This article is by Rachel Macy Stafford, the New York Times bestselling author of HANDS FREE MAMA.
1. Notice the good — any and all good you can find — even if it is simply, “I am so glad to see your face this morning,” or, “You’ve always had a knack for unique clothing combinations!”
2. If someone is grumpy, let her do something you usually do, like pour the milk from a small pitcher, add the brown sugar to the oatmeal, or decorate a sticky note to put in a family member’s lunch box or briefcase.
3. Pull out a “When you were little…” story. A child’s image of himself tearing pancakes into itty-bitty pieces or calling strawberries “strawbabies” has the potential to bring a smile.
4. Open your arms. Don’t say anything. Just hold on.
5. Decide if it’s a battle worth fighting. If it isn’t, take a deep breath and move on. If it is, speak in a tone that can be heard. Listen in a way that conveys care and concern.
6. Release control of the situation with a peacemaking invitation, like: How would you do it? Show me.
7. Give two minutes. Sit beside him. Rub her back. Get at eye level. Giving two minutes won’t break the schedule, but it could make all the difference in someone’s day.
8. Be especially generous with forgiveness in the morning hour. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Can we start over?” Do-overs are a priceless gift that cost nothing but hold great value.
9. Think to yourself: That’s someone’s baby. That’s my baby. Seeing him or her as a human being who is learning and growing can offer a shred of patience and perspective to get you through a trying moment.
10. When a situation is quickly deteriorating, give yourself a three-second preview of what an angry, critical, or sarcastic response will do. Will it make the situation better or worse? A three-second pause can save a morning, spare some pain, and prevent regret.
On mornings that are not salvageable, remember this: Day after day, you provide countless doses of love without even thinking about it. That sacred collection of loving gestures far outweighs this morning’s clothing drama, burnt toast, and 7 a.m. meltdown. Remember: Love prevails over failures, flaws, and even disastrous mornings.