The simple trick that made me a better mum

Changing this one thing about my morning helped my whole family function better.

The horrible moment came four weeks ago. I was trying to get out the door to work in the morning, covered in cornflakes, my daughter half-dressed, my son dragging his daycare bag. I was late; of course I was late. I was always late. Hustling two toddlers out the door every morning is an Olympic event, and my match-fitness was severely lacking. I dreaded having to text my boss a falsely cheerful message saying ‘Running a bit late! Be there soon!’

‘What darling?’ My daughter was saying something as she climbed into her car seat.

I raced to the front seat and threw my bag across the car to the passenger side. ‘What?’

‘Can you play my favourite song, I said.’

‘Sure,’ I said distractedly. Then a moment of horror. ‘What…what is your favourite song?’

‘My favourite!’ she said again. I was silent Then, to my relief, she said ‘Justine!’

I was quiet the rest of the drive. When had I become so time-poor that I’d stopped listening to my kids? When had I become so rushed I crammed down nothing but sugary muffins and cheap, scalding coffee from the corner store as I raced the clock to my desk? Was I ever going to take control of my day, and find a way to reconnect with my children?

It was a big question; but the answer turned out to be surprisingly small. That same day I had drawn a blank on what my kid liked to listen to in the car, I hit my desk and opened an email offering me the chance to review a top-of-the-range coffee machine from De’Longhi. ‘God yes,’ I replied, thinking ‘Boy, I really need this!’ But I had no idea exactly how much.

Until the super-shiny machine made its satisfying arrival in its brand-new box, I’d been living on cardboard cups of coffee from the work kiosk, or a hurried cup in my kitchen, guzzled before the kids woke up- or more often, left to go cold before being forgotten.

But having a fun new coffee machine on the benchtop was a game-changer; not just for me as a mum, but my whole family. Until I had barista-quality coffee on tap, I never knew what a big difference a small change could make to my energy, mood and health.

Over the four-week trial, I found myself skipping the snooze button in the morning because I was keen to get into the kitchen to make a cup of perfect coffee, brewed the way I like it. The machine is obviously smarter than my husband-  the De’Longhi allows you to program six different ‘preferred’ coffees, so it’s perfect every time, unlike his efforts (sorry, babe).

I looked forward to that ‘me time’ so much that I made it out of bed earlier and earlier each day, and by doing that, I was able to spend a more and more precious ‘mum time’ minutes enjoying myself. Alone. With nobody yammering at me or asking for WeetBix. Bliss.

Sure, it’s not yoga, or meditation, but my soothing little morning ritual became crucial, and cleared my mind for the day. And a calm mind meant a smoother, more streamlined morning for everyone (let’s be honest, mums are always better with caffeine in their system!)

Starting the day off this way had a knock-on effect; I was calmer with the kids, and found it easier to get everyone ready and out of the house; once they were safely delivered to daycare, I didn’t need to stop for coffee at work, so I saved the fifteen minutes I’d previously have wasted waiting in line and fumbling with my bankcard at the kiosk. When I hit my desk I was already charged up and ready for the day.

Then, a productive morning meant leaving on time. Leaving on time gave me extra hours to organise dinner, and prepare for the next day. It was a self-perpetuating cycle that I was happy to be caught up in!

Taking time to myself each morning seemed like that last thing a rushed mum should be doing, but in fact it was exactly what I needed. By the last week, I’d made arrangements to own a De’Longhi machine permanently. After all, it understands me in ways my husband never has, it gives me back my ‘mum time’ and most of all, now I know all of my daughter’s favourite songs, because I have the time (and the energy) to dance along to them with her on Sunday mornings. After my coffee, of course.

For more information on the De’Longhi Fully Automatic Coffee Machine visit www.delonghi.com