Does this morning routine sound familiar?
I peek into my son’s room, and I can only see his long legs sticking out from under his bed as he struggles to find his missing red sneaker.
My daughter is crying at the breakfast table because the jelly on her toast is – oh my goodness – actually touching the butter.
I rush back into the kitchen still in my pajamas, taking a quick sip of my now cold cup of coffee. I frantically start signing a dozen school forms sitting on the counter that no one remembered to give me yesterday, but that MUST be signed To-Day or the world will end.
When I look up to glance at the clock, I realize that all of us need to be out the door in approximately two minutes.
Then the screaming begins….
“WE’RE GOING TO BE LATE!!!!”
This only causes my children who were already moving slow as snails to stop completely, staring at me in sleepy-eyed confusion.
Welcome to my morning routine. And the best thing is I get to wake up and do it all over again day, after day, after day….. Or I would have, if I hadn’t finally decided I’d had ENOUGH!
After dropping my kids at school on one particularly horrible morning, I cried the whole way back home. “There just has to be a better way,” I thought to myself.
It was then that I decided My Morning Routine MUST Change
I was tired of feeling like the whole day, every day, had the cloud of the first 45 minutes of chaotic frustration hanging over it. There are many things we can’t control as moms, but I knew that there was more I could be doing to manage our manic mornings.
I wasn’t looking for perfect, or anything close, but I wanted some solutions. Oh, and while I had already read so much about the magical transforming power of moms who get up super ridiculously early to start their days, that wasn’t going to work for me.
So, what would work?
I went looking for the answer and this is when I found the Makeover Your Mornings Course by Crystal Paine.
(be sure to read to the end for a special offer only for readers of Sunshine and Hurricanes)
This course was made for moms, probably since she is one. Crystal is married with three kids and runs a super successful business (you may have heard of it, moneysavingmom.com).
Whether you are a SAHM, a working mom or some strange hybrid like me, you’ll love this course because each of the 14 lessons can be done in as little as ten to 15 minutes a day . There is also a workbook and videos where Crystal shares her own experiences and struggles to help you at each step, but you can decide what works for you and roll with it.
Here were a few of the key ideas from the course that took my mornings from a hot mess of rushing, ranting and running late to actually being able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and the rest of my day tear free (at least most of the time).
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1. “It’s Not About Getting Up Early, It’s About Using Your Morning Well”
Want to know the secret to using your morning well? It’s not about getting up hours before your kids so you can read a novel, do 30 minutes of yoga, make everyone’s lunches for the day, wash and fold multiple loads of laundry and then be dressed and ready when everyone wakes up with a gourmet breakfast waiting and big hugs!
I actually tried some version of this approach on numerous occasions after reading countless articles talking about it’s miraculous transformative powers. I saw a transformation, but it wasn’t what had been promised. Instead, after about I week I found myself even grumpier and more exhausted.
Discouraged, I often fell back into old habits of hitting the snooze button over and over and then feeling behind from the moment my feet hit the floor each day.
It wasn’t until I took this course that I understood the problem: My expectations were WAY too high. I was trying to do too much in those morning hours. Instead of getting up hours earlier, I actually needed to move some of that morning work to my evenings.
I looked at what I was doing with that “productive” time in those few mornings I got up early before crashing and burning. Here is how I was using that time:
- Drinking Coffee and Reading the News on My Phone
- Reviewing My Schedule for the Day
- Making School Lunches for My Kids
- Going Through School Papers from the Day Before/Signing Folders and Forms
- Getting Backpacks Ready
- Unloading the Dishwasher
Here’s what I discovered. I could move many of these activities to the night before. I developed a system for dealing with all the school paperwork that came home that included emptying their folders when they get home, throwing away stuff that wasn’t needed, and filling out any paperwork that needed to go back to school.
I also took another tip from the course to delegate tasks. My children were old enough that they could learn to pack their own lunches and get their back packs ready for the next day. These are important life skills and I was doing them no favors by continuing to take on responsibilities that they could easily handle.
Lastly, I went over my schedule for the next day and jotted down any nagging tasks before I went to sleep each night. It was a good way to clear my mind each night and it helped me wake up feeling calmer and more prepared.
2. “Fill Ourselves Up, So We Can Pour Ourselves Out”
One of the first things many moms are willing to give up when they start feeling overwhelmed is sleep. Whether you’re staying up too late or trying to get up too early like I did, we think stealing these extra minutes or hours from our slumber is the best solution. In fact, it often only makes the problem worse.
Did you know even moderate sleep deprivation (defined as six or less hours over a matter of weeks) can impair your cognitive abilities similarly to alcohol? It decreases reaction times, problem solving abilities and even communication skills. It also contributes to a host of medical issues such as depression, obesity, heart problems and high blood pressure.
Unfortunately, it is not only our sleep that we sacrifice, it’s often other things that are important to our mental and physical health as well. When we give up eating well, exercise, time with friends, date nights and other things that help nourish and care for our souls, we tell ourselves we’re doing the right thing for our families. But unfortunately, when our buckets are empty, it’s almost impossible for us to fill the buckets of our children and spouse.
What I eventually realized, was that I needed to not only acknowledge the value of sleep in helping me to be a good mom and wife, but I needed to value myself enough to not only meet others needs all the time, but sometimes my own. My attempts at the super early morning approach were failing, because I need at least 7 and preferably eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Even though I was going to bed at the reasonable hour of 10:30, getting up at 5:30 meant I wasn’t getting all the rest that my body required.
So, just like my kids have a bedtime for their well-being, now I have one too. I hit the sheets by 10 every night, I give myself 15 minutes for reading and then lights out. Oh, and I banned my iPhone from my bedroom so I wouldn’t be tempted to check social media or be woken up by late night texts.
Now, thanks to moving many of my morning tasks to the night before, or delegating them, I get up most mornings between 6:15 and 6:30. This still gives me at least 30 -45 minutes for the quiet part of my morning routine before my kids and husband are awake and then we can enjoy a less crazy family breakfast together before we all head to school and work. Oh and by breakfast, I’m talking frozen waffles, nothing fancy our gourmet. 😉
If you’re wondering what I do with the quiet time part of my morning routine, here’s what it looks like now:
- enjoy a cup of coffee and read
- Review tasks written the previous night and align with goals for my daily “to do”
What’s that last one all about? I’m so glad you asked……
3. “Creating a To Do List That Serves Not Strangles”
THIS, SO MUCH THIS!!!
As a type A personality, my “to do” lists had “to do” lists. It was bad. I felt like I had do all of the things, all of the time. And you know what, many of the things were things I actually wanted to do. The problem was, because I was doing so much, I ended up enjoying none of it.
BUT you may be asking, exactly what does this have to do with my morning routine??
Well, here’s the thing, a successful morning routine also depends on your mindset. I was waking up every morning already in a panic. It never mattered how early I got up or even how productive my mornings were, I was never going to get it all done, and so I felt defeated before I even started.
What I was missing in all of this were larger goals. I would often look at my impossibly long “to do” lists and feel like it was all equally as important. I couldn’t imagine removing even one item. I was failing to realize that as moms, we need to guard our time carefully. It is the most precious currency we have to spend.
It was hard, but I had to slow down and really listen to what my heart told me mattered in the long term. I thought about and made a list of what I really wanted for myself personally, for my career and for my family by the end of the year. It took awhile and some serious internal wrangling took place, but in the end I chose ONLY three big picture goals for each.
These goals were very specific, which made it a lot easier to see that everything was NOT equally important. I woke up with a sense of purpose and as my morning routine aligned with my goals, I became a much calmer and more pleasant person, mother and wife. Oh and those manic mornings finally came to an end forever….
Okay, we may still have one now and again, but I said I wasn’t looking for perfect morning routine, only better. And this is SO much better.
If you would like to restore some sanity to your mornings and set the tone for a more positive day and life, then I can’t encourage you enough to go sign-up for Make Over Your Mornings. I have only just scratched the surface when it comes to what the course offers. It’s full of so many practical and easy to apply ideas. Here are a few other areas she covers:
- Easy to follow steps to set-up and stick to a morning routine
(and a night-time one too).
- Why setting specific and realistic goals is the foundation to a less manic morning routine and how to go about it.
- Suggestions for systems to simplify your morning routine and battle decision fatigue.
- Ways to address negative self-talk to help you overcome resistance and achieve lasting change.
- The importance of self-care and how to make it happen even as a busy mom.
It’s hard to believe you can cover all that ground in just 14 days spending as little as 10-15 minutes per day. I told you this course was MADE for busy moms.
It was also made for moms who know that their morning can be better and who want to have time to savor the time they have with their family, not spend it yelling and hurrying and feeling disconnected. We shouldn’t go to bed at night wondering if we really accomplished anything worthwhile that day and we shouldn’t wake up feeling like we’re already defeated. Instead, we should be the kind of mom that when our feel hit the ground each morning, the devil says, “Oh no, She’s up!”
Now is the time to change your life starting with your morning routine.
I’m so excited for you and the journey you are about to take. All that’s left for you to do is go sign-up!
If you take this course, what is the one thing you MOST want to change about your morning routine forever?