Before my baby I was NOT a morning person. Yep, not at all an early bird, smile as the sun comes up, ready to take on the world–kind of person. I was definitely the never felt like I had enough sleep, hitting the snooze button six times, take a half awake excessively long shower and then rush to get dressed, get mad that I have no time for breakfast again, struggle through traffic with a few choice words, miraculously clock in on time, make co workers nervous with my “no, I have NOT had my coffee yet” bitch face–kind of person.
As a new stay at home mom I quickly discovered that the don’t talk to me until my caffeine has kicked in attitude was not going to work. My baby girl Lauren, as sweet as she is, does not care at all about how little sleep I got or what time it happens to be–when she’s up she is looking for me to be ready and that’s that.
Most mornings I just wasn’t ready, but the mother in me simply went on auto pilot mode to get things done. Changing blow out diapers or facing a messy kitchen proved stressful when everything in me just wanted to sleep. Compounding that stress with the mom guilt of feeling that way at all made for a pretty grumpy mommy. So I decided to let go of that energy and discover real ways to become that unicorn morning person.
How Can I Become A Morning Person As A Stay At Home Mom?
I made a list. That’s right, a good old fashioned pen to paper list of all the challenges I face in the mornings. Surprisingly the list wasn’t long, and the challenges were basic. I made a plan that eliminated some habits and created new ones to make mornings work for me instead of wear me down. After trying loads of simple solutions, these are the 8 habits that stuck and transformed my mornings.
Stop & Go To Bed Earlier
I rarely felt like i got enough sleep at night, leaving me feeling like the walking dead in the mornings. The obvious solution was to well..get more sleep woman! Sleeping in wasn’t a realistic option, but going to bed earlier was a definite possibility to catch more zzz’s. I struggled as I had a hard time shutting down at night. There were numerous nights when I would be consumed in random housework or zone out watching tv instead. I convinced myself that I was enjoying “me time” or getting a head start on the next day — really I was just setting myself up for a weary morning and sleepy unproductive tomorrow.
…I was just setting myself up for a weary morning and sleepy unproductive tomorrow.
So, I created a simple mommy nighttime routine to help me come down from the busy of the day and calm my mind for much needed rest. I’ll be sharing my nighttime routine in a future post! Lauren wakes up to feed once or twice a night these days; that factored in with hitting the bed earlier gives me a solid 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep — about 7 to 8 hours all together! Huge change from my previously sad 4 or 5 hours total. Going to bed earlier created a more energized mommy in the mornings eliminating the need for mommy auto pilot mode.
Set An Alarm & Wake Up Before The Baby
The idea of waking up earlier than I had to did not sound fun. I groggily woke up only to the sound of my baby crying every morning and not a nano second before. So it took a while to wrap my head around this one. The idea of waking earlier was to give myself a calm period of self care before the bustle of the day began. As a stay at home mom, it is incredibly easy for me to get lost in the steady steam of demands and needs of caring for baby. I actually forget to tend to the basic needs of myself. Finding time to brush my teeth, get dressed in something other than yoga pants, or hell even showering is a big accomplishment all too often.
I set my alarm about 30 minutes to an hour before Lauren typically wakes. I prefer a gentle pleasant melody rather than a starling alarm sound. Once awake, doing something as simple as listening to my favorite podcast while showering or putting on mascara makes me feel more confident about taking on the day.
Making time for this kind of intentional self awareness and care has now become one of the most important parts of my day! It is a huge departure from my old routine of being startled awake by my crying baby and jumping right back into the daily demands without any buffer or thought to my well being. Moms — you are incredibly important, take care of yourself — it’s fine I promise.
Breakup With The Snooze Button
The snooze button and I had a close relationship. Anytime my alarm sounded I responded with “just 10 more minutes.” Well, 10 minutes usually tuned to 30 and the productivity of the morning began to slip away. I eliminated this sabotaging habit by simply placing the alarm farther from my bed. I was much less likely to hit the snooze button if I had to travel my room to reach it each morning.
Sure, it can be annoying having to crawl out of bed to quiet an alarm. Over time I found that I stopped loathing this moment and just got on with it. On days when that extra 10 minutes is too tempting to resist, I allow myself that little extra snuggle time under my cozy comforter while I listen to my favorite podcast or any song by Beyoncé.
Stretch It Out!
There is no shortage of information on the internet about the crazy good benefits of exercise to boost your mornings–improved metabolism, circulation, mental clarity and more! Well…I tried. The act of waking up and jumping into a exercise routine was brutal. Waking up even earlier, getting sweaty, and wore out all before breakfast was a bad combination for me.
So I scoured the internet for a physical activity that could give me some of the same benefits but was a bit more relaxed and flowed better with my mornings. After trying a few things I naturally fell into yoga. A simple morning yoga routine provides me with a low impact mind and body workout.
I’m currently loving this easy morning yoga stretching routine I found on YouTube. I love how energized and strong my body feels after stretching it out. I always feel more present and calm. Knocking off some of that baby weight has been a nice plus too!
I love setting the tone for the rest of my day through intentional writing. During my self care period, I write down one to three things I’m grateful for and one thing I’m looking forward to that day in a journal. Doing so, frames my thoughts in gratitude and the positive potential of the day.
In my post My Simple Truth To A Joyful Life As A New Mom I speak more about my thoughts on living in gratitude. Incorporating this into my mornings has been so influential in changing my attitude during this life changing process. Just try it — it’s an super positive way to start a new day and approach just about everything that happens in it.
Create A Simple Morning Routine
It seems that there are always a million things I want to accomplish in a day and it can be super overwhelming. Establishing a routine to tackle the uncertainty of it all has been amazing. Once my baby girl wakes up, we dive into my easy morning routine.
A key foundation to my mommy morning routine is to map tasks out in advance! I write down our daily breakfast plans, prioritize chores, and highlight errands or appointments on a weekly basis. I always know exactly what i need to get done on any given morning. This has transformed the time I wasted stressed and running around trying to get it all done, but accomplishing little, into extra quality time with my little one.
A solid routine has given my mornings much needed structure and given me back a sense of control over the morning craziness. As this article suggest, the more you stick with your routine the more efficient you will get. Repetition is a major ingredient to building new habits.
Smile A Little
I’m taking a page from my baby on this one. Lauren wakes up with a big smile on her face every day that is so contagious. This article explains that a simple smile releases lovely neurotransmitters like endorphins and serotonin that work as natural anti depressants and relax the body. I tested this out and it totally works! Smiling is an amazingly simple way to lift my mood during those small moments of frustration throughout the day. I’ve noticed that smiling also effects the mood of those around me.
Lauren is definitely easier to calm when I’m more conscious of smiling while comforting her instead of wearing my mommy face of concern or worry. In no time she’s wearing a gummy grin. I believe it is so important for my daughter to see me go about my day with joy and a happy face so she continues to approach her days with that big grin and curious optimism.
Yeah, I’ve totally reached unicorn morning person status and it wasn’t as impossible as I once made it out to be. By forming a just a few new habits, with practice, and a little self discipline I’ve turn my mornings into something beautiful and productive. While every morning isn’t perfect and life happens in unexpected ways at times, I’m grateful for this change.