Right now, if you have any friends in the Northern Hemisphere, you are getting bombarded with images of sunlight and blue vistas. The lightness and joy of warm weather and salty-sea-skin. While we are here, shivering under our grey skies with our winter lurgies.
It was in the middle of the school holidays that I realised we are heading into term 3, not term 4. That (while obvious to anyone with a calendar) was a crushing realisation. Akin to waking up on a Monday morning and thinking it is Saturday.
At that moment, I understood I have another six months of wrangling my children out of the house by 8am every day. Welcome to the mid-year morning blues.
Why mornings are so bloody hard
Recent studies have proven what we all know: getting kids ready for the day is hard work.
There’s a lot to squish into the morning without allowing for tantrums, lost Transformer legs and socks without seams in them. Dressing, breakfast, basic hygiene measures (clean face and teeth) for little people take time. The other stuff just bends it until you’re running out the door trailing bags and biscuits behind you.
It’s the one time when chaos can also be monotonous. And chaos is tiring. And stressful. And boring.
It’s time for a spring clean
My husband has a number of things that he believes to be true about the world. Like that country air makes children hungry and tired. Or that rain slows down the internet connection.
The one I’m going with today is that the City to Surf, held every August in Sydney, is the actual point in time when spring has sprung. Other mere mortals can wait until September, but according to my good man, every year the City to Surf brings the sunshine back to us.
And so I think it’s time to spring clean the way I do mornings, to push myself out of these mid-year blues.
Shaking out the dust, AKA mixing up the routine
A while back, I worked out the best routine for my kids was to get dressed, eat breakfast, clean teeth, then watch TV while mum gets ready. Simple things repeated ad nauseam become an accepted truth. But it’s been wearing me down because I really wanted to meditate – just five minutes – to give me perspective in all the chaos.
Then I tweaked it, realising that in the final 30 minutes when I get dressed, I can do it then. It may mean the kids get an extra 10 minutes of TV time, so I am left alone, but it’s what I need to make the morning better for me.
Every spring clean needs a good soundtrack
I have been known to look for ironing to keep listening to a good podcast. Multitasking is a way of life, but cleaning the dishes, packing bags and getting dressed is much more entertaining when accompanied by a riveting podcast, audiobook or your personal soundtrack of bangers.
At the moment, I’m hooked on a series of audiobooks that I listen to while the kids watch cartoons.
Either way, if you get something good in your earbuds, you don’t even notice you’re doing the heavy lifting of the morning routine.
Enjoy the change in weather/shift your mental perspective
When we have breakfast, I turn off the radio, and we talk. It can take anywhere between ten minutes to half an hour (depending on what toy my son brings to the breakfast table), but I love it.
When I was groaning under the strain of another six months of mornings, I reminded myself of that. Leading up to (and after) breakfast can be a whirlwind of activity, but for the short amount of time that I shovel down my muesli, we’re spending quality time together. I enjoy having that time with them.
Dropping them at daycare and school also means I get to know the people that fill their lives: carers, teachers, other kids.
It is the middle of the year, and the mornings are hard. Sometimes it feels like I’ve climbed a mountain before I’ve even turned on my computer. But the thing about a spring clean is that everything feels shinier afterwards.
So I’m getting out my duster, I’m going to give our routine a bit of a shake, and see what good stuff falls out.
What goodness is hiding in the chaos of your morning routine?