After a rough couple of months, I’ve been trying to focus on being a better mom – whatever that means. Within the span of a couple months we bought a new house, gave birth to our second child, and I made the transition to a stay-at-home-mom. On top of that, or rather because of all those changes, I also experienced a bout of postpartum depression. Now that the newborn fog has finally begun to clear and I am starting to figure out my new schedule as a stay-at-home-mom, one area I need to focus on is becoming a more engaged mother, which I believe starts with first bettering myself. After reading a bunch of articles about the importance of a morning routine and how it can help you have a more productive day, I decided my next task was to develop (and stick to) a morning routine.
While this may sound like an easy undertaking for some of you, I am not and have never been a morning person. I once signed up for a college class at 8 am and dropped it after a couple of weeks because I didn’t make it to any of the classes. I have a serious aversion to mornings. But if everyone was telling me that developing a morning routine would help me be a better mom for my kids, I was willing to try it. Being the list-maker I am, I wrote up my morning routine and it looked like this:
6:00am – Wake up and workout
6:45am – Shower and get ready
7:15am – Quiet time and breakfast
7:30-8:00am – The kids wake up
I know the first thing you all are thinking is that this crazy lady is complaining about mornings and her kids don’t even wake up until 8am?? Yes, it’s true. I am happy to report that I think I passed my hatred of mornings on to my children and it’s amazing.
The first morning of my new routine came and nothing changed. I turned off my alarm and slept until I heard the coos of my 7 month old and the laughter of my 20 month old. Surely the next morning would be better? Nope. Maybe the following week would be the winner? Definitely not. While I did find some humor in the failed morning routine mission, part of me was really disappointed in myself. I wasn’t just doing it for kicks and giggles, I needed to do this to be a better mom. Every article I read said that I couldn’t have a productive day unless I accomplished my checklist before the kids woke up. The articles told me I would be a more engaged mother only if I was able to wake up early. So why couldn’t I do this simple thing?
I put all the articles aside and I started thinking about who I was and what I needed. I am not the mom that gets up at 4am and runs 10 miles. I am not the mom that makes organic, gluten free snacks for my family. So what is going to work for me? While getting up early is not my strong suit, I can stay up late and “party” with the best of them! Instead of emulating other stay-at-home-moms, I needed to create a routine for me and for my family. I am not those other moms, so I don’t know why I was trying so hard to do what they do. I brought out the pen and paper and made a more realistic routine that was tailored to my lifestyle. It started with getting up only slightly before the kids to get dressed, and ended with me finishing up my tasks after the children were in bed.
I am happy to report that it’s been a week and I have been able to follow my routine for the most part. I don’t mind folding laundry at 10pm or working on my blog at midnight. What am I missing out on by doing it this way instead? Nothing. I still start the day with a clean house because I do all the cleaning the night before. I set a time to go to bed to ensure I’m getting enough sleep. (Just kidding. I’m a mom so forget about the sleep part.) I also get up a tad bit earlier than the kids to ensure I get out of my pajamas and look presentable for the day. I still feel more prepared for the day and I am able to be more present for my kids which was the ultimate goal.
So what was so different this time? Well, I finally stopped trying to be like the moms in the articles and instead created a routine that works for me and my family. Being a mom is hard and it’s so amazing to have a mom tribe to help keep my head above water. However, I need to remember that while something may work for another mom, it might not work for me, and that’s okay.