Giveaway: $500 AmEx Gift Card plus a case of your favorite general MilLs Cereal
If there was ever a movie of my life, it would open with Harlow crying and me waking up reluctantly. Whether I go into her room to get her or she comes into my room to get me, the first dialogue spoken would be— “I want something to eat.”
No “good morning”. Harlow doesn’t play that game. The girl knows what she wants and she asks for it immediately.
Then we would cut to a fast paced action sequence where I make my cup of coffee, warm up Mazzy’s “milky” and fix Harlow’s breakfast (frozen waffle and a bowl of cereal) all at once. I have these three tasks down to a well-timed science— from turning on the coffee maker to screwing the lid on Mazzy’s cup to pouring the milk just high enough in Harlow’s bowl. It’s all worked out so I am never standing still in the kitchen with nothing to do and I have everything ready within three minutes which is exactly the amount of time it takes to defrost Harlow’s waffle.
Not movie material, you say? Did I mention I do everything WITH ONE ARM while I hold Harlow with the other? She’s no spring chicken, you know!
Okay, you’re right. My mornings would make a TERRIBLE movie. Plus, as Harlow has gotten older, I get away with plopping her on the counter as opposed to actually holding her.
But, for what it’s worth, I am seriously impressed with my speed and agility while my kitchen routine is happening. If there was a coffee-making-cereal-pouring event in the Olympics, my time would definitely qualify.
Unfortunately, my kids don’t seem to appreciate my high-speed breakfast coordination and are constantly demanding things like “Cheerios!!!!” and “Syrup!!!!!” even though they can plainly see me working like a mad woman to accommodate them and get them situated.
Mornings (unlike evenings) must run exactly according to plan or else all hell breaks loose. Even if you are running late or the system is breaking down, you must give the impression that all is going smoothly or else you run the risk of derailing your children completely.
It’s a tricky game getting everyone out the door and to work/school/camp/daycare on time.
Today, General Mills asked me to talk about my trusted morning hacks that make those early AM hours run as smoothly as possible. Which is funny because cereal is the only way we get Harlow to drink milk, since she stopped drinking milk when we took away her bottle at age one. I’ll call that Morning Hack #1.
Many readers have advised me to get rid of the television in the mornings, but that would mean I would also be giving up Morning Hack #2— threatening to turn the TV off if Mazzy doesn’t get herself dressed.
“Can you pause it, Mom?”
“And send Harlow into hysterics? OF COURSE NOT!”
Thankfully, Mazzy runs into her room and comes back fully dressed within ten seconds, the horror of spending precious morning time away from the TV too much to bear. Her outfit usually doesn’t match but that brings me to Morning Hack #3, which is really more of a parenting philosophy I stole from a reader on my Facebook page.
She said, “I’d rather raise an independent child than a well-dressed one”.
Yep. I agree. Coordinating outfits sounds too time-consuming for busy mornings. I question how the moms of well-dressed children choose to spend their time.
After she finishes her waffle, Harlow usually asks about Daddy’s whereabouts, so I tell her to “go see where he is” which is my Special Mom Code for “WAKE THAT MAN UP SO I’M NOT DOING THIS BY MYSELF!”
Sending Harlow to wake up Mike is Morning Hack #4, because once he’s up, he’ll come in the kitchen and make breakfast for Mazzy while I start to get ready.
Speaking of getting ready, that makes me think of Morning Hack #5, which should actually have been Morning Hack #1— showering at night. This accomplishes two things: 1) I don’t waste time drying my hair. 2) I get to shower in peace.
Want a great hack for drinking your coffee? Try Morning Hack #6— instead of drinking it, just abandon it! Your kids are never going to give you those five precious minutes to sip quietly anyway and you know you’ll end up reheating and reheating again until you finally give up and spill it out in the sink. I say, just recognize your coffee for what it is— something to gaze at from afar while you run around like a chicken with your head cut off.
Morning Hack #7 is brushing Mazzy’s hair while she eats breakfast. Yes, hair and food are a disgusting combination but add the double distraction of television and there is way less screaming involved. When there is no screaming, I actually enjoy doing Mazzy’s hair.
Harlow always wants to hang out in the morning which doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with getting myself ready, so I’ve invented Morning Hack #8. I give Harlow a big make-up brush and the cap of my translucent powder so she can pretend to put on make-up too. She likes to stand on the toilet and look at herself in the magnifying mirror. Best of all, she’s doing it right next to Mommy.
When Mazzy was still in school, we would pack her backpack with snacks so that they were there for her after school, regardless of who picked her up. That’s Morning Hack #9. It doesn’t save time in the morning, but it certainly has saved my sanity on more than one afternoon.
Lastly, if Mazzy or Harlow are still hungry when we are heading out the door, I implement Morning Hack #10—filling up a plastic baggie with cereal to-go. There aren’t many other things you can feel good about giving your kids in the morning, that still feels like a snack.
Thankfully, my friends at General Mills know how much parents depend on cereal in the morning, so they are constantly working to make their cereals better. For the past few years, they have been working to make whole grain the first ingredient and reduce sugar across all their cereals. Now, they are working to remove all the artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources. More than half of General Mills cereals (like our favorites, Cheerios, Chex and Cinnamon Toast Crunch) are already free from artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources, but now they’re working on cereals like Lucky Charms and Trix too. Good news for that rabbit!
To help spread this news, General Mills is giving one lucky reader a $500 American Express Gift Card and a case of your favorite cereal!
1) To enter, you must be a Mommy Shorts daily or weekly subscriber. If you are not already a subscriber, you can sign up here.
2) Leave a comment below describing your favorite morning hack. You can also enter by posting a photo on the Mommy Shorts Facebook page or on Instagram tagging #mymorninghack. If you enter on Instagram, make sure you tag and follow both @mommyshorts and @generalmills to win.
Read the full rules here.
Winner will be selected at random and announced on June 30th.
Just don’t steal using the toddler to wake up Dad. THAT’S MINE.
This post was sponsored by General Mills who does not endorse my morning hacks, just my love of all things CEREAL.