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Surviving the Morning Routine: 4 Tips to Start Your Day

January 21, 2019

Today we are sharing a reader essay by Megan McCarty who has made a few simple changes to create a better morning routine! 

And here 12 working moms share their morning routine and 20 tips for getting yourself & your kids out the door in the morning

There are the people that roll out of bed mere minutes before starting their work day. There are the
ambitious folks that get in a 5 mile run and blend up a protein smoothie before 5am. There are those
that respond to emails over their French press coffee. And then, there’s moms. Moms have wet beds to
wash, sippy cups of milk to fill, coffee to brew, backpacks and lunches to pack, makeup to appu, little
bodies to wrangle into clothing, dogs to feed, shoes to find, and the list goes on…all before plopping in
to that desk chair.

My husband starts work early in the morning, so it’s just me and my girl doing our best to get out that
door by 7:15AM. What used to be a rushed, stressed mess leaving us both starting our day feeling awful
and more often than not, in tears, has turned in to a time, dare I say, we can “enjoy” and set the tone
for our day ahead. Here are my 4 tips to get out that door peacefully in the morning:

Start out strong

Set your alarm. Don’t set it for the time you want to wake up – that will be too late. And don’t set it for
the time you wish you’d wake up – that will be too early. Set it for a realistic time that allows you to get
enough rest, but also allows you enough time to get everything done. For me, I want to sleep until 6 and
I wish I could get up at 5 and have more alone time, but 5:30 is my sweet spot. Take the first few
minutes to do something that will start your day off with a bit of joy. I love to fix a pot of coffee. Maybe
pray, meditate, stretch, play with your dog, creep on your sleeping baby…whatever puts your heart in a
place of gratitude.

Avoid your phone

In the morning, I use my phone for my alarm clock and to see what the weather will be for the day. As
tempted as I am to check my email to get a jump start on the day or as enticing as that little purple,
yellowish square can be, I know that if I open those apps, I’ll be running behind. It’s too easy to get
focused on something on my phone and lose track of time. Plus, the moment I dive in, my mind is off
and running for the day. I prefer to take a slower paced, more “warm-up-to-the day” approach. Instead,
I take the first chunk of my work day to review my calendar, read through my emails, set a to-do list for
the day, and take a quick peak at Instagram or a blog for some inspiration before diving in to my work.
This allows me to feel prepared and organized for the day, instead of feeling scattered about.

Offer choices

In my mind, I should be able to tell my daughter that she needs to brush her teeth, get dressed, find her
shoes, get in the car, and that we need to get going, and it should make complete, logical sense to her.
She’s three, so she hears a whole lot of things she doesn’t want to hear that totally ruin her morning.
However, it’s just not possible for us to do everything she wants in the morning either, or we’d never get
passed playing dolls in our underwear and drinking chocolate milk. Choices have been magic for our
morning. I try to let her choose from two options so she has a say in how her morning goes, but keeps it
limited at the same time. Everything is a choice – “Do you want to brush your teeth now or in 2 minutes?” “Do you want to wear the blue dress or the pink shirt?” “Do you want to put on your shoes or
do you want help?” I find much less resistance and we actually move much faster this way. My favorite
choice is letting her pick one thing to do each morning before school. I try to make sure we are ready
with at least ten minutes to spare and give her two or three “fun” things to pick from – like going for a
walk, watching a show on her iPad, grabbing coffee or a donut, or stopping by Dad’s office to say good
morning. Before, she would whine all the way to school about how she wanted to do this thing or that
thing, but now she knows she has one choice and she’s excited about doing it. It’s been a game changer
for parting ways on a happy note each morning.

Show some grace

Sure, before kids, you were a stellar employee who showed up to work early each morning looking like
you hopped out of a Banana Republic ad. Now, you roll in ten minutes late more often than you’d like to
admit and you’re taking business casual to the limit, but you’re still a good employee. Plan all you like,
one day, you will be in the throes of potty training and your kid is going to have to use the toilet and
take a million years, and you’re going to be late. Let. It. Go. Stressing over that isn’t going to help
anyone, not even your boss. Just be grateful for dry shampoo, coffee, yet another opportunity to hone
that new skill of patience your child is helping you develop, and pray your boss is as legit as mine, and
doesn’t fire you for working out the kinks of motherhood. You can only do your best, so show yourself
some grace during this phase.

By Megan McCarty

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