I am a huge advocate for waking up early in the morning (before your kids) and using the time for yourself. I actually believe doing this helps me be a better mother to my children! Not only do you feel better rested, but your productivity levels are higher on average, and that desire to rush bedtime to get some alone time isn’t nearly as strong. It may still be there – especially on days your child decided to skip nap time and the effects are ever-present during that last hour before bed – but I can guaranteed you will have more patience in those moments.
Getting a good night of sleep topped with some time for yourself is crucial to starting your day right. Being awoken by a child’s nags for food or screams for attention tends to automatically start the countdown to school drop-off, nap time, or even screen time. However, when you start your day giving yourself some attention, the effects can be life-changing.
My Early Morning Journey
Shortly after Charlotte turned 15-months, I begun my journey into the permanent switch of waking up at 5am. At first, I highly doubted an early wake up would be beneficial to my life at all. I tended to stay up very late and would get my me-time then. When I found that I was still feeling down and unproductive, I started to look into possible solutions. That’s when I found the idea of waking up before your kids and I, after much thought, decided to give it a try. I won’t lie, it took me a while to convince myself to go for it. I am definitely a night owl! But, I figured a week long experiment couldn’t hurt and set my alarm.
It was extremely challenging for me switch from going to bed at midnight to going to bed at 10pm. I am a massive phone junkie, so I knew if I took it to bed with me that I would scroll all night long until I fell asleep and the phone fell out of my hands. (A fate, I am embarrassed to say, that happened to me far too often before.) I had to charge my phone on the other side of the room so that I couldn’t use it in bed but could still use the alarm.
Now, if going to bed earlier was a challenge, it was nothing compared to those first few days of waking up earlier! I was used to being awoken at 7 or 8am by Charlotte, so waking up two-to-three hours before that felt horrible. I would hear the alarm, and after turning it off, would immediately want to go back to sleep. It was even harder than usual to get out of bed because I felt overwhelmed with things to do.
But I Went for It!
I knew that if I wanted to give this experiment an honest go, I would need to have an idea of what I needed to do first thing in the morning before the Charlotte woke up. I wrote down my top priorities and then added in the things I always struggle to find time for. With these, I went into my third day of the experiment ready to wake up and get started.
After my week experiment ended, I knew I had to make this a permanent switch. It took me a long time to adjust to my new schedule, but I eventually got the thing down pat. Even with Michael’s arrival, I am still able to wake up before my kids (usually with the assistance of a morning dream feed) and get my me-time. There’s something about waking up before everyone in your house that feels so rejuvenating.
After mapping out my “must-do’s” and perfecting a morning routine, I have landed on the 8 things that every stay-at-home-Mom needs to do before 8am. This morning routine changed my life, and I hope it changes yours too!
1. Make the Bed
When you start your day with making your bed, you start your day with a “win”. Even if you do absolutely nothing else that day – you still have one productive thing under your belt that you can be proud of!
However, my main reason as to why you should start each day with making your bed is: you’re less likely to get back in. This isn’t to say you’re not allowed to nap during the day – you’re a Stay-at-Home-Mom, you’re tired! But it does give you motivation to get up and moving, even when the kids are playing completely independently.
It is also worth noting that when you practice good habits yourself, your kids are more likely to pick them up themselves. You can tell your children each day to make their bed but they probably won’t even hear your message if you’re not doing it yourself. Charlotte watches me make my bed each morning (I have to wait until Tim wakes up to do it, which is often when Charlotte wakes up). She LOVES to help and has even tried to do it on her own. Of course, she is only 19-months so you can imagine what her finish product looks like.
2. Open the Blinds
It’s been proven that sunlight exposure is directly related to mood levels and productivity. Having a bright house can aid in creating better moods! It can aid in creating motivation! Sunlight helps us wake up, feel good, and feel energized!(It also helps the environment when you’re not using electricity for your light bulbs – it’s a WIN WIN.)
To cue your brain and your body that it is the start of a new day, open all the blinds in your house! But… maybe wait to open the blinds in your children’s room until they are each awake… Don’t want to spoil their sleep and then spoil your time alone in the morning by opening the blinds too early.
If it’s summertime and you don’t have AC in your house (like me), even half-opening one blind in the room that you’re currently in can do wonders. If it’s wintertime and you live somewhere that gets quite cold (hello Canada), then open up every blind in your house and let that heat in!
3. Mediate/Mindful Practice
Life is stressful. Life is busy. It can be overwhelming – especially as a SAHM with a to-do that has a million things on it. That’s where mediation, prayer, or even a mindful practice can help. Sitting in silence with your own thoughts is good for you. Having a designated time of day to do so is great for you. It helps clear your mind, it helps to gather your thoughts and your feelings, and it helps in relieve any stress both mentally and physically.
Sitting with your own thoughts helps in setting a relaxed tone for your day. It may be hard at first – your thoughts will come racing to the foreground of your thinking, hoping to be heard – but it will get better and easier. Eventually, your ability to focus will grow into allowing you to fully concentrate on one at a time. You’ll be able to fully be in tune with yourself, and that is a benefit highly undervalued. Whether you mediate, journal, or pray – it is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for the day.
4. Drink Some Water
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love water. Along with milk, it’s the only thing I drink. Starting your day off with water is so refreshing and rejuvenating. It can also help regulate body temperate and promote better skin! I usually drink a cup or two while I am making my breakfast.
Personally, I find drinking water to wake me up more than coffee. That being said, I’ve only tried coffee six times in my life and found it nasty each time. So, if you’re a heavy coffee drinker, you may not find water to energize you too much but drink it anyways!
As the famous Elle Woods quote goes, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”. Exercising in the morning is a great way to make you happy, alert, and ready for the day. Similar to making your bed, it’s another easy win! If you don’t like lifting weights or running, try yoga or at-home workout videos. You can even use Wii Fit if that is your thing. Keep trying different activities until you find one that suits you. Anything to get your body moving and feeling alive is perfect!
Exercising literally has no downsides (as long as you don’t over do it and hurt yourself). It’s important to remember that there is no rule that says you MUST do 30 minutes of cardio in order for it to “count”. If you want to do 10 minutes of dancing and call it a day, go for it! If you want to go for an hour jog and come back to lift some weights, go for it! All that matters here is that you get your body moving.
6. Get Dressed & Ready
After I had Charlotte, I tended to spend my days in my pajamas. I didn’t even realize how much if was impacting my view of myself. It caused me to feel like such a lazy potato and to not really value my body or my health. Staying in my pajamas usually led to an unproductive day as I didn’t feel “ready” for the day.
When I started getting dressed, doing my hair, and putting on some makeup, I found that I valued myself more. I didn’t want to just sit on the couch all day – I wanted to go for walks and take care of myself better. It was also nice to be ready to go out at any given notice. Surprisingly, I also started to believe my husband’s compliments more – a side effect I didn’t expect.Getting ready for the day, especially as a Stay-at-Home-Mom, made me value myself more. Click To Tweet
Looking put together communicates that you are ready for the day and whatever comes. It helps you feel more awake and better about yourself. Now that I start my day with getting ready, I find I am less likely to spend the morning on the couch! Instead, I am more likely to go out with my kids or finish household chores.
7. Personal Work
I won’t lie, this was on of the biggest reasons I wanted to start waking up earlier. With Charlotte, it was very difficult to get my own work done during the day as she needed constantly entertainment. It often caused me to feel exhausted by her bedtime and wanting nothing to do with creative thinking. All I would want to do is relax and be lazy. However, this eventually would just cause stress as my to-do list was being ignored and only getting bigger.
Honestly, I’m sure other people could have figured out a better way to handle this, but I settled for waking up earlier! Not only does it allow me uninterrupted time, but it allows me to creatively think without lingering on stress. I find it is so much easier to tackle my to-do list early in the morning with a clear mind and new day ahead of me.
8. Eat Breakfast
Way too often was I skipping breakfast in order to do something “more productive”. If I don’t skip, I almost never feed myself a fully nutritious breakfast. I mean, I have literally eaten cookies for breakfast more than once because it was the quickest thing we had. Also, I love cookies. However, this behaviour would have me feeling like crap all day. I wasn’t eating properly and I felt it. Amber over at The DIY Lighthouse has a quote about eating breakfast that I LOVE.
If you were to purchase a fancy pantsy, new car (that, of course, is your favorite color), you wouldn’t put intentionally put the wrong kind of oil in the tank. It could destroy your spankin’ new engine! So why are women okay with putting the wrong kind of fuel in their own bodies, if they fuel up at all?!– Amber
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It fuels you, it fills you with energy! I find that on the days I skip breakfast, I tend to fill my stomach with junk food and overeat. Whereas that’s not the case on the days that I eat a proper breakfast.
Will you switch to an early morning?
Do you already have an early morning routine?
Let me know by leaving a comment or sending me a DM on Instagram!
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