Ever feel like first thing in the morning, your daily routine is going straight out the window? Like everything is going wrong and it’s not even lunch yet?
Maybe you don’t feel like you’re being as productive as you think you should. Perhaps your to do list doesn’t have many, or any, checkmarks on it.
Or maybe you’re feeling stressed because your baby won’t stop crying. Your toddler won’t stop whining. Nothing is going right and you don’t know what to do next.
Is there even a way to get out of these cycles?
I used to feel like this quite a bit early on in motherhood. Unproductive. Stressed. Stuck in a cycle of surviving.
It wasn’t until I finally figured out a good morning routine that things started to smooth out. My days got drastically better, more got done, and both me and my child were happier.
If you’re feeling stuck in a cycle of not so great days, it’s probably time to start a morning routine.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.
The Power of Morning Routines
I really believe how you start your day is how you’ll end it. While it’s not impossible to save a bad day, it’s far easier to start it well than try to fix it.
The first part of your day sets you up for how the rest of your day unfolds. When you have a better morning, your afternoon and evening tends to go far better as well.
With routines, more gets done, and you’ll feel far better. And your kids will too!
But before we go any further, let’s be clear about something. Routines are not the same as schedules.
Even though the two are often used interchangeably, there are distinct differences between the two.
Schedules tend to be far more time oriented. They focus on doing certain things for a certain amount of time, and moving on to the next task or activity at a particular time.
But when you’re raising kids, that often isn’t a realistic expectation. Things change, and moms often require more flexibility than that.
Enter routines. Routines are less about time, and more about the flow of events from one to another. One day breakfast may take a lot longer, or maybe your child needs more cuddles on another day.
Think of routines as rhythms. Less about time, and more about the flow of your day from one task to another. Flexible, but still predictable.
And let me tell you, both moms and kids thrive on routines!
My Simple Early Morning Routine
I’ve learned that with little kids, simple is often best. That’s why I don’t try to cram too much into my morning routine.
Don’t get me wrong, I have super productive days where I fit a lot into my morning. But I also have less productive days where all we get done is our basic routine. And that’s okay!
Even though there are days when little gets done, I’ve found our morning routine helps us have more productive days overall.
Wake up between 7-8am
A lot of people will tell you to wake up before your kids for a better day. And if you can make that work for you, that’s great!
Personally, I’ve found that doesn’t work well for me. At least not in this season of life, anyway.
I’m a person that needs a lot of sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep, I struggle to wake up. And then I struggle all day to stay focused. Basically, if I don’t get enough sleep, my day is pretty much shot.
So while my most productive hours tend to be in the morning, I also struggle to function before 7am.
For that reason, I don’t worry about waking up extra early. My toddler usually wakes me up, and he’s typically up sometime between 7-8am.
I set an alarm for days we have to be somewhere at a certain time in case he sleeps in. But otherwise, we just get up whenever he wakes up.
This is just what works for us. But if getting up early helps you fit in some quiet alone time, work in some self care, and function better, then by all means do it!
Start toddler on breakfast
Once we wake up, our first stop is obviously the bathroom. We’re currently on the tail end of potty training, so sometimes my toddler still needs a little help getting out of his diaper and into underwear in the morning.
Once we’re done there I get him started on breakfast. I wish I could say I usually make an elaborate, super healthy breakfast. But the reality is that it’s just not the season I’m in right now.
Typically we just stick to cereal and milk—keeping it simple!
Don’t feel like you have to do it all. If a simple breakfast works best where you’re at, then don’t feel guilty about it.
Make my bed and shower
After Elijah’s got his breakfast, I usually make my way back to my room and make our bed. Making my bed every day is an important part of my mental self care.
I don’t know why a made bed makes me feel better, I just know it does. And I hate the feeling of getting into an unmade bed. There’s just something about crawling into made sheets at night.
Don’t ever brush off little things like this if it makes you feel better! Often times we view self care as spas and baths, but little things like a made bed are a big part of taking care of your mental state.
Anyway. Here’s where my routine can go two different ways depending on the day. On Sundays, when we have church, and in the winter when it’s too cold to go out until the afternoon, I usually shower in the morning. Preferably as soon as possible.
I’ve always been a morning shower person. It helps me wake up and feel better. But I also don’t like to have to shower multiple times a day.
For that reason, in the summer I’ll usually hold off on the shower until after I’ve worked out and we’ve been outside. That way I don’t need to shower again to get all the sweat off. (Texas is hot in the summer!)
Make my breakfast
After I shower (if I’m going to shower first thing), I usually have my own breakfast. By now Elijah is usually done eating and off playing.
Again, I don’t make breakfast complicated. Typically I have either cereal, a bagel, or eggs. But always with a cup of Swiss Miss hot chocolate. You know, the one with tiny marshmallows it it.
This probably kicks me out of the cool mom club, but I’m actually not a coffee drinker. While I like the smell of coffee, I am not a fan of the taste.
But I am a big hot chocolate fan!
If you’re a coffee drinker (or hot anything drinker) and want to make your morning a tiny bit easier, you might invest in a Keurig coffee maker.
That way, you can easily make as many cups as you need, without wasting any. Some even have a timer to automatically turn on in the morning, so you can have fresh coffee as soon as you wake up.
If you’re not a coffee drinker, you can still use it to make hot chocolate and tea as well!
Finish getting ready for the day
After breakfast, I finish getting ready for the day. That may mean fixing my hair and doing my makeup, or changing into cool clothes to workout and walk in.
This is also the time when I have Elijah get dressed. For the most part he can get himself ready, but sometimes he still needs a little help.
My Full Morning Routine
Once we’re ready for the day, our morning routine is pretty much complete. While we still follow a pretty regular routine for the rest of our morning, it can vary depending on the season.
For example, it’s usually too hot in the summer to go walking in the late morning or afternoon. But if it’s the winter, then we’ll hold off on any outside time until the afternoon when it’s warmer.
Of course, it’s worth noting that we live in Texas, where it’s warm or straight up hot most of the year. We have a very short winter, so most of the year our routine is relatively the same.
Alright, full disclosure here: I am not a fan of exercise. Or at least not exercise that feels like exercising…if that makes any sense. I like to be active, but you probably won’t ever finding me at a gym.
However. I have found that I do like to do Pilates. Not only does it help me feel better physically, and improve my flexibility and strength, but it’s also something that’s not super time consuming.
The Pilates program I use is called The Balanced Life, and the focus is on health, wellness, and building strength and improving mobility. Rather than just losing weight!
In fact, Robin’s motto there is “grace over guilt.” And that is most definitely something I can get on board with.
The routines range from 10-30 minutes, which makes it super easy for busy moms to fit into their day. That’s one of the many reasons I love it!
Don’t be fooled. Even just 15 minutes of Pilates a day will make a difference. And you’ll feel so much better! If you’re interested in joining The Balanced Life Sisterhood, you can sign up here and get $20 off!
Anyway. I like to try to fit in Pilates early on in my morning. Of course, some days get a little busy and I end up doing it in the afternoon or evening instead. But for the most part, it’s one of the first things I do in the mornings.
Take a walk/get outside/run errands
Another thing I like to do as soon as possible is take a walk or get outside for a bit. This is important both for me and my toddler—and you too.
Since we live in Texas and it’s super hot most of the year, the sooner we can get out the better. In the summer, I shoot for it to be the first thing we do after we’re ready for the day. Most days we can be out of the house by nine, sometimes sooner.
Of course, as the weather slowly cools down again, the time we get outside slowly gets pushed back. In the winter, we don’t usually get outside until after lunch when it’s warmer.
The bottom line: ever day it’s not raining, we get outside for a bit. And if it is raining, we use this time to run errands.
Most of the time we go for a walk, but occasionally we’ll hang in the grassy area in front of our apartment.
Start working on my to do list
Once we get back from our walk, I often let Elijah watch a little bit of TV just before lunch. It’s a good time for him to settle down and start relaxing a bit. And it frees up some time for me to get some things done.
I always have a to do list for the day, so it’s easy to get right to the most important or time sensitive tasks.
Wrapping up Morning Routines
That’s our typically morning routine!
I’ve found that having a simple routine goes a long way in making our entire day go smoother. And it helps me get more done!
Have you found that a morning routine helps you have a smoother day? What’s the biggest thing you struggle with when it comes to morning routines?