You wake up to the alarm and hit the snooze button. You repeat this until you finally drag yourself out of bed.
You’re running late, so instead of sitting down to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, you shower–as quickly as possible. You have little time now and are frantically running around trying to get the kids ready. They are eating on the go, but you forget to eat.
Disoriented from the chaos, you’ve thrown some stuff into your kid’s lunch bag and zipped out the door wondering if you forgot something.
Is this what your mornings look like?
Does it feel like mornings are getting harder each day? You’re always late no matter what you do. Feel you’re the worst mom in the world?
I assure you; you are NOT the worst mom in the world. You are not alone and too many moms are silently struggling with stress and negative thoughts every day.
Mornings are leaving you frustrated and feeling guilty. You are frustrated because you can’t seem to start the day right. Guilty because the morning chaos causes you to snap at your kids.
There is a better way!
I will provide you with the steps to help you finally master your mornings. You can have a morning routine that works for you no matter your season of life.
No more spinning your wheels. Go from chaos to calm and organized.
Let’s get started!
What is a Routine?
You might already know what it is, but here’s a refresher. I’ll also cover rituals and habits and how they compare.
Routines are a series of actions and habits that you do regularly to organize your day.
- Writing a to-do list
- Empty the dishwasher
- Fold laundry
- Checking email
- Meal planning
What about rituals? Is a ritual the same as a routine? Almost.
Rituals are like routines and are more about attitude than organization. There’s a personal feeling attached to a task. It’s not strictly wanting to get it done or out of the way.
A common ritual many of us have is coffee drinking. My morning ritual involves coffee and I savor it. Anything that brings you joy instead of feeling like it’s just a task that needs to get done.
Habits are automatic actions we’ve developed over time, consciously or unconsciously. Some habits are productive, and some are not.
- Checking email or social first thing in the morning is a habit.
- Kicking your shoes off at the door is a habit.
- Grabbing a late-night snack is a habit.
What you need to know about routines
Routines bring order to chaos. If you are in a constant state of chaos, your well-being will be affected. There is plenty of evidence that chronic stress contributes to poor health.
While some stress is okay for the body, ongoing stress is not. When you are in fight-or-flight mode every morning, that will take a toll on your health. A good routine can keep stress at a manageable level.
A routine (good or bad) dictates how productive, happy, and accomplished you feel. As a mom, I understand how important it is to feel a sense of accomplishment. If you reflect on your days and are often disappointed, evaluate your routine and your habits.
Don’t forget that routines…
- Dictate your day and beyond. If you don’t have a good routine, how do you think your day will turn out?
- If executed well, they keep you prepared, organized, and confident about the day to come.
- A poorly established (or lack of) routine will leave you drained and frustrated. It will be difficult to get any traction because you are too busy scrambling.
- Affects your overall well-being. Whether good or bad routine, your well-being will set the tone for the day.
How you feel without a routine
You can probably imagine what it feels like, but I want you to think about your most recent morning. What were your feelings? Maybe I can jog your memory.
Anxious? Worried you’ll be late again or that you will forget something important.
Exhausted? You feel completely drained and no amount of coffee is going to help.
Stuck? Like you’re spinning your wheels. Your mornings have been a struggle to change for the better.
You might even over-think things costing you precious time. You might over-react, creating even more stress, leaving you to throw your hands up in the air and give up.
Not a good way to start or end your day, is it? Not having a routine can unfortunately bring a lot of negative feelings that are no help to you.
Let’s explore at what a good routine looks like.
What does a good routine look like?
First, a good routine will not have you scrambling. You will not stress about your situation and your outlook on the day. They may not always be calm, but they should never cause stress and anxiety.
A good routine will be simple for you to implement. It will be achievable.
That said, never overwhelm your routine with a million tasks that you know you cannot possibly accomplish in a short morning. Be realistic with yourself.
Being realistic does not mean you won’t accomplish anything meaningful. Changing your routine will be an adjustment. It will require effort and consistency. It’s best to make reasonable adjustments until you’ve reached your ideal morning routine.
Every mom’s routine is going to look different. A stay-at-home mom with small children will differ from a working mom with teens. Here’s an example of a simple morning routine. Where the times are highlighted, you can use this time as an opportunity to practice self-care.
- 6am: Wake. Enjoy coffee or tea
- 6:15: Light stretches/Yoga
- 6:30: Journal/Gratitude/Goals
- 6:45: Plan the day-Priorities
- 7:00: Put away dishes/load dishwasher
- 7:15: Prepare Breakfast
- 7:30: Wake up the kids
- 7:45-8:15: Eat Breakfast
- 8:15: Quick tidy (family involved)
- 8:30: Prepare to leave for work/school/other
- 8:45-9:00am: Out the door
What are the benefits of a good routine?
There are many benefits of a good routine. Here is just a handful you can experience.
Being predictable is good. There is less uncertainty. You know exactly what to expect. As a mom of two small kids, I know how helpful it is to have predictability.
When you know what needs to get done and can accomplish it, that builds confidence. One small win leads to another and that will give you the confidence to tackle the day. It’s a snowball effect of achievement that boosts motivation significantly.
You stress less
A lack of routine can, as you know, bring a lot of stress to you and your family. It can bring a sense of calm and puts to ease many concerns that might arise during the morning rush.
It fosters Independence
Your kids will learn how beneficial it is to have a routine. When you stick to a good routine that works for your family, everyone feels a positive impact, especially your children.
You inspire others
You become an inspiration to those around you and positively influence their thoughts and behaviors. You will even inspire yourself when you look back at all your progress.
These are just a few of the benefits and you will notice other benefits unique to you when you cultivate your best routine. Routines might appear rigid at the beginning, but with time, it will prove to be more flexible.
Establish a routine now so you can enjoy the benefits sooner rather than later.
Sounds good so far?
Start your day early (before anyone else)
Waking up before anyone else in the home is a game changer. This means you will have to get out of the habit of putting yourself last. This is hard to do for a lot of moms. Putting your needs first is not detrimental to your family, it helps them.
How does it help? By getting yourself ready first, you prevent putting yourself last. Putting yourself last risks delaying time and causing you to scramble to get out the door on time. It’s not just you who’s late, but your family as well
Is waking up early really worth it? I believe it is and you will never find out unless you try it.
Not a morning person? Not to worry, you can adapt!
If you want to experience the perks of waking early, like getting much-needed me-time, you might have to get used to it.
We all have 24 hours in the day. You can choose to go to bed early and wake early or go to bed late and wake up late. Most moms can’t do the latter. If you’ve been more of a night owl but want to be a morning lark, ease into it.
Don’t make it painful or discouraging. Start with 15 minutes earlier and work your way up to an earlier time.
What is the best time to wake in the morning?
It depends on you. Estimate how long it typically takes you to complete morning tasks. Add a few extra minutes to each task just in case you have a setback.
Here are 3 excellent reasons to wake up before your family.
The much-coveted alone time. It’s hard to come by unless you make it a priority.
You need your me-time and waking before anyone else in the home will give you time for yourself without interruption.
There is nothing better than enjoying a fresh brewed coffee in peace, am I right?
Frequent interruptions can lead to scatterbrain.
It will be very difficult to stay focused and will cause forgetfulness. How many times have you lost your train of thought after being interrupted?
It’s frustrating to be in a state of flow, to have that flow interrupted. Fewer interruptions mean getting more done. Waking early enough will give you an opportunity to be in a flow state without disruption.
No need to multitask
When you wake early (before anyone else), you get to focus on one thing and do it well.
There is an exception, multitasking can work with low-focus tasks. Quiet work, deep work, or mindful work can be more challenging while multitasking. Any task that needs to be done well (not done to the minimum standard) requires focus. Give yourself the time to do a job well done.
Every mom is different. If you can stack work with other tasks without a hiccup, go for it! But you’re here because following a routine in the morning has been difficult for you. The best way to focus is to give yourself the time (wake earlier) and do each task with intention.
Keep reading because your action plan for better mornings is next.
Your action plan for better mornings
Want a successful morning routine? Get a good evening routine!
Just when you thought all you needed was a morning routine, I had to throw that in there.
Truthfully, a good morning routine begins with an evening routine. Think about it. If you don’t plan and prepare for the next day, do you think you would be organized in the morning? You can continue to be unprepared and struggle OR you could choose to craft your best morning and evening routine.
You should never cram everything in the morning and never do it all on your own. That’s a straight path to overwhelm. Assign tasks to your family where appropriate. Never do it all on your own.
Optimize your time and do as much as you can in the evening (with the help of family members). The kids can prepare and pack their lunches, they can lay out their clothes for the next day, backpacks packed and ready at the door.
Start with 1-3 tasks in the evening. When you’ve developed the habit, add to another task. Some ideas are preparing the dining table for breakfast the next day, loading the dishwasher, and tidying up.
Below is a simple example of an evening routine moms can follow. However, every mom’s schedule is different and needs will vary as well. Use this as a guide only.
Example of an evening routine for moms:
- 5:00-6:00 pm: Quick Tidy (jackets, shoes, bags, other) Dinner prep
- 6:30-7:30: Eat dinner
- 8:00: Load dishwasher and/or 1 load of laundry
- 8:30: Family wind-down
- 9:00: Kids prepare for the next day (lay out clothes, backpacks, lunches)
- 9:30: Plan for the next day (top 3 priorities)
- 10:00: Self-care practice (yoga, mediation, skincare, reading or journaling)
- 10:30 pm: Ready for bed (hugs for kiddos) Bedtime – Sleep
In time, it will be easier to implement. You might even start thinking about efficiency and come up with clever ideas to be productive. A bit of work in the evening will simplify your mornings.
Now that you’ve read about how vital routines are to your success, here are your actions steps to prepare your best routine.
Assess your current routine
What causes your morning to break down? What triggers you and your family?
Even the smallest thing can cause your morning to turn into a circus. It’s the little things that add up and if you don’t identify what they are, the morning chaos will continue.
Maybe you know the triggers, but are fighting an uphill battle with your to-do list and self-reflection isn’t on your list of priorities right now.
I get it but…
Without self-reflection, we cannot improve. Take this time now to figure out your morning disruptions so you can begin your morning routine transformation.
Recognize bad habits
We all have a bad habit or two. Too many can wreck your routine.
Are you hitting the snooze button too many times? Spend way too much time scrolling your phone? Do you skip making lunches the night before because you’re too tired?
These are a handful of bad habits that can derail your morning. Identify your bad habits by writing everything (in as much detail as possible) you do in the morning and the evening on paper.
If you have trouble remembering, keep a notebook and pen at your night table and when you wake up, start writing out what you do. You only need to do this once to get a better idea of your behaviors.
Which behaviors did you discover to be the most time-consuming, stressful, and/or ineffective?
Identify your ideal morning
There’s no such thing as a perfect morning. Instead, use your ideal morning as motivation to get you started. It will be easier and more effective if you prioritize tasks that matter to you most.
Focus on the things that bring you joy and that bring a smile to your face. A good morning routine is not about doing it all. It’s about preparation, keeping calm, and starting your day with a success mindset.
Always focus on your most important tasks. Ask yourself, what is most valuable to me right now? What do I want to accomplish?
Nurture a growth mindset
Having a growth mindset will not only contribute positively to the success of your morning routine, but will also influence other areas of your life. A growth mindset helps you be resilient and the challenges that you might face won’t be as intimidating.
Crazy mornings can cause you to dwell on what’s not getting done. Your attitude will take a nosedive and your attitude will affect your behavior.
What can you do to change your mindset?
Important – Keep your health in check by making sure you have a good night’s sleep, eat nutritious foods, and give yourself time to recharge. It will be difficult to change your mindset and your behavior if you are not mentally or physically healthy.
Read books or listen to podcasts on growth mindset. Journaling is a great way to unpack any negative thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
If you struggle with keeping a positive attitude, carve out some time during your self-care practice to nurture your positive mindset.
Don’t have a self-care routine? Keep reading to learn how to fit it into your busy schedule.
Include self-care practice in your routine
When you think of routines, does self-care come to mind? If not, now is the time to change that perspective.
Think of self-care as important as restorative sleep. When you do activities that ‘fills your cup’, you are restoring your mental and physical well-being. When you do it consistently, you will feel energized as you would with restorative sleep.
How do you feel when you get a full night’s sleep? When you’re well rested you have more energy and can manage stress better than when you don’t.
When you take care of yourself, your mental and physical health flourishes.
It is likely, though, that your self-care isn’t even on your radar because you’ve formed the mindset that your needs should come last.
You can change that!
What are your self-care needs?
Take time to identify what your self-care needs are.
Do you wish you could have some quiet time to journal? Try journaling while enjoying your morning coffee.
Have you been wanting to improve your fitness and start an exercise routine? Place your workout clothes next to your bed as a reminder or, even better, wear your workout clothes to bed.
Did you plan on learning a new skill but never got around to it? Put a date on your calendar and commit to one hour a week to learn a new skill.
Try to do at least one self-care activity in the morning and in the evening. Self-care should never feel like another task on your list. Everyday Health brings attention to the struggle with self-care when it becomes more work and less recovery.
It’s always important to recognize when something no longer works for you, whether that be a habit, a routine, or self-care rituals.
Every mom deserves the opportunity for self-care. While mom life will throw you curveballs, it is no excuse to put your care last.
Reassess your routine and track your progress
After you’ve crafted a routine, re-evaluate it regularly. Check for areas improvements can be made and where old habits are creeping in.
Ask yourself these questions…
- How do I feel? Am I less stressed?
- Is my routine easy to follow?
- Am I getting more done?
These are all important questions to ask because even with a routine, life can get hectic. We can fall back on old habits and ditch our routines.
Just as important – track your progress. It will surprise you how much your new routines will improve your life. Seeing your progress is a huge boost in motivation and your attitude towards routines and habits.
As you can see, this action plan has everything you need to transform your mornings.
- Assess your current routine
- Recognize bad habits
- Identify your ideal morning
- Nurture a growth mindset
- Include self-care practice
- Identify your self-care needs
- Reassess and track your progress
Now that you know what you can do for a better routine, start putting it into action.
Discover your new routine and see what you can accomplish. It doesn’t need to be huge to see a difference, even the littlest change can transform your day.
Your mornings can be calmer and more productive. Don’t wait for an opportunity, create one!
Are you ready to say goodbye to frazzled mornings and lazy evenings? Craft your best morning routine with Morning and Evening Routine Reset workbook
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