I’ve always considered myself a morning person. Getting up and getting going—pouring that first cup of coffee while the house was still quiet, checking things off my to-do list left and right while listening to the birds tweet and the rest of the city wake up—it’s always been my favorite. Putting words on paper first thing in the morning jolts my mind awake and helps get the juices flowing, and I used to thrive when I’d wake up before the sun peeked its rays over the horizon….
…And then I had kids and I started waking up early by necessity (i.e. to nurse a baby, to calm a toddler, change a diaper, etc.), and any joyous spunk I had for the “a-m” hours was replaced with a groggy, sleepy-walk induced, hot mess. Lately tough, I’ve been trying to bring that early-bird mentality back into my life, because I’ve noticed that when I have a morning routine, instead of just getting through it in a sleepy-haze, my day is exponentially better.
Trying to make the most of your morning routine, I’ve discovered over the years, is similar to raising kids: nothing will go according to plan, so you have to just go with the flow. However, these are some things I absolutely try to do every morning before the girls get up*. Granted, some mornings I’m lucky if the only thing I can do is to brush my teeth, and that’s okay.
*On a good day (if the baby slept through the night), I wake up around 5 am, and sometimes I only end up having 15-20 minutes before both girls are awake—it’s a wonderful day when they sleep until at least 7. “Sleeping in” for me is snoozing until 6:30, and that usually happens if the baby was up multiple times a night and I literally can’t open my eyes or move my body out of bed. When that happens, I’m usually woken up by my toddler poking me and staring at me two inches from my face. In that case, I skip everything on this list, grab some (cold) coffee, have a sip, and pray I can get through the day.
What do I need in the morning to have a productive day as a stay at home mom? Here are seven things that help make my morning a happy time. (And if I actually accomplish everything on this list before the kids wake up? Watch out world, because then I’m basically ready to conquer the world!)
How to make the most of your morning routine:
Brush ’em, Brush ’em, Brush ’em.
Here’s where we just jump into this and become great friends, because I’m going to admit that if I don’t brush my teeth first thing in the morning, there’s a good chance I’ll forget. And there’s nothing I hate more than realizing I forgot to brush ’em then after I end up leaving the house.
When I had a newborn the first time around, I actually had those disposable toothbrushes in my purse for when I’d forget to brush in the morning. I’d realize it usually just as I left the house, but then those little guys save my breath on the go.
Obviously. Do I even need to dive into this one more? And if you don’t drink coffee, you can sub this out with tea, but starting your day with a delicious warm cup of something that preferably has some caffeine in it is a fabulous and pretty much essential way to start your day. Just the smell of coffee brewing helps perk up my senses.
Treat Yourself: EAT BREAKFAST!
This is intentionally in all caps, because I am, indeed, yelling at you (nicely, of course). We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I’m highly suggesting you eat, because hanger is a real thing, and nobody wants a hangry mama around. When I have breakfast I typically go for something on the savory side, but I also love cereal, and so does Julia. We recently started giving Nature Valley’s new cereals a try, and they’re a hit with our family.
I’m loving the Honey Oat Clusters and Julia and Maddie are fans of the Baked Oat Bites. As a mom, I’m just happy that A) she likes something I’m giving her and B) it’s a lot healthier than other boxes of cereal on the grocery store’s shelves. For starters, Nature Valley’s cereals are packed with protein, and they have 23 grams of whole grain in each serving (which is almost half of the daily recommendation), plus there aren’t any artificial colors, flavors, or high fructose corn syrup, and they taste really, really good!
Keep on reading and find out how you can get your hands on some boxes of cereal…
Take a Hot, Steamy Shower.
The mornings that I start my day off with a shower are simply delightful. Granted, that only happens maybe once a week in the mornings (don’t worry; I shower at night or during nap time), but when it does happen before the girls wake up, I’m in a much, much better place to start my day.
Pull on Those Mom Jeans
As a stay-at-home mom our “uniform” is usually whatever is comfy, semi-clean, and within reach once we get out of bed. I get it: why get dressed if you’re not going out? Because simply putting on jeans (or just “real” clothes) makes you feel more put together. On the days that I don’t change out of my comfy pants (and there are days when that happens), I always feel so incredibly lazy all day. I know some moms love to put on makeup, even if it’s just lipstick and mascara, every morning. Now, I don’t go that far, but if that helps you get motivated to start your day and be more productive, then more power to you.
This is my favorite part of my mornings, so when I actually get some peace and quiet, I’m a very happy person. The TV is off, the kids are in bed (preferably asleep), the lights are low, and it’s just. me. I use this time in the morning to catch up on work, make my to-do list for the day, read parts of whatever book I’m into, and spend time with God. I used to love always having background noise on around me, but now that I have kids, I crave the silence.
Catch Up on Current Events.
I’m a firm believer that if the Disney Channel could put little bits of news in between their shows, moms would be much more informed with what’s going on in the world around us. Do you remember, in high school, how they’d air student-run news (Channel One is what we used to watch)? I loved that.
There are some days where I don’t have the slightest clue about the days hot topics. If I don’t catch the news at night or see it trending on Facebook then I’m out of the loop (and let’s get real, the fact that Kanye West is apparently broke, is not something I consider actual news). One way I combat the lack-of-news-in-my-life situation is that I get an email every day called theSkimm that I love reading. It breaks down the top stories into bite-sized pieces that you can relate to. And since it comes via email, if I don’t get a chance to read it in the morning, I can usually skim it (see what they did there?) throughout the day.
Tell me how you make the most of your morning routine—is it similar to how I roll?