My Morning Routine… and how it sets the tone for my family’s dayposted by Andrea | 04/21/2015
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a morning person (even in high school and college when no one is a morning person).
I LOVE waking up early, getting ready, and getting a bunch of stuff done before the rest of the world (or at least my family) wakes up.
However, that all changed when we had Nora and I was literally getting 3-4 hours of very broken sleep every night. I was more tired, exhausted, and cranky than I’ve ever been in my entire life… and for the first time in my life, I dreaded the morning hours.
After MANY months of trying to find my “morning routine groove” again, I gave up and decided that for the time being, mornings were just not going to be “my time of day” anymore. Instead, I taught myself to become more of a night person. I slept in longer (I was sleeping with Nora every night so I slept as long as she let me) and stayed up much later at night to enjoy the quieter hours after she finally gave in and fell asleep.
That system worked very well for a couple years, but I knew that whenever we could get her to start sleeping better at night, I would eventually want to revert back to my beloved early morning routines.
It took much longer than we thought to finally get Nora sleeping… but she’s doing great now! Simon has been a great sleeper since the beginning… which means for the past 6 months or so, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying getting back to a more consistent morning routine.
I am usually able to get up, get ready, eat something, and do a little work before the kids are awake — and I can not even tell you how much of a difference this has made in my life (that might sound dramatic, but it’s true!)
Even just 20-30 minutes by myself in the morning completely lifts my spirits and sets a much more positive tone for my day. Plus, if I’m not ready myself before the kids get up, there’s a very real chance I’ll still be in my PJ’s at lunch time!
I know not everyone is a morning person — but since I’m thrilled to be back in my morning routine, I thought it might be fun to share a bit more about what that looks like at this phase in my life.
My (general) Morning Routine:
Dave wakes up every day around 5:30am — and although I don’t always wake up with him, I’ll often get up by 6:00 depending on what time I went to bed and how well the kiddos let me sleep that night 🙂
After I’m up, my mornings go as follows…
1. Get dressed and ready:
- Drink a bunch of water and go to the bathroom.
- Wet my hair with a spray bottle, towel dry it, and comb it.
- Put on deodorant and face cream (this post talks more about my beloved face/eye cream)
- Make my bed and get dressed while my hair dries and my face cream “soaks in”.
- Back to the bathroom to put on mascara and Vaseline. (update: after several questions and one mildly inappropriate email, I suppose I should clarify that the Vaseline is for my lips. I thought this was very obvious as I’ve always used Vaseline in place of chapstick or lip gloss… but I guess not.)
- My hair is dry now (it only takes about 5 minutes) so I style it with some hair paste and hair spray (whatever brands are on sale).
- If we’ll be going somewhere special during the day, I’ll put a little extra make up on — like concealer and bronzer, but a normal day means just mascara and Vaseline for me
(Head’s Up: I’m doing a giveaway of Simple Beauty Mineral Makeup next week!)
Everything I listed above takes about 15 minutes total — so as long as I’m awake at least 15 minutes before the kids (which is almost always the case) I can be fully “ready for the day” before they are running around needing me for everything… and that’s my goal.
2. First Breakfast:
After I’m physically dressed and ready, I head to the kitchen for “first breakfast”.
I like to eat breakfast with the kids if possible, but I’m too hungry when I wake up to wait. I’ll often have yogurt and fruit, a muffin, or a bagel with juice right when I wake up (no, I don’t drink coffee). Then I’ll eat more with the kids whenever they wake up (often waffles, pancakes, eggs, or something hot).
My first breakfast only takes about 5 minutes since it’s always something quick.
Also, I really can’t talk about “first breakfast” without a shout-out to Kevin and Pam from The Office. “Pregnant Pam and I, we get hungry at the same times so we’ve been eating together a lot. Not all meals. Just, second breakfast, lunch, second lunch, and first dinner.”
Watch this clip if you have no idea what I’m talking about 🙂
After my first breakfast, I head to the computer and do the following.
- Weed through all my emails — delete, file and respond to everything I can.
- Send out any necessary emails or messages.
- Respond to any blog comments and social media posts from the last 10 hours or so.
- Re-read my blog post for that day.
- Look over my to-do list and get started on a shorter project if time allows.
I’ll keep working until Nora wakes (between 7:00 and 7:30am). She likes to eat grapes and cheese while watching a little Curious George. I usually let her watch TV until Simon wakes up (usually around 8:00am) and yes, she’s always needed that “down time” in the morning to wake up 🙂
4. Prepare for the day:
After Nora wakes up, but before Simon wakes up, I put my work away and start “preparing for the day” as I like to call it.
- Open all the curtains and blinds
- Pack up the diaper bag and/or load up the car or stroller if we’re going somewhere.
- Get things ready for breakfast.
- Do any dinner prep (like defrosting something from the freezer or marinating meat).
- Empty the dishwasher and/or start a load of laundry if necessary.
5. Second Breakfast + clean up:
Once Simon is awake, he has a quick bottle and I change his diaper. Then he and Nora play in the living room for a few minutes while I get “second breakfast” together. We all sit down together and eat — sometimes it feels more like a food fight than actual eating (and yes, my food is almost always cold by the time I eat it) but I do like sitting down together to eat.
Of course, it takes me almost as long to clean up after breakfast as it does to prepare and eat breakfast — but the kids are USUALLY fairly good about playing together while I clean up… usually 🙂
6. Get kids dressed and ready:
Simon is usually first — we change his diaper (again) and get him dressed. Then we head upstairs to get Nora ready. After she is dressed, we’ll play upstairs for a while.
If it’s nice out, we’ll often go for a walk in the morning — usually to run errands around town (bank, groceries, post office, etc.) and then play outside for a while.
We eat lunch almost every day around 11:30am — and honestly, there are many days when I feel like I’ve run a marathon by lunch.
I know it might sound awful, but my goal for the mornings is just to “make it to lunch” because after lunch, Simon will usually take a decent nap (2 hours) and Nora will either help me bake, work on a craft project while I work on my computer, or play outside while I do yard work.
Lunch + clean up usually takes us a full hour because both kids eat really slow (and there’s a huge mess to clean up). So if Simon goes down for his nap shortly after 12:30, he’ll often sleep until 2:30, and then Dave his home at 3:30 — so it makes the afternoons seem REALLY short!
Even though I am definitely a morning person, I’d be lying if I said sleeping in never sounded glorious to me! In fact, there are MANY mornings when I’d like to keep sleeping until Nora wakes up instead of getting up early to start my day.
However, I know from lots of personal experience that whenever I “give in” and sleep longer than I should, the WHOLE day is just off-kilter. I end up in my pajamas until lunch, which means we usually don’t get outside or go for a walk in the morning. I’m usually crankier, which makes the kids crankier, which makes being cooped up inside that much more hectic and unpleasant.
Everyone ends up in a worse mood when Dave gets home from school and I usually end up staying up way too late trying to finish everything I didn’t get done during the day. This makes it even harder to get up on time the following morning. It’s just a huge domino effect that continues to spiral out of control — and it can all be prevented if I simply get up on time each day.
Of course, every day doesn’t always go as planned — and even on the days when I do get up on time, there are hundreds of other variables that could cause a not-so pleasant day, but those are usually out of my control
The time I wake up IS in my control, and as I mentioned above, waking up on time and starting my day off on the right foot usually makes a drastic difference in how the rest of our day flows and the mood for my entire family.
So yes, I’m thrilled to have some sort of a normal morning routine going on again (after a 3-year hiatus)! Even though I’m sure things will change again when the new baby comes, I’m just enjoying a little more structure for now!
Are you a morning person or not?
Either way, are you the type who tries to wake up before others in your home? Do you also find that the day runs smoother when you wake up earlier? Or do you have another system that works well for you?