I was in a chaotic season of life that left me feeling totally exhausted, worn out, and irritable by 5 pm every day. I was anxiously watching the clock for bedtime and felt completely depleted by the time I crawled into bed. A good night’s sleep didn’t help me feel any better, and I dreaded leaving my bed to find what the previous day had left for me. It was during this time that I decided to get serious about my evenings and came up with a game plan that has transformed my mornings. Here are six mom hacks for evening habits that are sure to make for easier mornings.
Evening Habits For Easier Mornings
1. Plan your dinners
Planning your dinners will help your evenings tremendously! Gone are the days of not knowing what you will feed the troops when 5:30 pm comes around, and nothing is ready. Write down any extracurricular activities, birthday parties, or date nights. Maybe consider adding a slow cooker meal on a busy weeknight. Or declare Friday as pizza night because of the weekend.
2. Clean up dinner
Cooking, eating, and then immediately turning around to clean up dinner is the bane of my existence. It is a necessary evil, though, so just do it! To get through it, I put on one of my favorite podcasts, and I clean the kitchen and put leftover food into containers. Then I load the dishwasher and wipe down the counters. I run the dishwasher at night too, and then in the morning, I have clean dishes, a clean kitchen, and a clear mind to start my morning.
Related: Tips for Keeping Your House Clean with Kids
3. Talk through the next day
Once my kids are down for the night, and there are more than two-minute increments to talk, my husband and I like to discuss the “game plan” for the next day. Who’s doing what, who is responsible for which chores, and who’s going where? This is especially important for couples who have limited communication during the day. They tend to feel left out of plans made during the workday, and everyone needs to be on the same page.
4. Pick up the living room
This is an evening activity where the kids can help, and they can help starting at basically any age! Part of the bedtime routine is the cleanup time! This doesn’t have to mean sparkling or pristine. No one has time for that in the evening. But toys, homework, books, bags, and any random objects need to be in their respective places. I have one toy box in my living room that my husband made that fits my motif and gets all of the little cars, tractors and figurines contained, win for everyone!
Related: Learn How to Teach Your Child to Pick Up After Themselves
5. Set out outfits and pack bags
Everyone in the family needs to lay out what they are going to wear the next morning. There is nothing more aggravating than already running behind, and someone needs a soccer jersey they can’t find. Making sure bags are packed with completed homework and that papers that need to be signed by parents are signed and back in the bag is a must. This also includes lunches made for the next day. Fortunately, kids can help out with this as well, starting pretty young!
6. Prep tomorrow’s dinner
If tomorrow’s dinner needs to go in the slow cooker in the morning, be sure to prep the ingredients beforehand and keep it in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning, you can throw everything in the slow cooker and get on with your busy day!
Creating and enforcing evening habits takes work, but the payoff is amazing! I would even argue that the kids will grow to enjoy it too. Waking up to find that half of the chores you usually had to do in the morning are now done is such a win for everyone. Mom is less stressed, the kids aren’t as frazzled, and you might even get to enjoy the morning. Work on finding what works for you and your family’s schedule and stay consistent. If you encourage yourself to get it done, your morning self will thank you!