It’s likely a combination of factors that led me to the resigned acceptance that I will likely never be an early bird. For one, I have ADHD, which means, just on a neurological level, that I’m never going to reset my circadian rhythm using will-power alone. As a work at home mom, I also work odd hours. My family life bleeds into my work life, and vice versa. Going to bed at midnight is often my lofty goal, as the quiet hours of late evening offer me the most productive work time.
And I’ve always been a lover of sleep and late hours.
As a child, I used to get out of bed (after much cajoling from my mother) and slink my little body over to the dryer, leaning against the warm drum, burying my body in clothes to fall back asleep. I’d ignore my mom’s frustrated calls as she wondered where I’d wandered, stealing a few more minutes of slumber back from the day. (Sorry mom!) All this to say, I don’t function too well on four-six hours of sleep, but I also don’t function great on anything under 8 hours either.
not a morning person.
And then I had kids. Kids are morning people right away. They are also night owls and middle of the day whirling-dervishes (whatever a whirling dervish is, I assume all children are). Their concept of exhaustion is identical to their concept of “cold” when there is a pool to be jumped in: it does not exist.
Despite all that, at one point, I could kind of fake it through all the morning drop-off chaos.
I Had the Whole “Morning” Gig Figured Out At One Point.
After more than a decade, our schedule has calmed down quite a bit. My husband, formally working two-four jobs, seven days a week, opening coffee shops and gyms, closing retail shops or wine sales, is finally working a dream job: 5 days a week 8-4, two miles from our house. Most mornings he takes the kids to school, and I deal with pick-up. I wake up with the family and suck down coffee like it’s a hot vat of liquid life until I start to make sense of the world around me, and by that time, all the kids are in their respective schools. It’s the first time in 12 years of parenting where I feel like our duties are pretty fairly split.
And because of our new routine, I forgot. I forgot what I used to do to get myself going every morning. But I noodled on it all day, and I have the list for you. The ultimate list for night owl moms on how to survive the morning.
Actually Helpful Coping Strategies for Night Owl Moms on Early Bird Mornings
Marry an early bird
Kidding. It doesn’t always work out that your other person will be around for the morning anyway, even if you’re lucky enough to marry your sleep-need opposite.
Strong Coffee is New Your BFF.
Who do we think we are, tea people? If you are not a morning person, pre-ground Folgers will not cut it. Thankfully my husband worked for three years as an assistant manager at Starbucks, and we learned a thing are two. I went from liking cream and sugar with just a little coffee to enjoying rich flavored coffee with a dash of cream. I really just enjoy the coffee experience every morning, and often, the smell of my favorite coffee is what pulls me out of bed.
- Always get your coffee whole, and grind it at the store (or better yet, at home, the night before you need it). Pre-ground coffee has less flavor. JUST FYI.
- Buy it in smaller amounts, so you have fresh beans. Freezing extra beans works to a point too.
- Find a favorite: my ALL time favorite coffee for mornings is local, Bella Rosa Black Label High Voltage (linked in the image above). It’s amazing because it’s low-acid, high caffeine, and on sale every other week at Oliver’s for like $6.99 a can. But I also love Taylor Maid’s Rise and Shine.
According to some, the lighter the blend, the stronger the caffeine… hence why breakfast blends are jittery goodness.
The point with coffee is, if you love it and it actually helps jolt you to consciousness, REALLY embrace it! Find one you love, one that will make getting out of bed almost something to look forward to.
Pick Out Clothes for the WEEK:
Have the kids pick out ALL their school clothes on Sunday.
This sounds crazy, I know! But for years, when the oldest two were in preschool and lower grades, we used these cloth shoe racks in their closets and it was SO nice y’all. I have so much more energy and awareness on Sunday afternoon than I do on Monday night (or Tuesday morning).
On Sunday afternoon I sprawl out on their bed, pull up the weather on my weather app, and we pick their outfits together. If your kids are like mine, they will appreciate the independence (I haven’t been allowed to choose outfits since the age of two, for all of them). Fold the clothes neatly, and have one rack for each day of the week. INCLUDE the socks, mama! Sundays are also great for checking on any upcoming “school dress up days” for last minute Target trips, as well as checking clothes for fit and holes. (Learn from my mistakes, friends.)
Prep lunches on Sunday too.
Peel the cuties, make sure there are enough sandwich bags and healthy-adjacent snack options (we like these snap peas, and this popcorn). Make sure everything is accessible for the kids too, so YOU don’t have to pack their lunches. (Kids four and up should be able to pack their own lunches, with a little guidance and technical support.)
Have the older kids pack their lunches for the next day as soon as they are home from school, so all you have to do in the morning, is grab and go.
Have Great “Breakfast on the Go” Options
For my kids, I like to make sure they have a little protein, a little carbs, and some vitamin C in the morning. Not all kids like eggs and milk isn’t super fun to take in the car, though. Here are my favorite, mostly healthy, and still filling breakfast options that won’t trash your car (depending on the age of your kids of course):
- Bagel with cream cheese and fresh-sliced strawberries
- Whole grain frozen waffles (from Trader Joe’s!) with peanut butter/sun butter and local honey (perfect for spring allergies too). Fold the waffles in half so they don’t drop onto your car floor PB side down.
- Peach Yogurt “parfait” in a cup with granola. (Plastic cups in bulk at the store can be washed and recycled or re-used once home.)
- For the more foodie kid, a tortilla wrap with eggs, cheese, and a small handful of grape tomatoes.
- A cutie, and some cheap old-school hashbrowns, and a Greek yogurt squeezer. (Also at Target)
-All of these can be prepped the night before, and eaten on the go if you need to.
(For You Too, Mama)
Admittedly, I am terrible at breakfast. TERRIBLE. I hate eating before I’m awake, and as you can surmise, I’m barely awake before noon. But NOT eating before noon is like, really bad. So don’t be me. My favorite “fast” breakfast(I hate cereal) is half a bagel or whole grain toast, mashed avocado, and some everything sesame. I can eat this one handed, which I do, while driving out of our neighborhood.
All this to say, we don’t have to change our night owl souls to be a “passable” morning mom. No, we probably are not going to jump out of our cars at school full of ghusto, greeting every other parent like we’re Miss Butter and Eggs, but the kids will be appropriately dressed, and well fed, and our coffee will be strong.
And for “faking it” morning moms, that’s more than good enough.
Our Facebook friends have some amahhhzzing ideas for breakfast if you’re in a rut, check it out and share yours!