Feeling yourself on edge ALL. THE. TIME and constatly wondering, “why can’t I just snap the heck out of it?” The answer may not be as complicated as you think. In fact, it may have to do with how your evenings end, and your mornings begin!
More often than not, a family’s evening routine can set the thermostat for the temperature the next day. AKA: “morning from hell” vs “Unicorns flying, confetti falling (with a fairy God Mother to clean it all up of course) and Mommy not ready to put herselfup for adoption.”
Let me paint a picture for you….
It’s 8:30PM. It’s been a long day and you and the little people finallysit down to eat (___insert really crappy meal idea here___) for dinner. It of course takes for-freakng-everto eat ¼ plate of toddler foodor 8.5 fast minutes because everyone is inhaling their plate along with all of the oxygen in the room (with major tummy aches to follow). Background music? The lovely sound of whining, complaining and screaming. Your mindset? Total (__insert potty word of choice here___).
By now, it’s (__Insert time based on how insane dinner was here__), the little people are FINALLY in bed after 2 glasses of water, 5 trips to the potty, 3 “is-there-a-monster-under-my-bed” checks and 2 extra stories read to calm them all the heck back down…..Youfinally sit down to breathe for the first time in like, 2 weeks and your spouce/partner starts making moves and wants to spend time “connecting” (aka: booty call). “OH MY GOD, NO,” you think. In this precise moment, all you want to do is S-L-E-E-P. Lets face it, you average (__insert the bare minimum amount of hours you can barely function on here___) and you just want to fall flat on your face and pass out already. On top of that, you are feeling totally overwhelmed by the endless little people messes everywhere, dishes and laundry needing to be done and all of the emails from (__Insert sender of choice and/or excuse of choice here__) that need to be answered. So you diss the “connecting” and opt for (___activity of choice here___) instead because you just have to get ONE. MORE. THING. DONE so you don’t feel like a total loser of a person. Your spouce/partner feels rejected, a fight errupts and eventually, you both go to bed angry. Oh, and it’s been weeks since you two actually sat down and had a real conversation.
Fast forward a few hours. It’s 6:15AM, you hit the snoooze alarm 5x and finally roll out of bed feeling like you never even slept. The crap dinner from the night before didn’t sit well, you are still angry at your spouce, and, oh joy! The kids decided it would be fun to eat ice cream topped with Fruit Loops for breakfast. Now they are all sugar crazy and you are ready to run away.
Lunches aren’t made, there are no clean shorts, shoes are missing, homework is half done and now you realize you are about to be late taking the kids to school. Forget that “escape” shower, a quick sink bath will have to do.
You then rush over to your closet to get dressed. Only, the majoriy of your wardrobe is in a heap on the floor/in the hamper, and the remaining items on hangers are wrinkly, unorganized and don’t fit. You can already feel the panic rising up in your throat. You then rush to get everyone in the car (which is a Goldfish and toy graveyard). “Oh my goodness, WHAT IS THAT SMELL?” you think to yourself as you are racing to get to the school….You then realize that smell is YOU because the only thing you could find to wear was at the bottom of the hamper.
By the time you’ve dropped the little people off at school, you feel like you’ve been through a war and that all too familiar deafeted and stressed feeling begins to grip your chest. It effects the remainder of your day and all of your interactions. And, YEAHOOO!!! The cycle starts all over again tomorrow!!!!
If this sounds famililar, you are not alone. Families of all kinds battle this kind of chaos every single day and with a few simple changes, have seen an incredible difference – mine included!!!
If you take a closer look, you can see the patterns in this story that I have painted for you…no routine, lack of planing or preparation etc. This has bred chaos that the whole family is then affected by.
So, what are some simple tweaks that could be made to reduce that chaos and bring some peace and calm in to the evening and the following morning? Let’s try the above story again, but with a few changes.
It’s 6:30PM and you sit down to eat dinner – one that was (__cooked in an InstaPot/CrockPot/delievered by meal delivery service/Cooked in bulk on Sunday__), is full of nutrients AND you actually had the time to prep it in peace. Why? Because you planned your meals and had all you needed on hand at the start of the week.
Yes, the little people still (__A) Took their sweet %^& time eating or B) Inhaled their food__) but because you didn’t sit down to the family meal all stressed out and your mindset was better, it didn’t bother you so much. You were just enjoying being together as a family.
It’s now 7:30PM and the kids get a (___Instert child cleaning preference here:shower/bath/hose down on the patio/ another day without bathing won’t kill them pass__). And guess what? The arguing over the nightly scrub downs are starting to lessen because the little people know that after dinner, they take a (___Instert child cleaning preference here – or none…shhh, I won’t tell anyone__). Theyknow what to expect, and so do you(Routine. Is. Awesome.)
It’s now 8:00PM, books are read, snuggles are given and you are actually not ready to tare your hair out or throw all of your kids toys and their zillion parts away.
You and your spouce/partner sit down on the couch and actually have a real conversation together with no little people interuptions. You’ve decided that your your relationship needs some major TLC, so you scheduled time a few nights out of the week to just sit and hang out together. There are no expectations; just the two of you enjoying 10 minutes of being together. You both notice yourselves starting to relax, defenses are beginning to drop and you are finally able to work through some stuff you’ve been trying to deal with together for a while. As a result, you feel more emotionally connected and when the spouce/partner starts to make their move, you are much more open to having (__insert adult phrase of choice here___). You both fall asleep connected and happier.
At 6:15AM, your alarm goes off and no need to hit snooze! You wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Why? Because you decided that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired and YOU. NEED. MORE. SLEEP. So along with the kids, you put yourself on an evening routine too. You go to bed at the same time every week night, and what a differece that one change has made in how you feel.
You actually have time for a shower, and afterwards, when you walk into your closet you don’t feel like the mack truck of “overwhelm” has hit you. Clothes are easily picked because everything is in order. It’s not perfectly arranged (perfect doesn’t exisit…. It’s more like, “perfectly imperfect.”), but that doesn’t matter to you anymore. What matters is that you have clean clothes that are in order and easy to find.
The kids clothes and shoes have been laid out the night before and so getting them ready is much easier and faster too. All of you are then able to enjoy a healthy breakfast (one that doesn’t include ice cream topped with Fruit Loops ) and you head out the door on time to drop the kids off at school. The rest of the day already feels easier to manage because the morning went smoothly and you are not shaken up by chaos Every. Single. Day. Anymore. You feel better about yourself, your family and now you even have the courage to try some more small changes because you’ve had a few great wins under your (__belt/heels/bra/__)!
Do you see where some simple changes can make a really BIG difference? Ready to give it a shot?
Try this exercise: Over the next week, pay extra close attention to what your evenings REALLY look like and how your early morning goes. This is not a time for you to judge yourself, but to just observe. Then, try making one small adjustment. Maybe it is chosing to eat dinner a little bit earlier or forgoing the McDonalds and getting a rotisserie chicken from Publix instead. Or how about taking an hour or two over the weekend to clean out your closet and do a little bit of organizing? You can even try packing lunches and getting backpacks by the door the night before.
You’ll quickly find that taking some small steps towards positive change will in fact lead to some pretty quick results AND a greater sense confidence that you CAN do this! After all, you don’t scale a mountain in one giant leap. You scale a mountain one step at a time.