sunrise

Your morning routine: start your day off right

avatar
by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and is currently traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

We moms are often in short supply of a regular routine.

Don’t get me wrong, we constantly do methodical things over and over — laundry, dishes, chauffering to ballet class. But in the midst of that, we’re putting out fires left and right, stopping our chores to put on an impromptu puppet show with the kids, and answering email and phone calls about who-knows-what.

Sometimes, it helps to have a predictable, regular routine, just for yourself.

And while it might indeed be “for yourself,” in reality, it’s for the benefit of the whole family. Kids and the husband appreciate a mom and wife who’s pleasant and has her act (somewhat) together.

Doing the same things, again and again, first thing in the morning in order to prepare yourself for the day, has enormous blessings. You focus on your priorities. You have a few minutes of quiet to yourself. You channel your efforts on preparing your day, instead of letting it prepare you. In short, you’re on top of things.

I’m not necessarily talking about habits, though for you, it could involve changing them. I’m talking about those things you’re probably doing anyway, but deliberately choosing to do them in a logical, predictable way.

Let me show you what I mean.

In the morning, I make breakfast, check email, make coffee, shower, get dressed for the day, read my Bible, take vitamins and meds, refer to my Daily Docket, and get the kids ready for the day. But without a routine, I do all these things haphazardly. Things that aren’t necessarily important get my best energy, leaving the dregs for the stuff that really matters.

But when I wake up and do the most essential things first, I get a good start to my day. They set my mind for focusing the rest of my day on things like my Most Important Tasks.

I like the idea of having five things you do the same thing, in the same order, each morning.

Here’s my routine right now (which changes monthly, it seems, with a baby in the house!):

  1. Wake up, take my meds and vitamins, start coffee
  2. Read my Bible and spend time in prayer
  3. Check email; moderate and/or respond to blog comments
  4. Shower; get dressed for the day
  5. Make breakfast

After those things are done, I feel like I can really start my day. But on those days when this routine doesn’t happen first thing, I just feel… different. I’ll be just fine, but I’m just not as on top of my game as when I start my day in the way I want.

An hugely important note about a morning routine: it is not your taskmaster. While the point is to establish routine to your day, life happens. When your husband or kids need something urgent, we moms just need to set our list aside for the benefit of those we love. We can resume later. It’s important, but it’s not that important.

So what’s your morning routine? Do you have one already, and is it working for you? Would creating a five-point checklist help you?

Join the Conversation

Like This? Subscribe for free and have it delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. Life is so ironic sometimes, isn’t it?… I am sitting here reading your blog and realize I have no routine/schedule for myself. But at the same time, my twins are on a super strict schedule. They pretty much wake up at the same time, eat at the same times, nap at the same times, bathe at the same time and go to bed at the same time. So why can’t I get my act together? I seem to do well for 1 day and then it all goes caput! I need to try this morning routine and wake up before they do and get some things done(at least during the week). It will be hard at first but I think it will all be worth it in the end.

  2. For me, there is very little that’s predictable… at 10 months, mine isn’t sleeping through the night at all – sometimes she’s up once a night, sometimes 3-4 times. Sometimes she wakes up for the day at 5:30, sometimes at 7:00, and everywhere in between. I have her on a schedule the rest of the day and for bedtime, but it doesn’t seem to help with this. So there is absolutely no regularity to my mornings. Sometimes Fox can help me out in the mornings, sometimes he can’t. (Depends on if it’s a school day and he leaves at 6:30, or a work day and leaves at 8:30.) aagghhh. When will normal resume? :)

  3. We are FINALLY getting into a routine, but our school year ends on Thursday so I anticipate being right out of the routine again :) Ah, gotta love those lazy days of summer.

    I am sure once we get in the swing of things we will be back in our routine again!!

    PS- Thanks for your sweet comment- you made my day!

    Amys last blog post..Old School Baking Day

  4. I try to have a morning routine and find myself struggling to keep it and aggravated when it is my prayer time and Bible reading time that gets shoved aside. I think a list might help – I don’t always think about posting a list with those type of mundane things on it, but I think it really would help. My little one (almost 9 months old) has a somewhat predictable routine – she’ll wake up within a 2 hour time span, stay awake for an hour or so and then sleep again for a couple of hours, then she’s up for the day with just several cat naps until bed time. It isn’t a perfect schedule but I think I can use a general routine for myself as long as I don’t try to assign times to tasks! Thanks for the list idea.

    Blesseds last blog post..I Don’t Own a Television

  5. @Lynn – I SO know what you mean. Why do we make sure our kids get naps, good nutrition, limit their TV time, etc. – and then we don’t do the same for us? That’s exactly how I feel about my morning routine. It doesn’t always happen, and that’s okay. But it really is taking care of myself.

    @Katie – Oh dearie, I’m with you. Reed’s not sleeping through the night, and while that’s not a big deal for a 4.5-month-old, it’s still annoying. But for me, I’m a morning person, and to have a morning by myself trumps getting an extra hour of sleep in the morning. I’m still sleepy anyway, so I figured I might as well get some solitude awake.

    I think I’ll write a follow-up post about the benefits of waking up early.

  6. @Amy – Your thing about summer is the same thing with my baby. I come up with a routine, and a few weeks later, it changes. Oh well. :) It’s still worth it to me to have some system – keeps me from going crazy.

    @Blessed – I agree, for me, it’s too challenging to assign times to tasks. It never works, so as soon as I’m off, I throw the whole schedule away. That’s why I prefer routines to schedules.

  7. Totally and completely needed this post this morning. You have no idea.

    Stumbling it and kirtsying it, etc. etc. And then I have to click on all of your links…

    Because, um, I’m supposed to be doing some work right now and I still haven’t taken a shower. In a couple of days.

    Velveteen Mind – Megans last blog post..If Matt Lauer Won’t Have Me, Brian Williams Will… Not, Either.

  8. I’m with Megan…I really need a plan – going to look through all your links, because I’m SO disorganized at the moment.

    You’ve been kirtsied. :)

  9. thanks for the post. This male home manager depends on a routine as well. If my routine gets derailed early, it’s only downhill for the rest of the day.

    Joels last blog post..Phantom Poop Syndrome

  10. @Megan, Karen – Thanks for the stumbles, etc!

    @all – Glad it’s an encouragement. I wrote it for me, too!

  11. It is true although we do stuff automatically we should put ourselves on a schedule the same way we put our kids on one. For me the schedule makes me accountable for my actions during the day and most of all makes me feel like I have accomplished something. Since leaving my job to be a SAHM I have struggled with this aspect of not feeling like I accomplished stuff. Lists take care of that.

  12. What an encouraging article! I really enjoyed this, and I am challenged to apply this to my own life. I linked to your article on my blog — I hope others can be encouraged as well!

  13. I have not just a morning routine, but a basic daytime routine that I like to follow. If I can keep it going, my whole world seems to be a better place, and a really feel it when I let it slide! :0)

    Charitys last blog post..Soft & Snuggly

  14. @Niki – It’s true, going from the grown-up world of productivity to the stay-at-home world of what feels like unproductivity can be unnerving. Even if we don’t do more than change diapers all day, having order to our day aids to our sanity.

    @Rachel – Thanks for the link!

    @Charity – I like having an all-day routine as well. I might get to writing about that soon, but for now, I’ll focus just on the idea of taking care of ourselves first thing. Glad it works for you!

  15. I think your comment about it not being your taskmaster is extremely important.

    Melissas Howards last blog post..making what is old, new

  16. Thanks for stopping by my WFMW post and commenting. I’m glad you did. It encouraged me to come check your blog out and I like it. I particularly like your design! Very clean.

    I think this is a great idea (morning routine). I really need to do it. I think it would make a huge difference in my day!

    chiliheads last blog post..I put a Creative Commons license on my blog, but is my material truly protected?

  17. @chilihead – Absolutely. Love your blog as well. :)

  18. Hey there.
    I tripped through while catching up on some WFMW’s and am combing the posts on your home management notebook. I’ve decided I NEED one of those puppies with the 2 1/2 year and 9 week old Expert Level Disruptors we’ve found living at our place. Distracting, but cute.

    All my scheduling makes it possible to turn off at night and not keep a huge list for that moment my hubby walks in from work. When my day goes well I am much better at giving him a good welcome & myself when he gets home.

    Thanks for the ideas- glad to find you!

    Miriams last blog post..Snapshot (snapshot not included)

  19. I am so confused… when do you watch soaps and eat bon bons??

    ;)

    -Meg
    GNMParents
    Maine-ly Megin

    Megin’s last blog post…Over the River and Through the Woods

  20. I have no routine and morning time is mostly a disaster. I put everyone before myself and rarely eat or shower in the morning. I throw on my basaeball cap and run out of the house, usually late. Now, in my defense, I have a 3 year old who still doesn’t sleep thru the night. I grab every extra minute of sleep I can get. But with my 5 year old starting Kindergarten, I really need to structure our mornings better. Time to be The Mom! I really appreciate your help; the lists and templates are easy to use and easy to adapt to my situation. The biggest trick is getting my toddler out the door with shoes on in under 15 minutes! :)

    CarrieK’s last blog post…It’s about time

  21. This is my morning routine: Wake up, have breakfast, turn on morning tv to catch news, wake up daughter, have shower, get dressed, (clothes have been ironed the night before), make school lunch of sandwiches and fruit, walk child to school. Then I go to shops to pay bills or buy food, short stroll to home, then I wash some clothes, do ironing and other household chores. Have lunch, get on computer and check e-mails etc. then collect child from school and then its the evening. And my husband thinks I don’t do anything all day.

  22. I love this blog! That picture is so me some days but those are very encouraging words. You’re right it is a job and an important one at that!

  23. I wonder how us “NOT morning people” can somehow start a morning routine. I am dead before 8am. My kids wake up at 6:30am and play quietly until we get up. (I do go to bed around 11pm but because I work almost every night from 8-11pm). It would be great to get up at 6am every day but I don’t know how to do it without being a mean grouch the whole rest of the day?
    .-= Jaimie´s last blog ..Olea Essence Review and Giveaway! =-.

    • I go to bed at 11 or 12 and my wake-up time is 8. It just works for me and I am happy this way. I don’t think you should torture yourself getting up early :)

  24. This is the area I struggle with the most…routine. I have never been a routine-y person and as such I have taught my children to be the same way, so when I try to do a routine it’s like I’ve got the whole household fighting against me! Plus, I am NOT a morning person, but my son is. It’s almost impossible for me to wake up before him, and if there’s any hope of a routine working, it has to start at least 15 minutes before Mister wakes up. So, basically, my “routine” is…

    1. Wake up
    2. Your guess is as good as mine at this point…

    I homeschool my 9 yr old daughter and have an EXTREMELY busy 2 yr old son to contend with. I know a routine makes things go more smoothly, but when every day brings something new to upset any routine I might try to establish, I just don’t know what to do. Go with the flow, I guess, is all I can do!
    .-= dawn´s last blog ..REVIEW: I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby =-.

  25. avatar
    So stressed!! says:

    I’m a 31 years old mom to 5 years old daughter, a pair of 4 years old twin and a 14 months old son (and with a 42 years old husband that will give a hand ONLY when I asked him to..he just can’t think by himself!!-which I’m so sicked of this)

    I’m so stressed that I even considered to run away from home and leave everything behind and start focusing in my own life. I have sacrificed my study, my career and my social life for them!

    My children always testing my limit!
    Please help me..I even noticed i didn;t know how to wrte my story well as I.m crying rught now!

    I just need help! Need to re-organized my life!

    • I know people who feel the same way!! You are not alone.
      Yes, organization matters a lot and it doesn’t come easy but as soon as you establish routine so you can get some time for yourself it will get better, and also the kids will grow up. I found it very helpful to connect with other moms. I believe you can do it!

  26. Thanks for posting this. This is exactly what i have been doing since i got accepted for a job and man i tell you guys that this is very helpful. i’ve learned discipline and i am able o be more efficient

  27. I was an early riser my whole life but after I had a child who wakes up at 5.30 every day without any appreciation of the weekends whatsoever I became a late riser.
    Today in my family kids get up first, they know how to turn on the TV until mommy gets up. Its working just perfect!! I don’t need any freshness of the morning I just want to sleep!!!!

  28. I loved reading about your routine! I posted mine as well. Check it out: http://blended.typepad.com/blended/2011/04/how-to-be-me-on-a-school-day-morning.html

  29. It’s really interesting to read about different people’s routines. How different we are it’s just amazing :)

  30. Great tips and I totally, 100% agree that every SAHM needs a strict schedule for morning routine to be productive. I had more or less same schedule as you before my daughter was born. She changed everything upside down. :) And now my biggest problem and the greatest challenge each morning is to get her prepared for kindergarten. Not an easy task! :) I use these tips http://www.stayathomemompreneur.com/how-to-prepare-a-kid-for-kindergarten/ , lots of patience and seems that soon I’ll take control of my morning routine again :)

  31. Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice article.

Speak Your Mind

*