I have always been a morning person. I love the quiet and the feeling of new possibilities that come each day. How yesterday’s struggles can be distanced and put in the rear-view.
After having kids and especially starting a business, my need for time to myself became that much more apparent. I found that if I woke up when the kids did, or worse yet–was woken up by them, I was immediately in reaction mode. The endless “Mom, I need…” demands were fast and furious not to mention the running to do list in my own head of all the things I was already behind on. It trickled into the rest of my day which caused me to feel like I was constantly playing catch up. The madness had to stop.
As mentioned I love mornings and once my babies slept through the night most of the time, I felt like I could start loving my mornings again. Disclaimer, if you’re little darling is still getting up at night–this post is not for you, yet. Sleep, my sweet friend. Whenever you can, however you can. The day will come when they do sleep through the night, trust me on this. If it’s your first kiddo, you might be shaking your head. You might even shake a fist, cry some well-deserved mama tears or throw some swear words at me. It’s ok, I understand. My oldest child was a terrible sleeper. I truly thought that I was going insane and I felt so sorry for myself thinking this was my new normal. That I would literally never sleep again. Now, 10 years later, this kid actually slept in until 10am yesterday! Crazy, right! Hang in there, mama. And side note (I could go on all day, but I’m going to attempt to keep this short), all the things that you think you need to do, you don’t. The laundry, dishes, mopping floors, home cooked meals…Precious Friend, here’s your assignment, did you keep your baby alive today? Did you take care of that sweet lovebugs Mama? Done! You did it. I wish I would have been easier on myself in those early months with a baby in tow. I literally cried over my need to vacuum (the hormones didn’t help!). Even if your baby isn’t a newborn, sometimes you just need to give yourself grace and space to love on those little people and that’s enough. Take-out, premade meals, delivery services for as many things as you can. Amazon is a dream. This ideal that I thought I had to live up to was so hard for me to let go of and yet absolutely impossible to attain. I would just love to encourage anyone else that might be struggling with this that you are not alone.
Ok, got that out of my system. Let’s get back on track.
My morning routine is what saved my sanity. Here’s why. When I get up before everyone else does, I have time to actually think without any interruptions (cue the chorus of “Mom!!!”) I can fill up my own cup, literally and figuratively and enjoy the sweet quiet.
Here’s what I do.
I get up between 5am-5:30am just about every day. I actually don’t use an alarm clock. I found that I would wake up well before it went off because I was afraid it would wake up Justin. In the beginning, you might need one. Side note, I don’t sleep in the same room as my cell phone (more on this later), so a bedside clock is what I use.
Once I’m up, I literally fill my cup. I used to drink coffee, but after realizing how much damage the acid was doing to my body and the caffeine was messing with my mind, I switched it up and now drink an energy fizz drink and detox tea with a splash of vanilla coffee creamer. Pick whatever works best for you. If you love coffee, go for it. Have a tea you adore, drink it. There’s something about a warm mug that just makes my heart happy.
Next, with my cup in hand, I pray. I ask God to guide my feet, hands and heart. To set my intention for the day so I can do His good works. Next, I read. I usually start with a short devotional of some kind. Nothing fills up my emotional cup better than Jesus. Right now, I’m reading through Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life.” After I read a few pages of that, I’m onto my next book. I’m a personal development junkie and at any given time, I’m reading 1 or 2 books about personal growth. I love that I can gain so much insight, knowledge and wisdom from the comfort of my own home. In the year and ½ since I committed to reading like this, I have seen it play out in my life. Because I am more grounded, I can deal with my life, kids and work better. I see hope and possibilities, where I used to just see problems. Right now as I type this we are on day 13 of self-quarantine due to Covid-19, the pandemic sweeping the world. When left to my own devices, I easily fall down a rabbit hole of fear, pessimism and self-pity. It has been through praying and reading that I have gained a much better perspective on how to navigate life better. And gosh, that is being tested right now.
Next I jot done the top priorities for the day, usually three things and no more than five. Then I’m on to focusing on the rest of the crew. I put on music that makes me feel happy and I dive in.
Up until two weeks ago, my next step was to finish getting myself ready, fix lunches, whip up a protein shake, glance at my emails and see if anything needed to be addressed right then, make breakfast and get the kids up and ready for school. We would leave by 7:35am to get everyone where they needed to be on time. With self-quarantine, our days have drastically changed. My goal now is to write and then exercise for 30 minutes. Truly, I never thought the day would come when my girls slept past 5am (not only did Hailey not want to go to bed, she was also an early riser like her mama. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sleep for the first year of her life).
My morning routine absolutely saved my sanity. I was a happier, more relaxed wife and mom. I felt like I had a piece of my day already checked off my list. My mind ready and focused. Plus I was already caffeinated!
Right now, I feel like I need the routine even more. To have some kind of structure and normalcy even when the world feels like chaos. There is so much I can’t control, so holding onto something I can feels incredibly precious.
Do you have a morning routine? How has it helped you and your family?
Last thought: Why I don’t sleep in the same room as my cell phone.
I have struggled most of my adult life with anxiety. Of balancing my endless to do list with perfectionism. With feeling overwhelmed at times by completely unrealistic expectations. One day I was at bible study and very wise words were spoken about the drawbacks of having our cell phone in the same room that we sleep in. A light bulb went off and I moved my phone to the kitchen. That night I slept better. In the morning, by not checking my phone right away, I wasn’t in reaction mode. I realized that by responding to the world first (emails, social media, texts) that I wasn’t in control of my day. Instead I was thinking about how I was going to react to everyone else. By putting my phone in another room, the temptation to check it late at night or early in the morning was gone. I was actually able to give my mind a break. Right now this feels paramount. Covid-19 is all over the news and can easily be all-consuming. By setting parameters, especially right before bed (I try not to use my phone 1 hour before sleep) my mind is able to regroup from the day. And by not checking first thing in the morning, I’m able to focus on my priorities first and respond to everything else second. My mental health is definitely better for it.
What do you do to limit your screen time? Would love to hear your thoughts.