This post has been sponsored by Tom’s of Maine Whole Care®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Things to do in the morning before your kids wake up:
How many of you wake up to the sound of a demanding child? It is the most unrelenting alarm clock. And it seems to set the tone for my whole day.
I realized sometime early on, a few weeks after getting out of that newborn haze with Lincoln (now three), that waking up before my kids was they key to a great day. Even if it was just five minutes, having some time to collect myself without meeting the demands of a tiny human made a huge difference.
My biggest struggle was never knowing exactly when my kids would wake up (could someone PLEASE invent an alarm clock that woke you up 10, 20, or 60 minutes before your child wakes up?) and I used it as an excuse to maximize sleep and minimize productivity + positivity on and off for the last three years.
Luckily my kids are old enough now that even if I wake up to sounds from their room, I can still take a few minutes to stretch, think about things I'm grateful for, and whisper a few pleas for energy and support before having to be completely "on" for the rest of the morning.
But, even that, pales in comparison to really having a morning routine, 20-80 minutes to myself in the morning before I get to mother.
Today I'm sharing the 4 things to do in the morning, as a mom before your kids get up.
I am not perfect at doing all of these. In fact, this week I only woke up before my kids twice. But you can bet those were the happiest and most productive two days this whole week.
The easiest way for me to get out of bed before my kids are awake is to have committed to an early morning exercise class. I wake up 15 minutes before I have to be out the door and it gives me time to grab a granola bar and pull on workout gear. I then have an eight minute walk to the gym to make my plan for the day and just sit with my own thoughts.
But, exercise. Figure out what works best for you. I'm a big proponent of finding a gym with childcare and going during the day with your kids to give yourself a break. But even if you're doing that later in the day, I still think you should be doing SOMETHING before your kids wake up.
It could be a few morning yoga poses, a couple minutes of stretching, pushups and crunches, or a 10 minute run.
I've been doing HIIT classes a few mornings a week before the kids and the sun wakes up and they have me rethinking my whole "workout while my kids are at the gym daycare" philosophy and I'm trying to figure out how I can work more exercise into the very beginning of my day.
Figure out what you can commit to doing daily and then see how it impacts the rest of your day!
Reflecting + setting your focus for the day:
For the last few years I've focused on adding some intentional gratitude into my day. For awhile this was sharing three things I was grateful for with Ben each night before we fell asleep. For another spell it was typing it into a note in my phone or recording them in my planner. It wasn't until a year or so ago that I switched the gratitude list to a morning thing and was amazed at the subtle difference. Even if a child is crying when I wake up, I always have 10 seconds to remind myself I'm grateful for living + healthy children, a warm home to wake up to, and the promise of three meals today.
I've heard a lot of people talk about "setting your focus" and wrote it off as woo-woo. And then I tried it.
This can look like a lot of things. For me, it's usually a quick gratitude prayer and thinking about what my goals are for the day. Goals here are different than my to-do list. My goals go with my intention for the day. For example, this morning my focus was really on being patient with my kids. Sometimes my focus is just on being upbeat. Sometimes my focus is on quality time. Usually this has to do with the emotion I want to feel or exude throughout the day or the relationships I want to develop. I certainly have a to-do list but I save that for when I'm ready to go be productive.
I'm convinced I should be just as productive and happy in sweats and moisturizer as I am in jeans and foundation but I'm not. Part of me hates that. But the realist in me is embracing it and committing myself to being dressed before my kids wake up in something that I didn't wear to bed. Sometimes this just means gym clothes if we're headed there in an hour but bonus points if it's something that makes you feel awesome.
On mornings I am just too tired for regular pants, these jeans (shop them here) have me feeling like I'm still in yoga pants and the pajama pants I talked about in this post double as casual joggers for comfy days around campus.
Makeup + Teeth Brushing
Confession: teeth brushing and face washing were my WORST habit during the newborn stage with Lincoln because the day and night ran into each other and I lost my "standard" time to brush my teeth and wash my face. None of my kids are newborns but if I wait 'till they're up, it isn't guaranteed I have time for these.
I like to spend a couple of minutes brushing on a little bit of makeup and making sure I've at least covered my hygiene basics for the morning. Recently I switched out my toothpaste for Tom's of Maine Whole Care® Natural Toothpaste I picked up at Target as I make baby steps to work more natural products into our family (made a few changes in the kitchen too this year!). I'm using the mint one right now because, paired with the Whole Care® mouthwash, it leaves me feeling fresh + energized for the day (and less likely to snack on Lincoln + Adelaide's cereal later on).
When I was pregnant with Lincoln and Adelaide I used Tom's of Maine Strawberry toothpaste because I couldn't handle any minty flavor and I really liked that they're made with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives (first discovered it when spending the weekend at a friends and, having forgot toothpaste, borrowed some from her toddler's drawer). You can grab both of them in the oral care aisle at Target and did you know 10% of Tom's of Maine's profits go to human and environmental goodness?
You can save on Tom’s of Maine Whole Care® products at Target right now with this Cartwheel offer!
Mouthwash was a habit I got out of sometime after we moved to Ohio and after Ben's last visit to the dentist, we've adding it back into our routine with Tom’s of Maine Whole Care® mouthwash. It's clinically proven to fight cavities but also cleans between teeth and freshens my breath (which is great, because I can never seem to keep gum on hand anymore and my kids eat ALL the mints).
For makeup, I'll stick to this 90 second routine or just layer on some BB cream with my moisturizer, fill in my brows, and add a bit of mascara. If I have something other than the gym or the playroom on the calendar I might spend a bit more time but I've found having something simple means it's more likely to happen.
Just do it
I know, it's daunting committing to getting up earlier than you "have to," isn't it? But haven't those mornings when you have a few minutes to yourself been glorious? Commit to trying it everyday for a week, making sure you're getting in all four of these things, and then decide whether or not you can do it! I promise it's worth it 🙂 Check out more ways to freshen up your day here!