The last meeting we had for our homeschool co-op a woman spoke who had homeschooled for over 30 years. One of the things that she pointed to as to her success as a long term homeschool mom was regular self care.
Early on in my parenting I realized that I had to do everything in my power to wake up before my children so I could meet my needs so that I would be ready to meet theirs.
Some seasons of life come with exceptions such as having a new born but once I was through that stage I had to get back to taking care of my needs first thing in the morning to maintain my health and be happy.
I chuckled to myself when the woman at our co-op shared what her morning routine looked like all those years because it was so similar to what I have been practicing and refining for the last few years in my career as a stay at home mom.
This is what mornings look like for me every day outside of being sick or a family vacation or something.
5:00 a.m wake up, make coffee, sit and slowly drink it while I read my Bible and pray. This takes around 40 minutes. I also check my blood sugar and take insulin first thing in the morning but I know that’s very specific to me. Other people take medication or vitamins though so working them into your morning routine may help you remember.
I then do a 15 minute stretching routine using a youtube video. Nothing intense, I’ve just learned that it is absolutely impossible to stretch and relax with a 2 and 4 year old crawling all over me. If I want to stretch I have to do it while they are asleep. Stretching also helps gets my blood circulating in the morning.
I make my bed. It may seem strange to include that in self care but I have a couple reasons for doing this before the kids wake up. One, if they are up they want to help which means they jump all over the bed and pull the blankets off faster than I can get them on! Also, if I don’t do it before they get up I may not get to it all day and a made bed makes me feel like something has been accomplished. It’s a mental boost!
I get dressed and do my hair and makeup. I timed myself this morning and I have my hair and makeup routine down in less than 5 minutes.
Before leaving the bathroom I tidy it up. This enables me to be able to shut the master bedroom door and keep the kids out. They are welcome in there when they take a bath or when we are having family cuddles but generally I keep them out so they don’t get their dirty selves all over my bed and get into stuff. I like walking into my bedroom after a long day and have it be a toy free zone.
I’ll usually have a few (as in 5-10) minutes to check email and FB and write any texts I need to send out later in the day. My goal is then to not be on the internet or having my phone in hand until they are asleep for the night. I’m not perfect about it but my general guideline for myself is no surfing the internet while on the job!
I need to work on teaching my kids to stay in bed until 7:00. That was a point that the woman who spoke at the homeschool meeting brought up. Pretty often they start yelling, “Mama!” around 6:30 and it makes our morning more stressful because they have not gotten enough sleep and are still tired. Also, I would really like to know I was going to get a solid two hours to myself every day. I have heard of clocks that light up at a set time to let a child know it’s okay to get up. That may work for my four year old but I really have no idea how to teach a 2 year old to stay in bed. He goes to bed around 8:00-8:30 and I run him good throughout the day. My four year old rarely naps. I just have two very energetic kids! If you have successfully taught a toddler to stay in bed until 7:00 share in the comments!
Doing this list of things in the morning makes me feel ready to meet my children with a smile and say, “I’m so glad to see you!” If I don’t have my needs met I’m usually thinking about me instead of them.
I view motherhood as my job so I view 7:00 a.m as “clocking in” and my aim is to be ready to clock in just like I would be ready to clock into any other job.