About a year ago I had a big case of jealousy. Around that time it seemed to be the fashion for every blogger that I followed to talk about their morning routine. And how I envied those routines. They often went like this:
-Get up early before the kids wake up
-Read the Bible and pray
-Create a to-do list for the day
-Write for an hour or so
-Begin breakfast and homeschooling time with the kids around 8:00
That sounded like heaven to me! But my reality is totally different. I work outside of the home and have to leave the house–with my three small children in tow–by 6:45. Also, our house is small, and my children are light sleepers. If I try to get up much before they do, I simply wake them up.
I sighed and told myself that I just couldn’t have a morning routine.
Then I realized a fairly obvious point–I could have a routine. Mine would just look completely different than the bloggers I admire. And, that’s ok.
Your morning routine is unique to you and to your family. However, there are a few things that are fairly universal:
1. Set A Time for Leaving the House
Ask yourself, what time do I need to leave the house each day? What factors influence this time? For me, this was affected by when I could drop the kids off at childcare (7:00) and what time I absolutely needed to report to my school (7:30). Since our babysitter is only a few minutes away, I would need to leave the house by 6:50.
2. Plan for Delays
In my house, things nearly never go as scheduled. Delays are inevitable, so plan for them! I built in five minutes of margin time and set our new departure time at 6:45. We are almost never ready at 6:45, but by aiming for it we usually hit 6:50.
3. Make a List of Your Priorities
When I began to plan my morning routine, I sat down and made a list of my priorities for the morning. Mine included:
-Plenty of sleep
-Morning Prayers as a family
-A sense of peace instead of stress
These priorities affect how I plan my mornings. I do not get up at 4:30 to exercise or write. In this stage of my life (with three very young children) sleep is a top priority. If I do not get enough sleep, I am one crabby mama and teacher! Therefore, I get up at 5:45.
I also knew that I wanted our family to pray the Morning Prayers together each morning (I wrote more about that here). So, I timed the prayers to see how long they typically take. Then I budgeted that amount of time in our routine.
Breakfast was another non-negotiable for me. I wanted us to begin our day with a healthy breakfast. However, I needed to be realistic about this. I do not have time to make pancakes and eggs on school day mornings. Instead, we have cereal and bananas every morning. Yes, every morning. Having this decision made for us each day helps eliminate stress and contributes to the sense of peace that I wanted.
4. Prep for the Morning the Night Before
The most important part of my morning routine takes place the night before. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about creating an evening routine. Each night I prepare for the next day in a few small, simple ways that make a big difference.
1. I clean the kitchen, do the dishes, and sweep the floor. Having a tidy house lessens my stress in the morning.
2. I pack lunches for myself and the children.
3. I go through backpacks to sign permission slips, return library books, etc.
4. I lay out clothes for everyone for the next day.
5. I take a shower in the evening to save time in the morning.
Because I have prepped for the morning the night before, I do not have to run around frantically searching for a library book or hurriedly make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s all been done!
My Morning Routine
Many of you wondered how I managed to get myself and three small children out the door in 45 minutes! I thought I would give you a more detailed version of my mornings. This is by no means an ideal routine–it is simply what works for us.
(One side note: I tend not to schedule things down to the minute. This usually only adds stress to the morning and causes me to feel guilty and panicked if we are running behind. Instead, I like to have a general order of events that I follow.)
Wake up and take medicine
Get myself dressed and ready
Get Little Brother dressed and in high chair with breakfast
Get Sister dressed and in chair with breakfast
Big Brother gets himself showered and has breakfast
I eat my breakfast while the kids play for a few minutes
Backpacks, coats, and shoes on everyone
Morning Prayers in the Icon Corner
Out the door
My morning routine is certainly not the leisurely morning of my dreams. And, I am absolutely certain that it will change several times over the next few years as my kids get older. But, it works for me. It is in line with my priorities and helps preserve a sense of peace in our home.
A Resource to Help You Create Your Morning Routine
Finally, I have learned much of what I know about routines, planning, and home management from Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom. Crystal has a fantastic course called the Make Over Your Mornings Course that will help you transform your mornings by creating a morning routine. To access Day 1 of the course for FREE click here: Make Over Your Mornings Course.
I am no longer envious of the routines of others. I have found what works for me. And that’s a pretty good thing.
What works for you? What kind of a morning routine do you have in your home?