For both of my maternity leaves, I had Big Plans. I was going to fix Everything in my life in my 3-4 months off work. I was going to get 100% tidy once and for all à la Marie Kondo. Because now I would have all this free time on my hands, right? HA.
I don’t think I even came to terms with the concept of how unrealistic my maternity leave goals were until about a month after my second leave ended. I completely wasn’t accounting for the fact that bringing a new baby into my life would most certainly disrupt any semblance of a routine that I thought I had under control before she was born.
I personally wasn’t able to accomplish much during those chaotic maternity leave days, and the number one reason was sleep deprivation. Now that I mercifully have both babies sleeping 12 hours a night, I get to reclaim control over my “first thing in the morning routine”.
Here is my list of three things that set my day up for success as a work at home mom. If I miss them, watch out. I can get pretty down about everything in life. But I have noticed that these three things are game changers for my mood and productivity for the rest of the day.
1. Get Up Before Everyone Else in Your House
If I’m not up before the babies, I feel thrown into reactive mode and that doesn’t seem to stop until their bedtime. Now that they are both sleeping in, I have a much better chance at getting in some precious quiet time first thing.
I also aim to get up at least an hour before my husband. I’ve been struggling with finding the motivation to do this, but when you have a dream and a plan, you can get yourself to do some crazy things. It’s 4:41 a.m. on a Monday and here I am!
Even if I can only manage to get up 30 minutes before him, and I only get 20 minutes to myself, that is still enough to set me on the path of feeling in control of my day.
2. Do the One Thing You Think You Don’t Have Time For
This goes hand in hand with getting up before everyone else. The reason getting up first is so important to me is because it’s time that I can use just for me. Just for something that matters to only me.
I have a chalkboard hanging in our living area with Rachel Hollis quotes:
“NOBODY is going to CARE about Your DREAM as much as you do. EVER.”
This includes your husband, and everyone else in your house. Of course they care about your dream, but they can’t care enough to make it happen for you. YOU must be the one who takes action on it. They couldn’t do it for you, even if they wanted to.
Use this time, even if you can only get 20 minutes, to work on your dream.
How do you decide what to do with this time?
If you got nothing else accomplished all day, what’s the one thing that would make you feel like you got to move your dream forward? For me, there are so many things: I want to lose the baby weight, get everything in our lives organized, and be a successful blogger. And I just can’t take action on all of those areas in 20 minutes to an hour.
But the thing that makes me have a breakdown if I’m not getting to it is the feeling that I’m doing nothing about my dream of being a successful blogger. And then I complain to my husband and anyone who will listen that I don’t have the time to make this dream happen for myself.
Not true. Not if I get up before my husband. What’s the one thing that you complain to other people that you don’t have enough time for? The one thing that you desperately wished you had time for, if only you could figure out how to get an uninterrupted 30 minutes to an hour every day?
That is the thing you must use this time for. I recently read a good article by Suzi at Start a Mom Blog about what activities to do during the various time slots you get as a work at home mom. She says do not use your baby’s precious sleeping time to do something you can do in 5 minutes.
You have to think ahead to this short amount of time alone and decide what you are going to do with it. Don’t waste it on Facebook, checking email, or sweeping up the floor (I have been guilty of all of these!). If you give it some thought ahead of time, you are setting yourself up for better chances that you will get something meaningful done during that time.
3. Put on Makeup
I have a super simple makeup routine. People are always saying things to me like “oh but you don’t wear makeup, do you?” Yes, yes I do. It’s just incredibly basic and that’s how I like it.
I put on makeup because when I see my reflection in the mirror later I feel put together. If I go out to the grocery store at some point, I feel ready to face the world.
I don’t put on makeup until later in the morning, well after I have worked on my one thing and had a few cups of hot tea. But once it’s on, that’s my ready for the day moment.
I know morning routines are crucial to setting the day up for success. I also know that I have to be flexible and forgiving when things don’t go 100% how I wanted them to. Having simple morning routine goals as a new mom can be very helpful to all other areas of life.
Do you have one thing you have to do first thing in the morning that sets your day up for success?