Simple Hacks That Make Mondays More Managable

TGIM ... No, Seriously!
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For a long time, I didn't understand the whole "Sunday blues" thing. I loved my job and looked forward to going into the office every Monday morning; a fresh start, a new week, thrilling projects on the horizon and mystery opportunities to uncover. 

Then, I became a mom... and Monday mornings meant leaving my infant behind. They meant kissing my little guy goodbye at 7 AM, getting on an early train, and not returning home to him until it was practically time for bed. And then repeating that heartbreaking routine five days in a row until--at last--the weekend! Ohhhh, cue that Sunday evening pit in stomach. 

When I left a corporate job and began freelancing, and then (hallelujah!) started working for Momtrends Media, I, once again, started loving my Mondays. That end-of-weekend hollowness faded; replaced by enthusiasm and excitement.

Of course, that doesn't mean that my Mondays are always smooth and carefree. With a five year old in Kindergarten and a three year old in pre-school, it's still a mad dash out the door. And despite the fact that they both absolutely adore school (thank goodness!) and I wholeheartedly can't wait to get to work (from the comfort of my couch, no less), the post-weekend drag still affects us every week.

Recently, I noticed a pattern. I found myself yelling A LOT more than usual on Monday mornings--and it sort of set my most pivotal day of the week on a downward spiral. I realized I was feeling totally deflated--and that, in turn, was affecting my productivity. So, I reflected on what I was doing right and what I was definitely doing wrong and decided to make a few small changes to better our Monday mornings. And, you know what, the past few weeks have been smooth and stress-free. No yelling, no tantruming, and no dragging our feet. 

My Monday hacks have had a huge impact--so I thought I'd share them here! Regardless of whether you're a SAHM, a WAHM, or a full-time in-office corporate #momboss, we could all use a little help. If you feel like you need a little boost of encouragement to make the start of your week a little less hectic and a whole lot more pleasant, check out these tried-and-true (in my humble opinion) tips, tricks, and hacks.

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More Light, More Color

I used to buy a fresh bouquet of flowers during my mid-week grocery rounds. Having colorful blooms on display in the kitchen--the hub of our daily activity--is an easy mood booster. So I figured: why not make sure they're out prettifying my space come Monday morning. Now, as part of my Sunday farmer's market routine, I pick up a bouquet to help brighten up my Monday.

In the same vein, now that the sun is out earlier, I lift the shades and welcome as much natural sunlight into our home as I can. It's amazing how this little change can really make a major difference.

Batch Your Breakfasts

The kids would groan every Monday when I'd hand them a heaping bowl of cold cereal or half buttered toast or a frozen waffle. After a gloriously gourmet weekend of hearty, homemade breakfasts, the rushed morning-meal routine didn't quite meet their expectations. Luckily, this is an easy one to solve! Now, when I make a big pile of fluffy buttermilk pancakes on Sunday morning, I freeze a few extras to use throughout the week. The kids think I put a ton of effort in to starting their week off in a delicious and special way; but really, I'm just putting the microwave to good use! Overnight oats and pre-assembled smoothie bowls are other smart ways to save time without skimping on deliciousness. 

Pre-Pack Everything

Yes, I'm sure you've heard this one before--but the repetition is with good reason. Get those brown-bag lunches made in advance, pack those snacks, fill and refrigerate the water bottles, sort through the homework folders, and sign any permission slips in advance. It'll save you precious minutes in the morning. (And sometimes it really does come down to seconds!)

Pick Out AND Take Out Your Clothes

The wardrobe struggle is real. It's hard enough for me to pick out my own clothes, let alone make the ultimate decision for myself and two opinionated kids. I used to pick out our clothes the night before and lay them out. But then half the time I'd end up returning to the closet the next morning, making last minute switches and playing tug of war with a three year old over the bathing suit she really wants to wear to school... No more! I made the simple choice to take our clothes downstairs--away from sartorial temptation. Once an outfit is downstairs, it's finalized. No going back, no wasting time.

Do Your To-List on Sunday Night

I like to play a little trick on my brain. On Sunday night, I make a detailed to-do list that includes my most mundane Monday morning ablutions. Starting the day with a few easy-breezy, effortless "cross-offs" makes me feel accomplished and motivated. One to-do mastered leads to many more. Check, check, check.

Have Your Coffee Machine Ready to Go

I'm one of those "don't talk to me until after I've had my first cup of coffee" kinda person. The very first thing I do when I come downstairs in the morning is press ON. No counting scoops, no filling water; just the smell of grinding beans. Ah, glorious anticipation!

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Take Five

Some people like to start their day with a morning mantra; others wake up a bit early to enjoy the serenity of a private five-minute meditation. Same should go for the kiddos! If they're dragging their feet or giving you a hard time, acknowledge their feelings and give them a little time to settle. Instead of rushing my littles to scarf down breakfast, brush their teeth, and go go go, I've started a five-minute reading or coloring routine. It might not be meditation, but it gives them time to quietly, peacefully decompress and prepare for the busy day ahead. 

Dress the Part

If you don't go into an office, it might be tempting to stay in your pajamas or athleisure gear come Monday morning. I realized I was falling into a fashion rut that was affecting my confidence. When I dress well, style my hair, and put on a little under-eye concealer and mascara, I feel like a new woman--ready to face the day ahead.

Enjoy the Fresh Air

Spring has sprung. Take advantage of the weather while you can. Open a window, go outside for a breath of fresh air, and, if you can sneak in a quick walk, go for it. We're fortunate to live a few blocks from our elementary school. I try to walk with the kids instead of doing the carpool line as often as possible. It feels good get your body moving in the morning. The kids love this special time with mama too!

Have Something to Look Forward To

I like having a full calendar full of family activities, scheduled me-time, and couples' nights. I enjoy having things to look forward to--I love looking at my week and getting excited for all the work and fun and school functions and sports games and everything in between. This motivates me and fuels me for the week. I always try to have something daily and weekly that I look forward to--it can be as simple as a Netflix date on a Monday evening after work or as a big as an evening out with the girls!

#MomLife Monday Morning Hacks

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