Leftover coconut rice from yesterday's dinner, packed the in kid's school lunch box. No need for cooking early in the  morning.
Here is to parents who get very busy in the mornings, especially moms, many mothers wake up really early to start the day, why wake up at 5am when you can resume work at 8-9am? The reason
is family. Once the alarm rings, all that's in the mother's mind is getting breakfast ready for the family and packing lunch boxes for the kids. There are tips to help on very busy mornings. If you do not have any help. you try to reduce the morning workload by getting some things ready the previous days. I try my best to make use of leftovers. They help make the morning less stressful. Yesterday we cooked the dried tilapia coconut rice and the quantity was a bit much so we can have leftovers. This morning I woke up feeling rested both in body and mind. Warmed the coconut rice for lunch boxes, and only had to oil water for beverage and bread. Everything finished on time, kids left for school early and every one is happy.  You can find all our already packed school lunch boxes here.
Cooking early in the morning is not advisable if you have school kids, especially if what you have to cook is rice or beans. For stir fries or egg sauce in the morning, no wahala at all as they are cooked in seconds. 

Another tip to have a stressful morning is to ensure that the kitchen is clean before retiring to bed. I hate to have to wash yesterday's lunchboxes in the morning when I need to get things ready for the day. When the kitchen is clean, you feel enthusiastic and want to just sit there and cook. 

Next is some sound in the kitchen. These days, some kitchens come with Television to watch while cooking. A radio or some kind of music in the kitchen is very good, helps to keep you present and happy as you start the day. Without a radio, one can download music to a phone and use in the morning but the problem with that is you may want to save battery some mornings when electricity fails. I like these small inexpensive radios that use both batteries and electricity, when power fails, you make use of the batteries in the radio. With some FM stations blaring cool music in the background, you are forced to move your feet while washing those vegetables, sometimes the song is familiar and you can't help but sing along and start the day happy.

It's very important to start your day on a happy note, it affects the whole family, when the kids wake up and see mom swinging her body to some music while stirring the pot of fried rice, they automatically smile and sometimes join with laughter about mummy's awkward dance steps and when hubby enters the kitchen and meets  madam humming a song or shaking her baba while dishing the food, he'll smile and the result is that the whole family starts the day happy. The reverse is the case when mummy is seen frowning early in the morning because she feels tired and her thoughts have gone far while cooking, her thoughts have taken her to a scene in the office the previous day where her boss scolded her or where a colleague disrespected her and honestly, that frown in the morning will make the house uncomfortably quiet as everyone will notice even if no one says anything about it. The kids will quickly greet mom and respect themselves while hubby will just be thinking "Why is my wife looking like this early in the morning or am I not trying my best?"

One thing that helps you feel tired and worked up in the kitchen early in the morning is the smells of either rotting vegetables under the sink (In the waste bin), soured food oozing from half open pots, sticky kitchen floors from kids play the previous day. If you like to start the morning feeling less energized. leave that waste bin under the sink with vegetables, fish entrails from yesterdays' cooking and even bad food emptied in it. If you hate bad smells, ensure it is emptied every night before going to bed. Waking to a clean kitchen is magical. Or try doing what I did and even though they all keep complaining, I won't revert. The day I bought a bigger waste bin that kept outside close to the kitchen door and removed completely the small one under the sink was the day I felt like yes, this should have been done a long time ago. If anyone is cooking and needs to quickly dispose of anything, get a bag and place on the kitchen counter, drop in all the waste and as soon as your cooking is done, take the bag outside into the large waste bin that's covered with a heavy duty waste bag. Once the heavy duty bag in the bin is full, it's taken to where the waste management company will pick it up and everyone is happy. No more asking whose turn is it to clean under the sink, no more asking who missed the bin and threw waste on the floor instead...
To have a stress-free morning, keep the waste outside, keep bags for emergency waste and take out the bags as soon as cooking is done.

Another thing that helps you enjoy a stress free morning is a microwave in the kitchen, you don't have to use it all the time but when you need to warm foods like frozen rice or other foods. Warming on the stove can change the texture, consistency and taste of food from fresh to stale. Foods like rice are better microwaved than warmed in a cooking pot. A microwave is a saver especially on busy days and in the morning. You don't have to wait long hours and be checking the time when frozen meats refuse to thaw quickly, toss in the microwave, defrost foods and cook or serve immediately

Freshening up or having a bath first before attending to other needs is very important. This morning, I woke up at 5 am, after my thank you prayer, didn't want to disturb the sleepy heads... I quickly turned on the water heater, brushed my teeth and had my bath before entering the kitchen. Know what that does? Feeling clean and fresh, smelling good helps you feel better about yourself while serving the family. While taking care of others, it is important that we give ourselves the oxygen first and save our lives before trying to save others. If you do not give yourself a bath first before attending to family needs, you'll end up rushing your bath because there is no time left for YOU. If you need to makeup, I bet you'll feel less stressed when you don't have to rush your makeup and don't have to makeup in the car. Brush your teeth, wash your body, get your makeup done before entering that kitchen. When it's time to leave the house, all you do is just change your dress and you are good to go.

Do you moms have tips for a stress-free morning? What do you do as a busy mom, to help start the day more relaxed and happy? Please share with us in the comment box below...