It’s a universal truth: Mornings are hard.When the ticking clock meets with tired people, lost shoes, smelly lunchboxes, and unsigned reading logs, it often makes for a not-so-pleasant goodbye, which makes the rest of the day feel a little off. But there is hope. Even horrible mornings can be salvaged. Here are ten ways to bring peace, compassion, humor, and connection to morning meltdowns:
1. Notice the good—any and all good you can find—even if it is simply, “I am so glad to see your face this morning,” or “You’ve always had a knack for unique clothing combinations!”
2. If someone is grumpy, let her do something you usually do like pour the milk from a small pitcher, add the brown sugar to the oatmeal, or decorate a sticky note to put in a family member’s lunchbox or briefcase.
3. Pull out a “When you were little …” story. Imagining himself tearing pancakes into itty bitty pieces or calling strawberries “strawbabies” has the potential to bring a smile.
4. Open your arms. Don’t say anything. Just hold on.
5. Decide if it’s a battle worth fighting. If it isn’t, take a deep breath and move on. If it is, speak in a tone that can be heard.Listen in a way that conveys care and concern.
6. Release control of the situation with a peace-making invitation like: How would you do it? Show me.
7. Give two minutes. Sit beside him. Rub her back. Get at eye level. Giving two minutes won’t break the schedule, but it could make all the difference in their day.
8. Be especially generous with forgiveness in the morning hour. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Can we start over?” Do-overs are a priceless gift that cost nothing but hold great value.
9.Think to yourself: That’s someone’s baby. That’s my baby. Seeing him or her as a human being who is learning and growing can offer a shred of patience and perspective to get you through a trying moment.
10. When a situation is quickly deteriorating give yourself a 3-second preview of what an angry, critical, or sarcastic response will do. Will it make the situation better or worse? A three-second pause can save a morning, spare some pain, and prevent regret.
On mornings that are not salvageable, remember this: Day after day, you provide countless daily doses of love without even thinking about it. That sacred collection of loving gestures far outweighs this morning’s clothing drama, burnt toast, and 7am meltdown. Remember: Love prevails over failures, flaws, and even disastrous mornings.
Rachel Macy Stafford is the founder of handsfreemama.com, where she provides simple ways to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters most in life. She is the New York Times bestselling author of HANDS FREE MAMA. Rachel's new book, HANDS FREE LIFE, describes how she alleviated the pressure she put on herself and her family, as well as how she learned to love herself and her children "as is." This highly anticipated book will be out September 8.