How to make mornings a calm start to your family’s day

As a mother, I know that my mood and demeanor are impactful on the people around me. This is especially true for my small children.

How to make mornings a calm start to your family’s day

There are some mornings everything just seems to flow. The kids quickly get dressed. Then everyone gobbles up breakfast and jumps in the car. But I will be honest, this is rare.

Instead, most mornings feel like a shuffle where I can never find a pair of matching socks and someone ends up in tears.

Every person in the house is on a different agenda:

  • My husband is trying to get ready for work.
  • I work from home, so I am trying to get the kids off to school.
  • My 4-year-old is trying to solve an epic battle between Optimus Prime and Bumblebee.
  • My 1-year-old is begging for cookies for breakfast.

We all have different priorities and agendas. Our kids live in the moment. Sometimes I yearn for that ability to live in the present and not worry about time. It seems like a real gift. But it's not a gift to me in the mornings. In the mornings, I have to get stuff done—on a schedule.

In our house, the single most important thing I do is set the temperature for our mornings.

As a mother, I know that my mood and demeanor are impactful on the people around me. This is especially true for my small children.

Therefore, I am careful to make sure that I am the thermostat, not the thermometer. The thermostat sets the temperature.That means when the mother is calm, the kids are calm. On the flip side, the thermometer reacts to it. The means when the kids get upset, the mother gets upset.

When I wake up on the right foot and set the temperature, I stay calm. Our mornings flow easier. It's not always easy and it's not always possible. But that's how I strive to start the days: calm.

Here’s what to do:

1. Wake up before the kids

I have hopes and dreams of waking up two hours before the kids. I would do yoga, write in a gratitude journal, and then sip on some organic herbal tea. It would be beautiful. But it also doesn't happen.

So instead of setting my alarm for 4:30am, I just try to get up five to 10 minutes before my kids. Even with just a few minutes, I feel like I am ahead of the game.

In 10 minutes, I can get a quick shower. In five minutes I can start a pot of coffee. In the calm before the storm, this allows me to check at least one box off the list. I start the day feeling like I am #winning.

2. Use batching

Batching is an easy tool that can make a huge difference for the mornings. When you batch a task, you do a large amount of it all at one time. If you have four kids, you may need to batch teeth brushing. That means getting everyone lined up and tackling it together. This will prevent your mental load from having to remember...whose teeth do I still need to brush?

Batching is also a handy tool when it comes to lunches. If you can make several days worth of lunches in one sitting, you will save time and energy in the mornings.

3. Be human

Last week I dropped my kid off at school, only to realize she had no shoes. Maybe I should have been embarrassed, but I wasn't. She has slippers there and she wore those for the day.

When it comes to parenting we have to give ourselves some grace.

We are human and sometimes we forget things. Sometimes we have to pick our battles. There are days when the teeth just aren't going to get brushed. Or the socks will not match. There's always tomorrow.

4. See it from their perspective

Our kids don't really care about being late. They often don't have a strong understanding of time or the consequences that come along with being late. So when they become deeply immersed in a LEGO creation just minutes before it's time to go, breathe deeply.

It seems like they are "just playing" but it might be important to them. Play is the work of childhood and we need to calmly and respectfully get them into the car.

5. Use screens strategically.

If your kids get screen time in the mornings, use it strategically. If you start the morning with screens, it can be hard to drag kids away to get ready for the day. But if you use them as a type of reward, you can have everyone eat, get dressed and get completely ready before flipping them on.

This isn't a solution that works for everyone (personally, any type of morning screen time slows down the momentum of our mornings, so we skip it.). But if you do use screen time in the morning, time it to work to your advantage.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.


Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.


Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.


Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.


BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


We are one and done—and we planned it that way

I didn't forget to have children. I just had a child. One child.

The other day, I saw a woman wearing a shirt that read, "Oops! I forgot to have children!" across the front, and I wanted to run up and give her a hug. Except that would be weird on many levels, so I buried the impulse.

I didn't forget to have children. I just had a child. One child. And lean in closer while I make this confession: My partner and I made that decision on purpose.

It's not really what I'd planned for myself when I was younger and daydreamed about my future family. In fact, I went through a phase in the '80s when I imagined myself with five children who I would name Mandy, Randy, Candy, Sandy and Andy.

I certainly never envisioned myself being any kind of spokesperson for the only-child crowd, but over my last 11 years, the most-asked question I get is whether or not I have regrets that we never gave my daughter a sibling.

That's a hard question because the number of kids you and your partner decide to have is an extremely personal decision—although you wouldn't necessarily know that by all the complete strangers who regularly ask, "So, when are you going to have another one?" or, "Don't you worry about what will happen to her when you die and she's left all alone in the world?" People, even well-intentioned, can be extremely insensitive and feel like they have the right to get in your business even if you just met them on an airplane.

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