Before I had kids, I was totally a morning person. In fact, when I was in elementary school, I often remember waking up before my parents and trying to be noisy just so they could get up! I’d wait for what seemed like forever til I’d finally hear the bed creak or the toilet flush.
I carried this pattern of early morning rising through my college years. I liked the feeling of being up early, before everyone else was. It made me feel ahead of the game and like I was accomplishing more (even if I really wasn’t!).
When I became a stay at home mom, however, this changed. I started sleeping in more and more. Waking up early became something I did when I absolutely had to, like if I had to be at an appointment or something. Between nursing through the night and staying up late, it didn’t take long for my whole day to be backwards, and I became a night owl.
And this was kind of ok, when I just had one child. It just so happens that my first child likes to sleep in as well, which really spoiled me! But then my second child was born, and with the gene for waking up early. And I mean, we’re talking in the 6 o’clock hour or earlier. Do you have a child who does this? Please say yes. I can’t be the only one! 🙂
But I started realizing that I was going to have to change something. I couldn’t just keep doing what I was doing because I would wake up feeling behind everyday. Do you know what that feels like? If so, you can understand my struggle!
For a person who is very structured and systematic, feeling like I’m behind from the time I wake up can potentially frustrate my whole day. I’d often find myself upset that my child was already up and needing/wanting things. And sometimes I’d even wake up after both my kids were already awake! After spending years in the same cycle, I decided to do something different.
I decided to become a morning person again and start making a morning routine.
I saw the idea on another blog and I was like, hey, I want to try that! So I sat down and jotted down a morning routine and planned to do it the next day.
And it went well! For like, a week.
Then I’d either wake up too late or get distracted doing other things. And then I’d get frustrated, both at myself and my kiddos, for feeling like my time was being stolen by the million little things that seemed to always be demanding attention.
So I did some troubleshooting and a good honest evaluation. Did I even need a morning routine? How could I actually stick to one, if I had one?
I realized a few things that would help my morning routine stick everyday and go from just being a routine to being a habit. It feels good everyday to wake up and have a small routine I that I do that gives me the needed boost to continue my day. I f you’re wanting to start out your morning right by implementing your own morning routine, here are my top 5 tips on how to do it.
Go to bed!
This seems obvious, but any time I’m not able to stick to my morning routine I can pretty much 100% of the time blame it on not going to bed at a decent time. Sleep is super duper important and it’s really challenging for your body to stay awake and alert during the day. As a stay at home mom, you’re constantly around your bed, so this presents an added challenge!
When my kids go to bed, that’s when I “come alive,” as I used to say. Without anyone constantly needing me, I can focus on all the projects I have on my heart and do all the research I so love doing! However, I’ve found that if I want to do get my personal morning routine done, I need to get up early. I have prayer and worship in my morning routine, and I don’t like to be distracted while I pray. So that would absolutely necessitate me being up before my littles.
I had to come to a place where I decided what’s more important to me. Would I rather stay up till the wee hours of the morning working on projects and wake up late? Or would I rather start my day out early with a morning routine that includes spending time with the Lord? I knew I couldn’t do both, especially since I wanted peace and quiet in the morning!
Needless to say, my morning routine won. So now, I try to make sure that I go to bed at least by 10-10:30 to be up by 5.
Granted, I don’t always stick to this. There are nights when my personal projects win, or when one of our kiddos is sick and I’m up through the night. But I’ve decided that if at least 80% of the time I’m completing my morning routine, that’s good enough for me!
Tip: Set an alarm on your phone that goes off 30 minutes before bedtime. That way you can get your nighttime routine done too 🙂
Start your day by drinking a glass of water
The reason I drink water as soon as I get up is because I’m usually nursing through the night, so by the morning, I’m pretty parched. But when I was in high school, my dad told me that we should all drink water first thing in the morning. So it would be part of my morning routine even if I wasn’t nursing.
Drinking water first thing in the morning is one of the easiest things to do. It wakes me up and feels like it gets my systems moving. I used to do coffee first thing in the morning, but I realized that that probably wasn’t a good idea. Caffeine after not eating for at least 8 hours is probably a shock to your system!
Start your day with a glass or two of water and see how it starts waking up your system. Then you can move right on to the next thing!
Tip: Add a squeeze of lemon to your water for an extra boost of vitamin C!
Do your most important thing
For me, the most important thing I could do during any day is have my devotional time with God. I’ve found that when I do this first thing every morning, I’m free to focus on the rest of my daily routines knowing I’ve done the greatest thing I could do during the day.
If I don’t do my most important thing in the morning, here’s what happens: I will intend to do it at another time during the day. And there’s a (small) chance that it will actually happen. But there’s a bigger chance that it might not even get done at all. And I’ve fallen into this trap enough times to know that I need to prioritize!
What is the most important thing you can do during your day? Put that first (right after you drink your water :)).
Tip: Read this book by Brian Tracy. He discusses the concept of putting your most important thing at the beginning of the day, along with other tips on how to get more done in less time!
When I first started implementing the morning routine I shared above, I realized quickly that I was going to have to exercise some discipline (at least at the beginning, until it became a habit).
I’m a person who likes to accomplish things. I can’t help it. I’ve tried to deliver myself from this type of mentality, but to no avail, so I’ve just accepted myself for how I am 🙂 But with this being said, I do realize that I can often get drawn into doing a bunch of small, accomplishable tasks at the expense of the bigger and more important ones.
For instance, if I wasn’t able to clean the kitchen the night before, then it’s quite easy for me to get sucked into doing that first thing in the morning. But that’s not what I want to spend my precious morning hours doing!
Sometimes, I’ll literally tell myself, Water. Spend time with God. Make bed. Emails. Silly, I know, but it’s helped me stay on task!
Keep yourself focused in the morning. These are your precious wee hours (or minutes), so focus them on what’s going to help your day be more productive!
Make it easy and conquerable
I only have five things on my morning routine, and this in on purpose. If I made my routine too long, I don’t think I’d be motivated enough to be consistent with it daily.
As I said previously, my big thing that I do is spend time with the Lord. Everything else is a quick and easy task that literally can take just a couple minutes, so I feel accomplished by the time I finish my routine and ready to take on the rest of the day!
After your most important thing, I suggest either a few easy things or maybe one more big thing. Think about what you really want to get done every morning and start incorporating it!
Tip: If you need help getting motivated to stick to your routine, try adding a reward at the end (like a cup of coffee or tea!)
I hope this helps you to be able to put together a morning routine that you can stick to. There’s nothing like having a productive morning! If you’d like more insights on time management for stay at home mamas, grab yourself a copy of Kathy Peel’s Family Manager books (this one and this one). They’ve transformed the way I think about time and are a constant resource for me.
Do you have any other insights to add to this list? Share in the comments below!