Written by Vanessa Giguère, designer by trade, writer in her free time, full-time mom and a subscriber of #slowliving.

Note from the PRANA family:
Many of us are at home with the kids, keeping up our routine so as not to disturb the younger ones, while trying to juggle each other’s work schedules. A few weeks ago, we asked Vanessa to tell us about her weekday mornings getting ready for school with two young children. Her method, which she’s tested and adapted over time, to live these moments more peacefully.

Does it still apply? We think so. Because, despite the circumstances, mornings with your family will continue. And because this brief slowdown is an excellent excuse to look ahead and take a look at your morning routine—once this storm passes.

We wish you health and peaceful mornings!

For years I was that mom with 1,001 projects. The one who was constantly adding to her to-do list. Becoming a mother had sent my brain into overdrive. It was sweet but exhausting at the same time, a beautiful contradiction.

One day, I felt the need to slow down. The concept of ‘slow living’ is often lauded as the trend to adopt, a polished lifestyle that looks good on Instagram. For me, slow living was a life saver. Slowing down out of necessity, as a survival instinct, is one of the most meaningful lessons that motherhood has indirectly taught me. 

For the past few years, I’ve been putting in place small routines and rituals to make our days less hectic. Weekday mornings with two school-aged children can be particularly overwhelming. There is obviously no miracle solution, some things can work wonders for some families and be of no help to others. Our habits also change with the seasons; some are dictated by the weather and others are dictated by our kids’ ages and our current family dynamics. Here are a few tips that, at one time or another in our family, have allowed us to breathe, appreciate the present moment and start our days off as gently as possible.

Preparing clothes for the week
If you’re a parent, you know how stressful getting dressed in the morning can be. To avoid wasting precious time negotiating, looking for your child’s favourite shirt, or explaining for the thousandth time that the pants he’s looking for are in the laundry, I’ve discovered that choosing clothes for the week with your kids on Sunday evenings is a game changer! No joke, taking out five outfits for the week only takes a few minutes, and the kids then put them in their closet, on a separate shelf for each day of the week. That’s it! 

A calm, gentle atmosphere
In the winter, when the sun is late to rise, a candlelight breakfast can be a wonderful way to slowly start the day. During the summer, we particularly enjoy eating breakfast outside, with the birds chirping. You can also create a soundtrack for your mornings by choosing music for the ambiance you’d like. 

Ready-to-eat breakfast
In my book, slowing down doesn’t necessarily mean doing less. Sometimes, it’s simply a question of rethinking how you do things so that your daily life runs more smoothly and is less stressful. By preparing a smoothie ahead of time that the kids can serve themselves or having ready-made granola on hand, the morning routine will feel much less rushed. You can even take the time to sit down and enjoy your breakfast together.

A peaceful moment just for you
I think every parent is able to appreciate a moment of peace and silence. For me, it allows me to start my day on the right note. A few lucky parents are able to wake up before their kids, while others (like me) take a 15-minute break once the kids are out the door, for example. Whether you use that time for stretching, a short yoga routine, to read a few pages of a book, or simply to enjoy your coffee, this short time just for you, where you feel anchored in the present moment, is so important, especially when you spend your days giving to others and taking care of your children. You sincerely deserve this short break.

All changes take time to put in place, but by integrating small rituals one by one to slow down your hectic day, I’m sure you’ll be able to see the benefits they have for your family.