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Oh, the dreaded question: how to have a morning routine as a mom. This topic stings a little, and I get quite sassy because I’ve read books (written by men in a very different season of life than I am) about how much a solid morning routine can really make or break you. And you know what, I think it’s true. I believe what they are saying is SO true. I think if I start my day with prayer, affirmations, journaling, working out, and getting my home cleaned and myself ready before anyone else gets up… yea- that would be fantastic. However, there is a slight issue. I’m a mom. I have 2 kids and a husband.
I want to preface before I go any further that I am talking about a morning routine as mom for you– not the routine with your kids involved. These are things that you want to do before they get up.
I have gained a lot of value from the books I’ve read and highly recommend The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and Atomic Habits by James Clear. Seriously, read them- they are so good. I couldn’t help but notice that nowhere in the books do they talk about what to do when your kid wakes up 3 times that night, and you only got 3 hours of sleep. Nowhere in those books does it explain how to do my morning routine when my kid wants to be held in the middle of it. Journaling with a kid in your hand is difficult- trust me. I’ve done it many times, and I don’t recommend it.
My goal for this post is to bridge the gap. Yes, morning routines are important. Yes, they can literally change your life. How do you do them when you are responsible for more than one life? And those other dear lives are really good at throwing off any schedule- especially one that involves mom having alone time when they are in the next room. They can sense the calm!
Benefits of a Morning Routine as a Mom
I feel like this is preaching to the choir here, because if have read this far you know the benefits. I feel it’s important to list them before we talk about what it takes to have a successful morning routine. This is “keeping the goal in mind.” When our morning routine gets tough, we can remind ourselves why we are doing it.
First and most important, there’s power in waking up before your kids. Having your children be your alarm clock is the literal worst. I saw a meme that said, “no one talk to me before coffee.” Well, a lot of moms are being talked to before their eyes open. Before their feet have hit the ground. In order to take care of the people in your home (and not resent doing it), you must first take care of yourself. You need your coffee. You need to have a thought to yourself before someone asks for milk.
Change your Mindset
For most of us moms, the morning routine is never going to go as planned. You only got to drink your coffee before the kids woke up? FANTASTIC! Even though you didn’t have time to do anything else, isn’t your morning already better? The point here is never perfection- it’s progress. One thing for ourselves in the morning is better than nothing and can make all the difference in our day.
Requirements for a Morning Routine
This part isn’t fun and is the reason most people don’t have a morning routine (with or without kids.) First thing, you have to get up early. There’s no other way. You have to get up before anyone else. If you are anything like me, I can’t concentrate when others are around, especially my children. I love them so much, but having thoughts of my own is nearly impossible when they are present. My thoughts automatically go to “What are they doing? Are they safe? Do I need to change his diaper? Do I need to send more diapers to his day school? Oh, I need to order diapers! Let me get my phone and do that right now.” Annnnnnndddd the morning routine never happens. So, mama, you have to get up.
How to make a morning routine
… and how early should I get up? This is such a good question and, unfortunately, only you can answer it. I am going to walk you through a little exercise to do this.
- Say you had all the time in the morning to do all the things you want to do. No one is going to interrupt you. I want you to make a list of all the things you want to do. Be as detailed as possible and list everything. Go crazy. Maybe you would like to meal prep dinner, run 3 miles, take a shower, get ready, and have time to read the paper. I bet no two people’s “perfect” routine would look alike. For me, I would want to have coffee, pray, journal, do my Bible study, workout, shower, get completely ready, make my bed, and pick up the whole house- all before anyone wakes up.
- Look at the list you made and mark out anything that is not realistic. For example, I can’t make the beds or pick up the house if people are sleeping in the beds and in the rooms I want to clean. That’s not practical. Either a) forget it b) see if you can work it in after the kids have woke up (but completely forget it for the morning routine we are discussing now.)
- Now that your list is smaller, I want you to choose the things that are most important to you. Which things do you really want to do? Maybe you can make time for some of the other things later. For me, I really want to work out before everyone gets up. However, I know that I can work out in the evening and even involve my kids. I cannot journal with them around to save my life! So, journaling stays, and working out goes. Yes, you can keep both- you’ll just have to get up extra early.
- What time does your family typically get up? For me, I know it’s 6:30 am.
- Now that you have your morning tasks written out, estimate how long each task takes. Add them all up. If your total routine takes 1 hour, you will need to wake up at 5:30 am (assuming that your family wakes up at 6:30 am like mine.) This is a great way to estimate the time you should be waking up.
How to Start a New Morning Routine as a Mom
Start with grace knowing that your routine will get interrupted by your family. At first, you will rarely get to do most of the things you want to. That’s ok. Simply getting up before anyone else is enough reason. You are creating opportunities by getting up that early that you will never have by letting your family wake you. And then one day, you get to drink coffee in silence too! You might find that you need that so much that you are going to go to bed earlier so that you can wake up earlier. That definitely was the case for me.
Starting with grace and putting no pressure on yourself, notice how you might want to change your routine. Did you add in too much? Do you want to add something different? Do you need to get up earlier because you enjoyed the silence so much? Starting your day on your own terms with a hot cup of coffee can be enough. Just start! And if you do try any of these tips, please make sure to snap a photo and tag me! I’d love to cheer you on!
Must-read books on productivity: