I’m not a morning person. At least I wasn’t. But two little blonde-haired blue-eyed boys at my house sure are. And these two little fellas are on the go ALL DAY LONG. We hit the ground running and before you turn around it’s noon, then dinnertime, then bedtime. The whole day was a whirlwind and I’ve not had a minute to myself all day. So I’m here to tell you, you can save your sanity by waking up early in the morning.
In our mommy daily hustle it’s super easy to overlook how important it is to take a little time for yourself each day. In all honesty, I think it’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Taking good care of yourself is always worth the time, and the dividends it produces are amazing. You can’t be a Supermom and tend to your family all the time if you don’t first take time to make sure you are caring for yourself as well.
First things first: Set Your Alarm
As I said at the beginning of this post, I was never really a morning person. Even now, I’m still a “hit the snooze button” person. Just ask my husband, it’s one of my finer qualities he loves most… well… actually… not so much. I’m working on it. I’m already at least a partially-reformed-snooze-button-hitter.
What really changed my morning habits was becoming a parent. I found I needed some time during the day that was just to myself. And as you moms out there know, time to yourself is sure not the easiest thing to find! Even though I was tired early in the morning, I found more energy through my day if I spent some time centering myself during my morning routine. It’s become a ritual now to me and it’s precious time for myself.
Where do you find the time, though?
Time to yourself, as a mom, is hard to come by. Bedtimes and naptimes for babies and toddlers can get tricky and aren’t always dependable. And honestly, by the end of the day I’m exhausted, so evenings are out for me. I just want to lay on the couch, have a glass of wine or some ice cream and watch mindless television (for the 5-10 minutes I’m going to be able to stay awake) and take a moment to unwind from my day. It’s also the few minutes I have with my husband at the end of the day to spend time with him. I love that time of day too and I don’t want to take away from it.
But early mornings?? Those are wide open! So there’s the time block for me. I’m rested (as rested as a mom of a 5-year-old and 3-year-old will be) and alert (given enough diet coke or coffee) and fresh for the day. I have come to cherish my alone time in the morning and I try to guard this routine for myself. It’s a big part of what helps me stay balanced and sane. I might be playing it a little fast and loose with the word “sane.” You moms know… you’ve been there. It saves some sanity and it helps me be calmer and less stressed.
But what do I do early in the morning?
Now, I probably begin a little earlier than most of you will want to. I’m a work from home Mommy and I try to get a lot of my work in before my house wakes up each day. I certainly don’t advocate getting up at 4:30 am for everyone. I’d suggest aiming for an hour earlier than the kids to allow some time for yourself.
So, here’s what I do each morning:
My alarm goes off (I use my Fitbit as an alarm so that it just vibrates on my wrist and I don’t wake up my husband if possible. The entire world doesn’t have to get up at my crazy hours!)
I shower and dress for the day. Showering isn’t a requirement for the routine, but with 2 little guys, I like to shower before they’ve even thought about waking up. I’m a morning shower person. I just love feeling clean and fresh first thing. And I seem to need it to wake up fully.
After that, I’m down the stairs to begin my day. I start by making myself some coffee, hot chocolate, hot tea or some warm water with lemon. I’m a caffeine junky; but I’ve been surprised as I got used to my routine, I enjoy the coffee, but I don’t need it to stay awake in the morning. Now, come 2 pm – that’s another story! For me, it just needs to be a nice cup of something warm. No matter what it is, it’s like a hug in a mug for me. If I’m hungry, I’ll grab a few graham crackers or a piece of toast. Something lite for a snack.
Now I settle into my favorite chair and here’s the best part of this routine. I have the next 60 minutes to do… wait for it… ANYTHING I WANT!
Here’s a few of my favorite things to do:
I usually do this first. Sometimes I find that my mind is racing with all the things to do that day or to-dos I suddenly remember. I will grab a notebook and take a few minutes to just write down everything that comes to mind. I can make a list of whatever it is later, but for the time being, I just get it all out on paper.
Read a fun book. Not one about parenting, or making myself better, or how to run a business. An actual work of fiction that I love to read. This can get tricky though! If the book gets really good, it’s SO hard to put it down when it’s time to get going for the day.Brain Dump –
Or maybe you want to read a self-help book. My stack I keep handy includes parenting, losing weight, time management, running a business, potty training and gardening. I have a huge stack and I just rotate around as needed or desired.
I use the Headspace app. It’s a guided meditation, and I find that it helps me stay calm(er) through my days and relaxes me in the morning. It usually takes about 10 minutes or less. This might not be for everyone. More than once, I’ve definitely fallen asleep doing the mediation! This has a few free meditations on the app, and you can subscribe to more specific areas that you might want to further develop. I like to do the stress management and healthy eating meditations on the app.
Sometimes I’ll simply watch a TV show by myself. There are some shows my husband isn’t a fan of and doesn’t want to watch with me. I get it – he’s got a few that I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than watch. So sometimes I’ll catch up and watch a show or two. Or a cooking show. Food Network is my favorite thing. I can watch someone else make all the things I’m never going to take the time to make!
Maybe a little yoga, pilates or some simple stretching. I keep it light and easy for sure. I save my cardio for later in the day for a quick work-out video or a walk with the kids. But you do whatever you want! It’s your time!
Sometimes, I end up going back to sleep on the couch – and that’s ok too!
In short, do anything you want!
For this hour, do whatever relaxes you. Whatever restores you. It’s your time. For you. Draw peace and strength from it. It’s truly time just for yourself.
When I finish with my morning routine, I usually check in with email, get the backpacks ready for the day, straighten up the house and before you know it, those little boys are up and going and our day together has begun!
Take it from this reformed snoozer, once you get in the habit, getting up a little earlier isn’t even all that hard. It’s all about the routine that your body gets used to. Start with 15 minutes earlier wake-up times and increase it by five or ten minutes every few days. Within a week or two, you’ll be at your desired wake up time!
I truly look forward to my time and no longer mind the early wake-up call. Let’s not get nuts, I do still hit the snooze button some days. BUT, I get up and going and I’m always so glad I did. Making time for yourself as a mommy is hard but absolutely necessary. I hope you’ll give my routine a try and find your perfect way to start your day.
Now, go save your sanity and start planning your new morning time for yourself!