Back to School : Morning Hacks for Mom


It’s hard to believe it, but it’s true. The back-to-school morning dash is about to be on, my friends. In a few short days, our morning schedule is going to include a tardy bell. It’s okay to scream into a pillow if you need to. Just let it out.

I don’t know about you, but my morning “go-get-em” game has to ramp up by at least a factor of 10 when we head back to school. You see, school is not always our first stop of the day. I know I’m not the only one. Swim practice, gymnastics, morning tutoring sessions, therapy, or doctor’s appointments can complicate an already hectic morning.

The demands of morning schedules are immense; and yet, getting off to a calm, prepared start is just as important as getting where you are going on time. Here are my top 10 morning hacks that help you beat the tardy bell without being run ragged.


Set your alarm early. I don’t say this lightly. I love mornings, but I am not a morning person. Does that sound impossible? Well, I promise you it is possible. I have never found waking up to be easy or fun. I wake up groggy, foggy, and can’t find my words or my glasses until I find my cup of coffee. But, when I wake up early enough to defog my brain before dashing out to my first morning appointment, my day is just better. You don’t have to set your alarm an hour early but pushing the clock back 15-30 minutes is going to give you time to be a zombie. You work hard; you deserve that.


Go to bed earlier. Yes, you, mama. This is a tough one for me, and I know it is for a lot of mamas. For some, especially if you have young ones still struggling with getting to sleep, night time can be its own struggle. For me, I write at night, after my little ones are tucked in the bed, the dishes are put away and have time to think. I do, however, have to limit my writing time to make sure that I have enough time to wind down and actually go to sleep.

.Mommy brains don’t shut off; I know this to be true, and that is where the next hack comes in.


Keep a journal by your bed. Write out your morning list of things to do. Even through morning brain fog you can grab that list and get moving. Every night, before I go to bed, I write out my top priorities for the next day. I then set it by my bedside table with a pen so if I think of something that is keeping me awake I can jot it down quickly and get back to sleep.


Freeze your coffee creamer. I freeze my sweetened creamer in an ice cube tray. When I wake up, I brew my coffee in a to-go mug and add the frozen creamer ice cubes. I need my coffee in the morning, but I often don’t take my first sip until I am buckled into the car. Lukewarm coffee is not my favorite, but ice coffee … YUM.


Drink water when you first wake up. The thought of doing this grossed me out at first. I’m a zombie in the morning and struggle to convince myself to eat breakfast. The thought of drinking water first thing, yeeww! But I started doing this a few years ago when a friend of mine told me that it helped her clear her morning fog brain. 8 oz in the morning is a super simple drink. I drink it right before I brush my teeth. I have really noticed a difference. Keeping yourself well hydrated can help you feel better prepared and more relaxed.


Remove all the Q&A from getting dressed. We have all heard to lay out our clothes before going to bed. But I encourage you not only to lay out your kids’ clothes but have them help you do so the night before. This way any of the questions about what they are wearing for the day are handled before the morning. Even if you kids have uniforms, taking care of the prep the night before is going to be a massive time saver. Don’t forget to lay your clothes out, too. Take all the guess work out of the morning.


Prep your own “Ready-to-Go Smoothies.” I make my own smoothie freezer packs. Place your smoothie fruit and veggies of choice in freezer bags. Then, in the morning, you simply add them to your blender with juice, water or milk and boom you are making breakfast without thinking about it. Our favorite smoothie pack includes: fresh carrots, spinach, strawberry, blueberry, banana. I mix it in the blender with almond milk and a bit of spirulina. Yum!


Pack morning snacks and lunches the night before. My kids essentially have two breakfasts. They have their smoothie when they first wake up and then we have a seated breakfast, usually some form of oatmeal. But I also pack a morning snack for the road: raw fruits and veggies, granola, and a to-go-drink. Packing a morning snack takes the stress and pressure out of that table meal. This is especially helpful on those mornings that we have more than one stop or when someone was not quite awake enough to eat their fill at the breakfast table. I make these the night before when I pack lunches and they are ready to go with us in the car. Starting the school day on a full stomach is so important. I love giving my children extra opportunities to fill those tummies before heading into the classroom.


Adopt a “kid-run” check list as a part of your night time routine. This is a checklist that I created for my children. They love it and so do I. Mornings are tough; but afternoons and especially evenings those first few weeks of school are exhausting. I keep the check list right by where the children hang up their school bags. This way it is easy to check their homework and ensure that backpack is ready for successful day at school. We also use the check list to build our confidence, tracking our success with stickers day after day.


Have an “Oh no I spilled … But, I forgot my… Oops we didn’t..” Emergency Car Kit. Seriously, turning around to go back to the house is a time draining, gas draining, stress inducing, “otherwise peaceful-morning-destroying” catastrophe. An emergency u-turn prevention kit can help you keep those wheels rolling toward the school house.

I think of anything that we could forget or need that might cause me to need to turn my van around and I pack a duplicate. My car kit currently includes a brush, some hair ties, wet wipes, bandaids, alcohol wipes, Neosporin, sunscreen, bug spray, a travel toothbrush kit for each passenger, a change of clothes for everybody, 4 un-paper towels and a trash bag. This train is heading for school; no u-turns, y’all.

Well, I did it. I just wrote a back to school post. The heat may still be here; but the fall semester is about to happen! I hope you and your family soaked in all the summer goodness and are ready to jump into an exciting new school year. Now, double check that supply list and get ready to rock this school year, mama. May the odds ever be in your favor.

Stacy Mcdonald-Taylor
Stacy, a former health care program manager, came to the first coast by way of Charlotte, NC. Passionate for community and creative arts. Stacy has worked with families and educators through Parent Education & Outreach Programs. Since welcoming the births of her and her husband’s two delightful, energetic sons, she has worked from home, always seeking to find new ways to provide a joy-filled, creative environment, nurturing a love for people, learning, nature, and healthy, natural/organic foods. Stacy shares tidbits of her “life learnings” on her blog, Wasting Nothing


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