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After months of struggling in my role as a stay at home mom, I finally feel like I’ve got this whole thing down. Or at least found a way to make things easier on myself.
My house stays pretty clean (most days! 😉 ) without much effort or time on my part. By the time my daughter gets up for the day I feel like I’m way ahead of things instead of several steps behind all day. My mornings are stress free and run smoothly. And instead of spending my whole day trying to catch up on all the things I need to get done, I can use that time doing things I actually want to do.
For so long that wasn’t the case though. I always felt so busy, but was somehow completely unproductive. At the end of the day I would look around at my messy, chaos-filled house and wonder what I had actually accomplished. I’d think to myself, how can I do so much all day and still have nothing to show for it?
After living like this for months, I knew something had to change. I was stressed out and frustrated. And so I decided to try something entirely different. This one small change was really all it took to completely make over my whole day.
So what changed? I started getting up before my child and completing a morning routine.
That’s it. So simple, but so incredibly effective!
My morning routine
I used to stay in bed until my daughter woke up so that I could get as much sleep as possible. The problem with this is that for the rest of the day I felt like I was playing catch up. And I could never actually get caught up. My day started with an overwhelming feeling of disorder.
Getting up earlier wasn’t easy for me to do at first. I am not a morning person at all, and I love my sleep. But being able to have a little time to myself before the day really begins and getting ahead on all the things that need to be done for the day is so worth it to me. It really did get easier to get up earlier after a while too, I just had to get in the habit. Now it’s not even a struggle (most mornings 😉 ).
Here’s how my mornings look lately. I may eventually change things up, but for now this seems to work out pretty perfectly for me.
Make the bed
This one is really more for my hubby than for me. When we had first gotten married we worked opposite shifts at the same company. He worked 7pm-7am, and I worked 7am-7pm. Most days the only time we saw each other was in passing.
We created a daily ritual of leaving a little post it note on our bedroom wall with a sweet message and making the bed. When the other person got home they would be met with a welcoming and loving atmosphere. It was something so small and simple, but it was so nice to come home to!
He still works nights now and so he has to sleep during the day. It may seem pointless to make the bed right before it is going to be slept in, but I really think he sleeps better in a made bed. Plus, it’s something to show him I love him and was thinking of him. 🙂
Get up and ready for the day
For me this is so very important. Most days I don’t even leave the house, so I could get away with not changing out of what I slept in. But I believe it makes a difference when you take the time to get dressed and make yourself presentable. The days that I don’t do this and just stay in my pj’s all day nothing seems to get done. I feel like being lazy and lounging around the house with no real purpose. If I’m dressed and ready for the day I feel like I can take on anything! I feel good and am so much more productive.
I tend to focus more on this at night before I go to bed. That way the house is nice and tidy when I get up – it’s seriously such a great feeling seeing a clean house in the morning. But I do take a few minutes in the morning as well to put away anything out of place or that I might not have gotten to the day before. This doesn’t take long at all but what a difference! If you take just about 5-10 minutes every day to do a quick pick up it will help keep your house from turning into a disaster.
Start a load of laundry
I like to have a load of laundry done every day so that I never get behind on it and overwhelmed by piles of dirty clothes. I’ll throw a load of laundry into the washer in the morning and then at the end of the day I’ll fold and put away the clothes. This takes away so much of the stress of laundry and it takes so little effort.
Empty the dishwasher
Every morning I empty the dishwasher and put away all the clean dishes. I’ve already cleaned up the kitchen the night before, so this is really the only thing that’s needed in the kitchen! It’s such a great way to start my day with nothing in the sink or cluttering the counter tops. Then throughout the day the dishwasher gets filled back up. At night all I have to do is turn it on.
This is what really makes the biggest impact on my day and how I handle whatever gets thrown at me. I look forward to having this time so much! And since I’m up before my child, I can have my quiet time when the house is actually still quiet! I get to sip my hot coffee and read my Bible and pray and just start the day focusing on Jesus. It doesn’t get any better than this.
For my quiet time, I’m currently reading David: 90 Days with A Heart Like His by Beth Moore every morning. I definitely recommend it! This book takes about 10-15 minutes to read every day and so it’s so simple to fit in a busy schedule. But it’s still so in depth and insightful. There have been some days when I’m still thinking about what I had read that morning and it’s still impacting me.
After everything’s done
By the time I’ve completed everything on my list, my husband is usually just getting home and the little one has just woken up. At this point I’ll start making breakfast and spend a little time with my husband. I’ll usually either turn on some music for Addie or a show for her to watch while breakfast is cooking. By starting my day off on the right foot, I’m able to greet my hubby with a cheerful attitude and enjoy breakfast with my daughter.
Even if the rest of my day doesn’t go as planned and nothing else gets done, it’s really not a huge deal. The big things are out of the way! But honestly, it’s not hard to keep things orderly throughout the day.
The key to making a morning routine work for you is to keep it short and simple. My morning routine only takes about 30-45 minutes to do. Make a list of a few things you really want to get done. Only the things that are really important to you. If you have too long of a routine it’s most likely not going to get done. This is supposed to make things easier on you, not more stressful. So don’t over-complicate things!
What’s in your morning routine? Do you get up early in order to get a head-start on your day?