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Your morning routine: start your day off right

This post was first published on May 20, 2008.
Moms, particularly stay-at-home moms, are 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 Hubby love and appreciate a Mom and Wife who’s pleasant and has her act (somewhat) together.

Crystal has often written about having a morning routine, and I completely concur. 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.

Crystal recommends 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.

I recommend adding this list to your Home Management Notebook, on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, or wherever you might see it as a reminder. After all, we’re talking about the morning here – you might be too spaced out to remember what you’re wanting to do! A little note helps me, that’s for sure.

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? Or would it maybe stifle or hinder you? I’m curious.

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  1. Peggy

    Make coffee
    Quiete time (with coffee)
    Check email & blogs
    More coffee

    • GRS

      This is how I would like my morning to go. Peaceful, quiet, simple. Unfortunately right now I am in a time zone 10 hours a day and my morning is DH’s evening. We talk on the phone on skype and it can be a little painful if he had a bad day or is stressed about something. The way people think in the morning is opposite to the way we think at night. Evening is a time to work through the day’s challenges. Morning is a time to feel fresh and face the day ahead. This is a tricky thing to deal with.

      • GRS

        sorry I meant 10 hours away.

  2. FishMama

    Peggy, love that coffee routine!

    Prior to Baby #6 (born in August) I had a routine that ran like clockwork, or so I thought. Now, I find myself haphazardly making my way through the day, trying desperately to reenact the old system. My husband’s schedule for work has also changed during this period. What I’m finding is that not all routines work for all seasons. Now, I’m looking to figure out what works in this season. Looking forward to Jan 1 to get a “fresh” start.

  3. Katie

    Great list – I am definitely going to add this to my new year’s resolution…make Simple Mom’s morning routine my new routine 🙂

  4. Shannon

    Thank you for this reminder. I have been meaning to make a routine up for my home management notebook, but have often thought “What’s the point, I do all of these things in the morning anyways.” Wrong. Like you said, it’s too easy to get sidetracked and set wrong priorities. If I read my Bible and then do other tasks I have a much more inspired and productive day.

  5. Mary

    I love my morning routine – the great thing about a routine is that you can do it on auto-pilot even on mornings after you’ve been up all night whether with a sick child.

  6. Michelle

    Our mornings tend to go like this:
    Wake up
    Change baby
    Baby plays while Mommy reads email, other online admin work
    Mommy makes breakfast while baby continues to play
    Baby & Mommy eat breakfast
    Mommy cleans up while baby plays

    We actually follow a pretty set routine throughout the day — easy when you just have one little one to chase after 🙂

  7. meredith

    wake, coffee, read bible/quiet time, if i get time shower before the kids.

    but lately, i feel like God has been saying, “rest”. so, i am…throwing the agenda out the window & not getting wrapped up in my list & focus more on just resting & spending time with the kids.

    i miss my morning routine, i will rejoice when i can have it back…but until i learn to really rest, i think God will have me here.

  8. Turtle

    pack hubbys lunch and make coffee’s,
    check and switch laundry/and or dishwasher,
    sit with computer and relax while drinking coffee after hubby is off to work….then i get myself to work. Alot of my clients say their hour with me every month is their time, a bit of pampering, therapy, etc…

    Turtle´s last blog post…Let it snow, let it snow…la dee da! and 2 pimps

  9. Ruthie

    Just yesterday I was reading a super quote – “success is in your daily routine” now the foundation of that is the morning routine! Thanks for the reminder of how important this is! What a great start to Christmas Day!

  10. Christie

    – Shower
    – Breakfast
    – Read paper and drink 1st cup of tea
    – start second tea and let it cool while doing dishes. (I find it extremely important to do the breakfast dishes. It is depressing to me to be doing lunch and dinner dishes at 4:30pm before I can start dinner. I don;t always do the the lunch dishes right away, but a clean kitchen in the am really helps to set the day’s tone).
    – drink 2nd cup of tea while reading aloud

    I’d like to get a little meditation in there and a moment to review my to-do list, but in 7 years I still haven’t been able to get those included.

  11. LaDonna

    Hi. My routine goes like this:

    up and dressed
    make bed
    do hair/face
    start coffee
    start washer

    start breakfast and vitamins (usually)
    check email

    I’d like to add the following:
    read bible

    LaDonna´s last blog post…Photo Wednesday

  12. Angie

    What a great reminder. Currently with a 4 yr old and 5 m old baby there isn’t much of a morning routine. I like my sleep (blush) so I sleep until the kids wake at 7-8ish. I am wondering though, if waking an hour before them to get personal time in, would help my morning along… lots to think about. Thanks for the great post!

    Angie´s last blog post…Dear Santa.

  13. Stephanie'sMommyBrain

    Having a morning routine is vital for me! You are right that it helps you stay on top of things. With a newborn in the house (9 weeks old), I’ve had to let go of my routine. Do I ever feel off kilter as a result!! Right now I’m working on establishing a regular feeding routine for the baby so I can get back to a regular routine for me.

    Stephanie’sMommyBrain´s last blog post…Santa’s missing reindeer.

  14. Dominique

    My routine would be:
    – turn on the computer/ mark the e-mails
    – wake the kids and prepare them for school
    – prepare breakfast
    – send everyone off to school/work.

    Dominique´s last blog post…Merry Xmas

  15. Domesticgoddess

    My morning routine involves
    – get myself ready for the day
    – wake and dress the kids, brush their teeth, and give them breakfast
    – send my older son to school
    – come home to a gigantic cup of coffee, which I take while checking my emails and blog messages. And eat a small or big breakfast, depending on how I feel.

    After all this, I am ready to take on anything that the day may bring!

  16. Emma

    I can see why your blog is such a success – it’s the second after God in your list of priorities. You’re absolutely right about a routine being a basic necessity for a mom.

    Emma´s last blog post…When should a baby get his first haircut?

    • simplemom

      I wouldn’t say my blog is second to God as my priorities – it’s just that early in the morning is one of the easiest times for me to do some basic upkeep of the blog.

      Family, my job as home manager, and relationships with people in real life come before the blog. 🙂


    I agree with the routine–but also with the idea that moms have to be flexible. I get up and have my list to follow–but have to adjust it daily based on the 5 others in my house who don’t like to follow all my lists. I’m constantly trying to reconcile and balance my need to be too controlling and my desire to be a loving and flexible mom.´s last blog post…

  18. Lana

    My morning routine is pretty habitual due to the fact that I am a working (outside of the home) mom. I do find that when the morning goes as I have planned the day seems to run a little more smoothly.
    – wake up/shower
    – get ready
    – breakfast/vitamins/quiet time
    – load car w/ bags, etc.
    – wake up DD (fortunately she goes to the sitter in her PJs)
    – leave the house
    I think what I need to be more diligent about is continuing to follow this routine when I am at-home for the day. Esp. showering and getting ready first thing in the morning. I think it will make my day a little more productive when I am completing chores around the house.

    Lana´s last blog post…Tackle It Tuesday!- Christmas Edition

  19. Sheila

    6am get ready:brush teeth, shower, makeup, dress, get breakfast ready for toddler and myself, load up car with diaper bags, purse
    6:30am 4 month old baby:wake, breastfeed, change diaper, dress, put in infant carseat to play
    7:00am 2 year old toddler: wake, change diaper, dress, eat breakfast
    7:30am Put kids in car, drop kids off at school, pump in car on the way to work.

  20. Mel

    I unfortunately have not gotten a ‘routine’ down. Usually I wait til the baby wakes up (around 7), and I always need a little more shut eye, so I lay with babe in my bed until about 8. Then the babe crawls out of bed and I follow behind him into the living room. He usually runs around and plays while I check email/blog/etc on the computer. I am blessed with a hubby that is home all day as well, and he will usual make breakfast, and now the baby is into feeding himself.

    Mel´s last blog post…And The Winner Is…

  21. Andrea

    My morning routine changes daily. Such is life with a baby and toddlers. It usually goes something like; wake up, crawl out of bed, clean up previous night’s dishes while giving kids breakfast/cleaning them up. Check email, change diapers, get kids dressed, jump in shower before baby needs a nap. I wish the first task wasn’t cleaning up after the previous night but maybe some day I’ll be able to accomplish that the night before. I’d also like to just relax and eat with the kids instead of feeling like I have too much to do to sit down and relax. I would also like to not open the computer…

    Andrea´s last blog post…Sewing Christmas

  22. Amanda/Crunchy Christian Mom

    My routine changes a bit with the seasons (especially if hubby’s on vacation from school), but it’s generally…
    Get up after toddler’s morning nurse.
    Make tea for me, and breakfast for kids.
    Start laundry (haven’t been consistent with this lately).
    Sit with tea and breakfast, read something inspiring (sometimes Bible, sometimes not).
    Do breakfast dishes.
    Move laundry to dryer.
    Get in shower.

    Amanda/Crunchy Christian Mom´s last blog post…Gramma’s Treasures

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