Myself and my wife are married 6 years, I have fond memories of our first few years of marriage always leaving in the morning with a kiss goodbye, but as the years have passed and our family has grown, each morning is filled with stress and rows and it’s impacting our relationship.
I am sure there are many families that can identify with your situation, and while it is common, it is also relatively easy to improve. Generally rushing is what contributes to a lot of stress in the morning. What jobs can you do the night before that delay you in the morning? Can you have all the clothes ready or the lunches made? What tasks can you delegate to older children?
The biggest improvement you can make is getting up 20 to 30 minutes earlier in the morning. Although having a little less sleep is a tough sacrifice it will mean you being able to get yourself ready in the morning in peace before having to help your kids. I have found starting the morning getting ready together while listening to the 10-minute daily devotional Pray as you Go together has really helped us get out of bed on the right side. Creating enough time will mean that you won’t feel rushed which will stop the knock-on effect. When your children feel rushed and they see your stress it immediately rubs off on them and can just make the problem worse.
You can make the morning time a time for fun and play, singing songs while brushing teeth or getting dressed and having the time to sit down and eat breakfast together.
Currently you are caught in a cycle where stress in the morning is expected, subconsciously you expect cross words, rushing and perhaps raised voices, your body is feeling stress before you have even begun. You need to totally shift this understanding. The morning, when you have prepared well and set aside the time you need, can be a time to start the day with fun, and most importantly love.
Children love routine so have a proper morning routine and set mini-deadlines for yourself, for example everyone dressed by 7.30am at 7.45am we brush our teeth. Start the day with smiles and snuggles (and not just for your kids!) Perhaps the most difficult part but most effective is when things go wrong, stay calm. This is where I find my faith is of huge help because I pray for patience.
Remember you and your wife are a team so work out who can do what part of the preparation and routine best. You can even prepare the porridge the night before. Finally when you are leaving the house start the day with a blessing, your kids will love using a holy water font at the door to bless mommy and daddy and each other. Both for yourself and your wife you can bless the day and start it asking God to watch over you, keep you safe and of course finish with a kiss!