12 October 2015
My Morning Makeover
Mornings have been a mess for me ever since...about when baby #4 showed up. And ever since then, I've lost more and more sleep, and cared less and less for my physical well-being. I just...forgot about me. Or maybe, like most moms, I feel guilty even entertaining the thought that I need to maintain my own mental health. How selfish is that???
I've searched for solutions to this lethargic, drained, can't-get-anything-accomplished funk that I've been in, and some things have truly helped--like putting together a vitamin regimen that really works. But what really kills me is being behind schedule before the day really even starts. And that's exactly what happens when your kids are up before you are. It. Is. Murder.
This is what my mornings would look like.
5:30am - Pat wakes us up, demanding breakfast, already asking for stuff we don't have, or that isn't breakfast food, so before I even open my eyes I'm saying "No! No! No!" And in a grumpy mood. I am a slave to my children. Harumph. Usually I discover that one or two of the younger kids have come in in the middle of the night. Ah. So that's why my back is wrenched. Again.
6:00am - I piece together breakfast, often one or two kids at a time, since they stagger their wake ups, so the next hour is spent as a short order chef.
6:20am - Matt's rushing out the door and I have to throw together a lunch for him, or else he's spending $10 on some horrible street meat in the city. Ew. And those forgotten lunches add up. A month of not being on my game in the mornings could easily cost us $100. That's a week's worth of groceries!
7:00am - If Karol's not downstairs yet, I start hollering for her. She does not like to wake up this way. With four other kids, however, I usually don't take the time to go upstairs and gently nudge her. I'd have to do it about 20 times, anyway.
7:30am - By now the boys are bursting with energy and must be sent outside, and I spend a good chunk of time cleaning the kitchen, because the morning's chaotic non-stop breakfast-making/food-prep-a-thon has left it totally trashed.
8:30am - Eventually all the kids are dressed, teeth brushed, and ready to start school, so we do, because time is of the essence. I, however, usually end up staying in my pajamas until school and lunch are over and there's somewhere we need to be. If there's nowhere to go that day, I may not change at all. And I feel like a dumpy housewife. Ugh!
Somehow several weeks ago, I stumbled on a bunch of promotional posts about Crystal Paine's Make Over Your Mornings course. You probably know who Crystal Paine is, even if you don't know you know. She's the Money Saving Mom! I've used her coupon database for years, but I don't think I even realized how much more there was to her website until recently.
Well the post (or several posts, all over the mommy blogosphere, actually) sold me, and I signed up for the Make Over Your Mornings online course. It took a couple of weeks to put together a morning routine that really works for me, and I'm still tweaking it, but for the most part, it's a huge improvement.
The highlights of the course that really affected me were 1) finally training myself to wake up early, 2) setting up my morning the night before, and 3) setting attainable goals. The course also comes with a really cute e-book that has worksheets you can use to help you plan through your goals, and put together your morning schedule.
And finally, just finding the opportunity to dig deeper into Crystal Paine's website and all the other things she has to offer has really lit a fire under me to do things--like writing on this blog!--again. Things that make me feel like I'm moving the ball forward: writing for GOPCampaigner.com and prioritizing my other work-from-home stuff.
As my mornings shape up, I hope to include things like exercise in the mix, but I'm not there yet. One goal at a time, I suppose.
Here's how my mornings are going so far, now that I've completed the Make Over Your Mornings course:
4:30am - Yeah, that's right. I'm waking up at 4:30am. And not hating it! Thanks to a few sleep tweaks, I wake up--feeling genuinely ready to be awake--somewhere between 4 and 4:30 in the morning. I sneak out of bed (Jack is still waking up to nurse around 2am, so he's usually still there when I get up) and grab anything I need on the way out (my computer, so I can work). I start my tea, and watch Crystal Paine's periscope from the previous day on katch.me while I'm unloading the dishwasher. She does them live at 7:30am, but by then I'm on to other things. I'm getting a little obsessed with this woman. Well, at least all her work.
4:45am - I try to take some time to read the Bible and do my morning offering while enjoying my tea and something to tide me over until breakfast (usually a little yogurt or fruit).
5:00am - Then I head downstairs and move the laundry forward. Sometimes that means starting a new load in the washer. Sometimes it also means taking clean clothes out of the dryer and sorting them into the kids' baskets (they fold their own clothes) and folding my, Matt's and Jackie's clothes and the towels and sheets. Sometimes I even pull out the iron and get some of Matt's things pressed. I am definitely feeling accomplished on days I get ironing done.
5:30/6:00am - Depending on how long I spend in the laundry room, by this time I'm hopefully ready to get some computer work done. Sometimes I spend this time prepping for school work. Usually a hungry child shows up, but since I've started this new routine, Matt and I are working hard to enforce the rule that children stay in bed until 7am. But I can't refuse a hungry child, so usually I give them something snacky to tide them over.
6:00am - I try to make a salad sort of lunch for Matt, and a snack and something breakfasty for the train as well.
6:30am - After all that, I want to do blogging work. And I think at some point I'll be able to comfortably do this. But for now, I'm still worried about the kids interrupting me and it's not often I'm willing to risk it. I usually do things like go over my calendar and to-do list and check and respond to emails.
I may rearrange things so that I do computer work first, thus guaranteeing myself a solid hour or two of work before the crazy sets in, but I don't want to sacrifice Bible time, and getting those housekeeping items taken care of are an absolute must if we're going to have a smooth week. I also haven't yet worked out when to get myself dressed and ready for the day; I need to make planning my clothes for the next day a part of my night-time routine.
That's my new morning routine so far. There's still a lot of kinks to work out, but it's loads better than waking up with kids jumping on me, still dead tired from going to bed too late the night before. It's a definite improvement!