Get up an hour earlier.
Lay out your clothes the night before.
Eat the same breakfast every day.
I spent a year interviewing successful women about the routines that made them effective, happy and productive.
Millionaires and TV stars, Olympians and authors, they all told me the same things. These things. So practical, so sensible, so serene.
I would nod and smile (you can hear some of those interviews, here) but all I would really think was ‘Jeez, you need to come over to my place at 7am on a weekday. Do I have some hacks for you.’
Over at our house, serene is not the word I would use (or that my neighbours would use) to describe the atmosphere most mornings. Other than Sunday, when the iPads are in play. That’s pretty darn zen.
But I have a few tricks up my sleeve for a delightful kick-off to an average Tuesday. Oh, yes.
What starts everyone in our house off in a good frame of mind to face a busy day are two tiny children jumping on the adults’ heads before 6am (the BEFORE SIX AM part is crucial) and yelling, “The other one hit me/pinched me/pulled my hair” at an ear-splitting decibel.
Breaking up wrestling matches before coffee is a sure-fire way to come out of the blocks strong.
Finding out you have no fresh bread halfway through making school lunches is another brilliant tip. Nothing says, ‘I love you darling, been thinking about you’ like a tower of hastily buttered crackers you found at the very back of the cupboard.
Then, what I have discovered works best if you are trying to get two small children off to school is SHOUTING. Shouting everything. About teeth, Just keep saying the word: “Teeth. Teeth. TEETH!”
And then do the same with shoes. “Shoes. Shoes. Shoes. SHOOOOOOOOES!”
What also goes over really well is if you let your children eat their nutritious breakfast while they’re doing their homework from the night before. Nothing signals a calm and organised house like peanut butter smears on sight words.
Things go especially swimmingly in the morning if you let your preschool son tip out an entire container of toy cars onto the floor to keep him occupied while you put your make-up on and then insist he clean them up two minutes before you need to leave the house. He loves that.
And the final trick for making sure your day is off to a seamless start is making sure you get all the way to the car before realising that you’ve left their hat/sports bag/your car keys back in the kitchen. And it’s raining.
That way, the last words your children will hear from you before they sail off into the big wide world for the day are bound to be calm and encouraging.
Something like: “You’re late. You’re LATE. That’s the bell. You’re SERIOUSLY LATE. RUNNNNNNN!”
At least, that’s how I like to do it.
I’m amazed no-one’s ever interviewed me about it, really.
Holly Wainwright is the Head of Entertainment at Mamamia, and the host of our podcast This Glorious Mess.
For more real-life morning parenting hacks, check out our video above with Celeste Barber, the Aussie mum with 2.1 million Instagram followers. They’re almost as absurd as mine.
What’s your morning ritual like? Tell us how you keep it together (or don’t!) below.
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