll wake up in the morning and get your baby only to find you reeeeeally suck at nightime swaddles.

Prep Bottles

If you bottle feed formula in the standard mix-powder-with-water way, this is gonna change your world. Prep the bottles ahead of time. Meaning put the water in the bottle at your bedtime and put them by the formula container. If you use fridge water because it’s filtered, it will have come to room temperature by the time baby wakes. When the baby wakes up, you stumble to bottles, take lid off, put in a scoop or two of formula, screw lid back on, stumble to baby while shaking bottle. So baby sees you and can immediately start eating. My middle kid was mostly formula fed and wowzer this was sooooooo easy. We didn’t even feel the need to sleep train her until like 10 months. (Which is lazy parenting, but whatever.) She was fed and we were pretty well rested. Late night feedings took like ten minutes total because we didn’t have to get her out of bed and try to balance baby while fixing the bottle and soothe her while using the bottle warmer. So she didn’t wake up fully and neither did we.

Use Tablet Wisely

Oooh ho, you think you know what I’m about to say, don’t you? You think I’m going to encourage you to give your kid a tablet and go back to bed, huh? Well, no. I’m not. That’s a terrible idea. So now you think you know what I’m gonna say again, huh? That too much screen time rots your kid’s brain? No! Ha! I love to keep you guessing…

The real reason is this: If you overuse the tablet, your kid will get desensitized. Then they won’t go to bed. They’ll get addicted. And then they’re going to yell at you about everything because they’re not sleeping and they want better games and they can’t figure out how to do this part or why can’t they just buy this little thing on their game and it’s all still terrible. It’s the same reason you don’t buy your kid a car for their 16th birthday. They have to learn to appreciate it. And Lord almighty, the tablet is soooo important for road trips, you have GOT to keep them interested in it then.

Learn to Love Coffee … or Spark

My brain doesn’t work well without the proper amounts of sleep. Unfortunately, I have kids. So I don’t ever get the proper amount of sleep. Thank God there’s caffeine. I think coffee helps you ease into your day peacefully and gloriously. Spark helps you grab your day by the balls and say “You talking to me? No? Didn’t think so.”

Easy Breakfast

It doesn’t have to be poptarts. (Although I’m not judging.) It can be eggs you make ahead of time and reheat. Or  breakfast sandwiches; those waffles that have syrup in them; Cereal Bars. Lately, I’ve been making muffins and sneaking things into them. Chocolate muffins are perfect for this. I sneak in nuts, sweet potatoes, protein powder, bananas AND applesauce. Mwahahaha. I make them on Sunday night and they have them for breakfast in the mornings. And sometimes, the heavens smile upon me, my friend, and the kids eat them in blissful peace *whispers* before they even wake me up.

Lay out Clothes for the Week

I pick out five outfits and lay them out on the dresser. They get to pick which of the five they want to wear that day. It helps the “I don’t want to wear that!” drama sometimes, too. I have no idea WHY they don’t complain come Friday, but maybe it’s because they’ve had all week to come to terms with wearing an outfit they’re not crazy about.

Embrace Paci as a Snooze Button

Just embrace the paci. Force it a little if you need to. Babies with Pacis sleep a bit better than those without, in my experience. Plus it helps prevent SIDS, so that’s a nice justification, if you need that. Before a baby is able to root around to find their pacifier in bed… they lose it and flip out. Go in and put it back in and go back to sleep. Don’t get them up. Don’t soothe them. Put the paci in. Go back to bed. Just try it. It works sometimes, it really does. After they’re able to put their own paci in, make sure to keep spares in their crib just in case they can’t find it.

Prep the Night Before

Pretty much whatever you’re going to do the next day, prepare what you can the night before. If, after you take the kids to school, you’re going to the gym, pack your gym bag. Your kids go to school or daycare? Make sure their backpacks are packed, too. If you’re going to a place you don’t frequent regularly, have the location already in your GPS. Going grocery shopping; have your list made. And so one and so forth.

Have you sensed a theme in my madness? It’s basically always prep ahead. It’s the only way I stay sane: Organize until it works like an oiled machine. OK, so it’s never an oiled machine. But sometimes the whole day doesn’t crash and burn. And this is why.

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