Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Pearls of Wisdom - Number 6 Make Morning Routine

Make. Morning. Routine.

Sounds so boring doesn't it?!

If you ask my husband about me and routine when we first met he would tell you that I would balk at the idea and do what ever I could to sabotage his attempts at getting me in to one, especially in the mornings. He however has been the master of them since the dawn of time (slight exaggeration but this man thrives on routine!) and you could set your watch by what he did and when he did it.

Cue parenthood and a screaming newborn...

And so routine - any routine really, all went to shit for a while as we got our heads around the whole thing, a year passed and I settled in to being a working mama but still no real routine for me and the babe, husband - still morning routine like clock work (however at this point after dealing with the messy and unpredictable experience that is raising a child he had learned to cope with a bit of variation, flexibility and the odd spontaneous twist of fate that a puking toddler can bring into the mix!).

Then, enter baby number two and I realised, very quickly, that if didn't get my shit together this time then two small people - one of which had to be somewhere, at a certain time, would be very challenging and on top of that, as if we weren't a gluten for punishment enough, we had also just moved house and husband was trying to re-establish his business in a different part of the country.... oh and the baby had a cows milk allergy so lots of reflux, screaming and sleepless nights while she fed for comfort... and oh yeah, I suffered with PND and my eldest was about to start school and the chaos of our life was just immense....

So what did I do?

Yes you've guessed it (title was a bit of a give away right?!), I started to carve out a morning routine for us!

No longer could I rebel in my independence, I needed to be organised, I needed to achieve and I needed to get shit done, and actually I needed to make sure I was taken care of too. Finding something to wear that didn't make me feel like an ├╝ber frumpy mum, blow drying my hair and putting on some make up are all part of building up my self love. Eating well and not just living on coffee and rice crispies was and still is important to my health and well being and only having roughly 20 mins to just exercise/set intentions/write to do lists/feed the cats/unstack the dishwasher or whatever else that needs to get done early without two grumpy or excitable girls, depending on the day, hanging off my legs is a game changer for the rest of the day.

So a conversation took place between me and the husband, much to his delight and fueled by my utter frustration of always being late, looking like crap and forgetting to eat or pack something important. We thrashed out a morning routine that seemed to tick at least a few boxes for each of us and would get all of us where we needed to be at the right time feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed.

It wasn't easy to come up with one that worked right away, my husband and I both work from home but he likes to get started super early and I don't want to be left to deal with toddler tantrums and dramas about homework/hairstyles/school lunches (yes she is five going on fifteen!) all by myself! 

A few slight disagreements and some compromising later we came up with a plan and it works! It has totally transformed our morning dynamic as a family - grown ups get what they need to get going for the day, children get what they need (and so do the cats!) and for most of the time we are on time and feeling good about it, yay!

As our girls get older, as our needs as working parents, business owners, husband and wife (not trying to be sexy here!) and as individuals change we will have to adapt it and have actually had to do this with a few ongoing tweaks already but man oh man, life is so much better with a morning routine! And if my husband is reading this he's about to come and tell me I told you so!

So what does your morning routine look like? 

Stumble out of bed with alarm on snooze or rude awakening by child/pet/bin man?

Do you run or work out, meditate or visualise?

Do you shower, eat breakfast and run out the house forgetting to put underwear on?

Maybe it's an utter disaster and you need to re-haul the whole thing or maybe it's OK but a bit of inspiration to make some positive changes would really set you up to get your shit done, each and every day ready to make that change? - well, keep reading because Im going to share with you some small changes that can have a big impact on your morning routine and what to do when your day starts off a disaster....

1. Preparation is key - you may or may not of heard this before but getting even semi organised the night before really helps. In our family once the clock strikes 8pm we're good for nothing so our night before prep is minimal but what we do make sure we do every night is pick out clothes for the next day, write out a to do list or daily plan and sometimes if I'm feeling super energised I'll prep for breakfast, have school bags packed and have laundry reading to chuck in to the machine first thing - all these things help massively to start our day off better and if there is only one thing you tweak for a better morning routine it should be this one, what prep could you do the night before?

2. Get up earlier - I can hear you moaning already, especially if you have small people who wake through the night like I do or you tend to be a night owl and are up late the night before, however even an extra 10-15 minutes will make a massive difference to your day, think of all the extra things you could achieve in that time, even just having more time in the shower to shave your legs, drink a cup of coffee or not having to run to catch your bus/train or whatever, starting your day slightly earlier will give you less stress and more calm and control, who doesn't want that?! 
Here are more ideas of what you can achieve by getting up earlier
Read the newspaper
Paint your toenails
Make a super healthy breakfast
Getting some extra hugs from the people you love
Write a chapter of a book or a blog post
Phone a friend
Write out your to do list and tick some of it off
Apply for your dream job or book your dream holiday
Get to work earlier or even just on time
Stop for a coffee on the way
Morning sex!
What would you do with an extra 10, 20, 30 minutes?

3. Take care of you - what I mean by this is doing something that enhances your well being, it could be anything on the list above and actually getting up earlier makes this easier and more likely to happen but you can also fit it in to what you're doing already for example you can listen to an podcast or audio book whilst showering, eating breakfast or traveling to work. You can stretch and move your body to warm it up for the day ahead - this is one I personally struggle with, the last thing I want to do when I wake up is exercise but I can tell you now when I make the effort to do this, which actually means making the effort o care for myself, I feel amazing, motivated and ready to take on anything (even a mega toddler tantrum!) 

Weaving these 3 changes in to your morning routine will super charge it, I can guarantee you. You also need to ensure you have the basics - wash, dress, eat, it may seem obvious but I know lots of people who don't put as much time in to these things as they could but actually these basics are essential for a good day ahead and can leave you feeling off balanced if you don't prioritise them too.

Remember you are instigating a lifestyle change here so it may take time to find a routine that's right for your life, try out different combinations of what order you do things until you have something in place that works and feels positive. Making a change a first may feel hard, you may give yourself an excuse that you simply aren't a morning person but change doesn't come easy or with out commitment or dedication. Inevitably there will be days when it all goes wrong - our family are experts in cocked up morning routines so here's a little tip we remember when our morning start off on the wrong foot...

Except that today is different, that it might have its pitfalls and then let it go, you can and will start again tomorrow! 

Here is some more morning routine inspiration you might like:

So, feel ready to make your morning routine?
I'd love to hear more of your ideas on how you streamline your mornings, what you do to feel organised and motivated, or maybe what you are struggling with the most with a routine.
Sharing tips and ideas means we can all benefit so don't be shy....

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