Being a stay-at-home mom is hard. It’s not working mom hard, it’s a different hard. One of the hardest things about it is that there is little to no structure. Or, your structure is all based on your child’s nap schedule.
I found myself kind of in a cycle of being very tired, not eating regular meals, not having time to be ready for the day, and not having a productive day. Last school year, our mornings were rushed, Charlotte wouldn’t sit down and eat, and I felt frazzled. School time and nap time would fly by way too fast, I’d hardly get anything done, I was exhausted, behind, and desperately needing alone time by the weekend.
I knew I wanted more from my days, and it really seemed like the mornings were the key. Yes, my sister-in-law, Candence, had been telling me for at least two years to wake up earlier. But I’m a night owl, and so is Tim. I am not a morning person.
I thought through what I wanted: I wanted to have more energy, feel put together, feel prepared for the day, and start my day off on a positive note. And I wanted school time and nap time to be set aside for to-dos, writing, and me time. I wanted to feel more free to be social on the weekends and go do things as a family. Knowing this, I started writing down how I thought I could get there.
It starts at night
On school nights, this is what my schedule looks like:
– clean up after dinner
– set out clothes for tomorrow (mine and Charlotte’s)
– put away clean laundry
– make lunches (twice a week – Sunday and Tuesday)
– pick up clutter
– take out trash
– load and start dishwasher
– bedtime stories and songs
– skin care, get ready for bed
Usually, Tim will do the dishes after dinner while I go shower, but I will finish up whatever he didn’t do. Showering at night has been a game-changer ever since Charlotte was born. If I tried to shower in the mornings, I don’t think I’d ever shower. I put together two lunches at a time for school. This way, in the morning, I just put the lunch box in the bag and we’re ready to go.
Setting out Charlotte’s clothes for the next day has made a huge difference. Toddlers have a lot of opinions, so if she sees me looking through her closet in the morning, she has objections and it can often turn into a struggle (because no, she can’t wear the glittery sandals to school). We have a hook on her wall now, so she sees what she’s going to wear before bed, and there are almost no arguments.
I keep an “observations” journal in my nightstand, and it’s my way of reflecting on the day. I usually write down cute things Charlotte says or does, or anything that made me happy that day.
Hit the ground running
Literally, kind of. I have never been one to work out, but I know I feel better when my body has been moving. So that’s how I start out.
– get myself ready for the day
– gratitude journal
– put one load of laundry in
– unload dishwasher
– prep for the day
– get Charlotte ready
– get in the car early
I use Daily Deposit for gratitude journaling, because it also has sections for personal development and affirmations. Personal development is so helpful for me to gain perspective, and telling myself good things about myself has been transformative for me. Writing these things down instead of keeping them in my head solidifies them.
Putting in one load of laundry every morning keeps me from becoming overwhelmed with laundry (I have one child, so one per day is doable). I move it to the dryer during nap time, and as you saw, in the evenings it’s my goal to put it away (sometimes it sits for a day or two or five).
I get us in the car at least five minutes early because if we don’t, we will be late. Early or late, there is no in between. If you have kids, you know on the day you are running late, your child will suddenly need to go potty, or spill something, or you’ll remember you’re forgetting something important. We sit in the car for a few minutes listening to Kidz Bop while I post on Instagram.
Since I am terrible about eating breakfast, I now drink Soylent. I like that it’s ready to go, so I just chug it, and I notice a big difference in how much energy I have if I don’t drink it.
I have enough time to look somewhat decent, I feel prepared for the day, and I have more energy. I’m not scrambling to put the lunch box together. I am ready to tackle my to do list when I get home from school drop-off. I even have some wiggle room with time, and have often sat down to read while Charlotte is playing and eating breakfast.
Every day is not perfect. I don’t always have it together. Things come up. But having this routine in place more often than not allows me to handle whatever comes up.
How do you tackle your mornings to be the most productive?