6 Tips to Survive Mum-Guilt Mornings

6 Tips to Survive Mum-Guilt Mornings

Sponsored content, in partnership with Haliborange

If I wasn’t a morning person before, I’m certainly not one since having kids.  

Getting myself up and out every day was hard enough, but throwing in two small boys – who would rather be glued to their screens than put on a (clean) pair of pants – it takes it to a whole other level. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always felt like mornings, especially the school run ones, feel more than a little frantic. Leaving me frazzled and like I’ve missed the memo on how to actually parent.  But, if, like me, the lack of memo, alongside reluctantly resorting to plonking a bowl of chocolate cereal in front of your little one makes you feel like you should be a better parent, don’t worry, we’re not the only ones. Apparently, two thirds of mums feel the ‘mum guilt’ too. 

The good news is that I’ve recently realised that there are ways to make mornings with kids less stressful, and even a little more efficient. Let me share my ‘mum-hacks’ that will promise to make your mornings smoother.  

1. Be your future friend 

I nicked this from The Organised Mum and it’s changed my life. As tempting as it is to collapse after the whirlwind of bedtime is over, spending some time prepping for the day and week ahead saves me a world of pain the next morning. 

Try and get their uniform washed and folded by day ready on a Sunday night. Then all you need to do is grab a fresh one, rather than having to resort to the ‘baby-wipe-from-the-glovebox’ method to quickly clean that bean juice off a school skirt too.  

Same with lunchboxes. Prep them the night before and shove them in the fridge so you can just grab them on your way out. I know, it just feels like something else on top of an already long day of dealing with The Load. But by crossing it off the list the night before, we can start the new day with a pat on the back and gratitude to our-yesterday-self. 

My personal favourite: club and school correspondence. There’s so much of it, isn’t there? And never all in one place. The plethora of apps, emails, WhatsApp, and sometimes, actual real life paper letters – always slightly damp from a school bag. My tip? Respond to it as soon as you get it. Deal with it immediately and forget it. And then pour yourself your favourite tipple.  

2. Choose your motivational song 

No, I’m not a performance parenting, I’d die of embarrassment if anyone witnessed me doing this. But one of the ways I encourage my kids to get out of the bloody door is to pick a song that gives them a burst of energy.  

Our (their) current favourite is Air Guitar by McBusted. They both know that when the song starts, they need to get moving, grab their stuff, and be fastened in the car before it ends. If they don’t make it in time? The penalty is that I will put on my own (dreaded) playlist on the drive to school, rather than songs they like.  

Previous motivational bangers include Song 2 by Blur, Shake it Off by Taylor Swift, and the majority of George Ezra’s album ‘Staying at Tamara’s’. A note of warning though, be prepared for either you, or them to grow to dislike these songs with a passion which rivals your hatred for Daddy-bloody-Pig. 

3. Pick your Breakfast Battles!  

Make breakfast a breeze by picking your battles.  

I started the school year off with overnight oats, and getting up early to make porridge or eggs, only to be met with blank, ‘what-the-hell-is-this’ stares and longing looks at the cereal cupboard (at best) and folded arms and gagging noises (at worst).  

Frankly, I’m dying on enough hills as it is, and I realised that there is simple solution to this particular parenting battle – VITAMINS. Haliborange make it super easy too with The Big Multi that means you can pop one in the mouth of your entire family as they walk out of the door and know that they have had their essential nutrients for the day,including vitamins A, C and D. You are even improving their brain, and immunity, and gut health all in one tasty strawberry flavour softie. It’s a no-brainer.’ 

4. Ditch the tech (and yes, that’s yours included!) 

An area of guilt for me is not feeling ‘present’ enough for them, at the end of the day (and we aren’t alone because 44% of parents feel the same too).  

We are all too familiar with this scene. As you lounge, wrapped in a towel doom-scrolling at 7am, the house goes into a sort of weird vortex as Bluey reigns supreme on the iPad. Kids eat their breakfasts fixated on Bluey, with a glazed-spoon-mid-air pose, and everything starts to go into slo-mo as the clock creeps ever faster towards that dreaded moment of “We’re going to be late! COME ON, what were you doing?” 

Argh. So, now we have a basket on the counter where everything lives, and that’s where it stays, even if everyone’s ready five minutes early because you just know that if you get into that dangerous ‘ooo, just five mins before I go’ you’ll soon find the speaker didn’t connect to your phone, and you’re having to sing the motivational song yourself which has the exact opposite effect. I mean, no-one can add the same enthusiasm to Black Lace’s Greatest Hits like the guys themselves, especially before 9am. 

5. Get in there first 

No, I don’t mean the bathroom – although that helps. I mean ‘get in’ before the tantrums start.  

If, like us, the colour of a breakfast bowl causes controversy in your house, assign a colour per child, and stick to it. No negotiation. One of mine has everything blue – Elmo – from bowls, to spoons, to cups. The other has all green, which was the only other common colour on sale at the time.  

And the same goes for accessories. Remove the choice! It’s liberating! ‘School’ bobbles vs ‘home’ bobbles. Yes, there will be pushback, but with a bit of consistency everyone soon gets on board with the plan.  

6. Shift the blame 

I’m not proud to admit this, admittedly. But sometimes, when things go really wrong, I resort to putting the blame on somebody else.  

It’s important that I caveat this. I don’t go down the whole ‘the policeman will be angry’ route, after all, that would be irresponsible. Instead, I hit them where it really stings, with a ‘your teacher would be very disappointed.’ And the Big Man aka Santa has been known to be my ultimate threat as the alarm sensor in the living room becomes ‘Santa-Cam’. If the light is on, Santa is checking in to make sure everyone is behaving.  

Like I say, I’m not proud of this, but needs must, eh? Mornings are never going to run 100% smoothly, but I’m pretty sure that if you use some of these suggestions – whether you choose the more traditional ones, or give the more questionable ‘Santa is stalking you’ one bash, I’m confident you’ll all feel much better as you get everyone finally out of the house, and you sit back with a coffee on your sofa or at your desk feeling that sense of parent pride that finally, everything has gone smoothly (for now). 

Kate Dyson

Kate is the Founder of The Motherload, the 'owner' of one husband, two daughters, two cats and one rabbit. She loves wine, loathes exercise and fervently believes in the power of women supporting women. Find me on instagram: @themotherloadhq

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