I usually write each month about making family travel easy. But right now, the truth is that nothing is easy, least of all family travel! So I wanted to share one thing that is saving my life right now in the crazy different world: my morning routine.
Wait, before you skip! Please give me a minute to explain (but eye-rolling is totally allowed!) For 7 years of motherhood, I balked at the idea of waking up before my kids. In the first few years of each of my kids’ life, I didn’t have a morning routine because being with them throughout the night and at the break of day was the routine. Now, inside a pandemic, I have finally found my rhythm and it is truly making the difference!
Blocked goals led to my new morning routine.
I’ve read some great books on developing good habits (such as Atomic Habits by James Clear and High-Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard) but those are two guys with no kids (I’m pretty sure). They have great advice, but they don’t have a great context for life with kids. Kids don’t care about your schedule and goal list! I once heard parenthood is an endless sea of blocked goals. And during a pandemic, this is only magnified!
I came to the point where I needed and wanted just one hour to myself to move a tiny goal forward each day. Having some time in the morning is the only way I have found to make sure I can unblock a goal for myself. And of course, this leads to a happier mom when my kids wake up!
Ok, so what time do you wake up???
This is a question I get from my friends a lot! My kids wake up early still (ages 4 and 7) between 6 AM or 7 AM so I wake up at 5:30. Thankfully my husband will usually handle breakfast so I get a good hour to 1.5 hours to myself. If he can’t, I set up breakfast and unapologetically set up screens so I can get that time to myself. I will say, I never feel like waking up. But I do love the feeling of being awake first!
What do you do??
It changes each morning, but the three things remain the same: Coffee, write a few lines in my Every Day Journal, and Pray. I’ve been writing one or two lines in my Every Day journal for 2 years now and it is my “grab in a fire” book! It has 5 years on one page and is kind of like an analog Facebook Memory pop-up! It just has a couple of little lines for each year and is a wonderful way to look back on each year. You can find wherever books are sold by searching “every day journal” or my husband uses one called a “one-line journal.”
After my usual three, my main focus is writing on my travel blog: FamilyTripGuides.com. I’ve been puttering around for a couple of years first making Smithsonian Family Guides for each of the top museums and now working on travel guides to each of the top European cities for when its safe to travel again. I also spend time each month writing here on the DC Area Mom Collective and to be honest … Instagram!
Speaking of Instagram … I asked other parents my @FamilyTripGuides account about their morning routines and the results definitely surprised me! (Please note for any academics out there, this was a tiny sample size and just anecdotal. 🙂)
- 70% said they do have a Morning Routine, 30% said no
- Those who don’t have a Morning Routine said the reason was:
- Because it’s a pandemic! – 7
- Season of life not conducive (little babies etc.) – 2
- Don’t really see the need for one – 2
- Those who do have a Routine, some of their favorite things to do:
- Breakfast, outdoor play, board game
- Getting the kids to do some independent play
- I get in a three-mile run and listen to the news while my partner feeds the kids
“Do What Makes You Feel Like Yourself”
I love this definition of self-care by Kendra Adachi. (I’m currently reading and loving her new book The Lazy Genius Way right now during my mornings!) A morning routine doesn’t have to be an elaborate hour of zen. Pick one thing that if you do that each day, you feel like you have won the day. Somedays for me it’s getting 15 minutes of uninterrupted reading time. Other days its writing a bit and moving my blog forward.
And then when I hear the pitter pater of tiny feet (or let’s be honest, the yell of “Mommmmeeeee!”), I feel a bit more ready to jump into the day!
Check out this great post from fellow DC Mom, Elizabeth Reid on working out in the mornings during the pandemic.
I would love to hear your experiences with a morning routine or any time for yourself during the day in the comments below!