Let me preface all of this by saying that I am not a morning person, but I really like mornings.
I love to spend hours drinking coffee, sitting on a soft surface in a hoodie with a blanket. I have finally realized that if I wake up at 5am I can do JUST THAT. If I wait until my kids wake me up, then my mornings are the opposite of that. Really just screaming and gnashing of teeth until their bellies are full and then the demands for entertainment begin and I’m texting my husband at 8:15AM confirming that he’ll indeed be coming home at “normal time” and isn’t magically coming home at 10AM today.
Morning rhythms change in each season for me. If I had to put a schedule on it I’d say they change “quarterly”, but it really depends what work looks like for me, what my baseline stress level is and whether I’m sick or not.
Sickness means I am going to bed early and waking up and seeing how I feel– I’m not just getting up at 5AM to prove anything. If it’s going to make me feel worse in the long run, it’s not happening.
Just some quick facts about bedtimes and stuff, to help with the context: The oldest (4) is almost always asleep by 7:30PM and usually sleeps until 7:00AM. The littles (2) t is almost always asleep by 9:00PM (we try for earlier but she does what she wants) and sleeps until sometimes 8:30AM or later. Naps are inconsistent. Everything has been a little later since it is summer (like 10:30PM bedtime last night) but this the the general rhythm.
I am usually fading by 8:45PM and just find that I am useless if I stay awake and usually just end up arguing with my husband. In a dream world we hang out after the kids go to bed, and sometimes we do, but most nights we just tidy up and I try to stay awake to talk but I’m out by 9:30, 10 at the latest. I will catch a second wind at 10:30PM and if that happens then I’m up until midnight or later and then I don’t get my 5AM wake up and I really like it so I am motivated to go to bed.
NEON FLASHING LIGHTS: We’ve only been sleeping through the night consistently in our house for like six months so if you’re still waking multiple times at night for kids don’t stress yourself out to have some sort of routine. This is the calm after the storm for me. 4 years of night waking and zombie life got me like SO HAPPY to go to bed early and get up early. I am just the best version of myself when I prioritize sleep. AMEN AND CONTINUE.
My goal is to accomplish all of these things before the kids wake up, and usually they are up when #4 is happening, but occasionally they aren’t and it is G L O R I O U S.
- Drink a glass of water.
- Do something that will add value to my life.
- Get dressed and ready.
- Make breakfast for kids, lunches if applicable.
Drink a glass of water. I started doing this when I was still breastfeeding Emmeline. I was so thirsty all the time and surviving mostly on coffee because also so tired all the time. At one point I decided to start the day with a glass of water before I had any coffee or tea and then make my first bottle of water that day a SMART water for the extra electrolyte punch. These habits have stuck with me and I think are a major part as to why I’m still alive. Water = life. I’m pretty sure there’s also science or something about being dehydrated in the mornings and helping with digestion or something and I also don’t have a headache by 1pm everyday.
Do something that will add value to my life. Now, two years postpartum (and not a moment sooner) I am in a place where I want to do something fun in the mornings for myself that I can’t do when they are awake. That is the question I ask myself: what can I do right now that I can’t do when the kids are awake? and the answer to that is literally different everyday. For two years it was SLEEP, so I did. I am the type of person that feels smothered and out of control when I say things like “I’m gonna read everyday!”… I need to wake up and decide what I feel like doing that day and this piece of my morning routine keeps me alive. Here are some random things that I’ve done over the last few weeks:
- went for a walk at my favorite trails
- read fiction
- read non-fiction
- read the Bible (I fell asleep, so haven’t done this in a while)
- gone to Starbucks alone
- sat in my hammock with coffee and stared into space
- tidied up downstairs
- folded laundry and watched a show I like
- listen to podcasts
- edited photos
- worked on Spanish Teacher Work
- taken a bath
Get dressed and ready. The most frustrating part of my morning is when we are trying to get out the door and the kids are ready and I am not. I am pretty low maintenance as it is, but when I just want to brush my teeth and re-do my messy bun or sit on the toilet for a second and the kids are screaming, yelling and slamming doors onto each others fingers, it kinda just makes me want to sneak out the window and move to Hawaii. Trial and error later, I realized that if I take five minutes to brush my teeth, throw on fresh leggings and some moisturizer BEFORE THEY ARE AWAKE, I’m a way nicer mom and very at peace with my life. I used to do this before I went downstairs because #efficiency, but it is summer break and I want to sit in my jammies for a little bit. (Note: I only do this if I’ve got to get the kids out the door before noon. If not, I just stay parked in jammies with coffee in hand until the last possible minute.) This all might be a super obvious no-brainer to some of you, but I have always eaten breakfast before getting dressed like for my entire life. Cannot explain why.
Make breakfast for kids, lunches if applicable. This, like, rarely happens before kids are awake. I just want to be realistic. But it definitely comes next in the routine. When I get to do it with my AirPods in, listening to a podcast, I am just the happiest person ever. A lot of the screaming and teeth gnashing happens when they are grumpy and hangry and I’m still making breakfast. This is the actual worst way to start your day. I imagine it’s like going to work and then the first two people you interact with are only screaming and crying about ridiculous things. It’s hard to imagine unless you live it daily. On the rare mornings when they come downstairs and Kellie of the Past has prepared their plates, knows the location of their water cups and has already eaten her own breakfast… those are the best days. Everyone is calm, everyone is content, everyone eats and then is ready for fun. I try to have their lunchboxes open and as I’m making breakfast throw things in, like chop a few extra strawberries in, dump some cheese puffs, etc. and then when breakfast is done, lunches are ready and we can do something fun before our morning takes off. Sometimes we read or talk cars, but this week we’ve watched TV which is nice on account of my love for couch sitting with coffee in hoodies.
There ya have it. My summer morning rhythm of 2019. Only a few more weeks before work starts and it will shift again, in the meantime, you can cash me on the couch with coffee in my jammies.