Let's Talk Exhaustion & Morning Routines

Our founder Teresa & today’s article author Erin laughing it out (as they always seem to be doing)

Our founder Teresa & today’s article author Erin laughing it out (as they always seem to be doing)

Hey friends, Teresa here! Consider today’s article a “Choose Your Own Adventure” of sorts, because we’re sharing it in two parts. Feel free and read whichever you think would impact you the most as we chat about Morning Routine

The first section is written by Erin, one of our & Gal Leaders, as she shares her struggles and successes in getting her day started well (sometimes we need a #metoo story so we’re reminded we’re not alone).

The second section is for anyone who simply desires the quick and gritty info. The mom who wants the cursory a + b = c to help her mornings flow better.

Enjoy choosing your own adventure! If you’re like me though, you’ll end up reading all the things because you need all the help you can get. (raise hand here)


We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.
— Richard G Scott

Maintaining the forward momentum can be challenging at times. However, remembering that you will be able to gain time for yourself, less stressful mornings, and the entire environment in the home becomes peaceful is worth it.

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. ONE .

What do your mornings look like?

Do you find your mornings stressful, full of chaos, and promising to make tomorrow better?

Or are they calm, peaceful, and focused?

Setting up a Consistent Morning Routine can create the most beautiful mornings, glorious afternoons, and restful evenings. You take the stress away and free up time to move toward the goals and achievements penciled in for the day.

Many years ago, I was a morning person and woke up early for work, and by early I mean 3:30am, because coffee addicts are in line at 4:30am * wink *. On the days I wasn’t working at Starbucks, I rose by 7 and was ready to get my day started. I thrived in this same schedule for six years. As the years have flown by though, I have become a Tired Mom.

And by that, I mean neither a morning person nor a night owl.

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Two kids and a couple employment changes later, I am an alarm clock that wakes up, works, checks an item or two off a list, and goes to bed. Sound familiar? Pretty robotic. Ugh.

My schedule changed drastically when baby number two arrived and ohhhhhh girl, did she set a new tone for the family. School drop off and pick up, bringing an infant to work every day (which involved naps and feedings, as well as time to interact and play with baby), dinner and chores, and ending each day with our bedtime routine. I’m not exactly sure how I managed to work from home at night or simply bathe, but I did.

I was exhausted and quite honestly, am still quite exhausted!

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Mom and wife are two roles I have always wanted and would not change for anything.

But my stress and anxiety began to increase and cause internal turmoil.

Turmoil that would often come off as short and abrasive, indirectly toward my people, in turn heightening the exhaustion and stress. Talk about a cycle, so normal for many of us yet and completely uncomfortable and painful.

Is this really what the essence of motherhood is? When do I get to do anything for myself or what I love?

I needed change and quick!

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My breaking point hit hard and quite honestly ladies, it can still knock me off my feet and shake me up from time to time.

I have struggled to ask for help and truthfully, am still working on it every day, and in every situation. Why is it so hard to ask for help?

Why is it difficult to look at my sweet husband, the father of my children, and say “I need some help with_______________________”??

Pride.

Moms can do it all, and we can do it all the time.

That’s what we tell ourselves, right?

But boy are we wrong.

I began to set my pride aside and embrace the support of my husband. Sounds simple, right? Well, for this Enneagram Two, not so much. I do a great job at loving and helping others through life, however, recognizing that my ‘I can do it all’ mentality is not what my family needs. What they DO need? Consistent mornings, consistent schedules, and a mom that’s not stressed out all the time.

We decided to sit down and really set forth a basic daily agenda. Initially, he would help me with simple tasks: getting kids dressed, driving them to school, or something as easy as daycare. As the months went by, we found that penciling in two, sometimes three, mornings a week, which he would take over the entire morning routine, was a game changer.

Consistency is key.

Consistently doing small things will lead to great results. Working daily on following through with routine and the things that matter most, create a progressive movement for you and the family.

Momentum that feels successful and prevailing, graduates from a penciled in task to a naturally recurring habit.

I am still in progress, so no I am not a Morning Routine Professional, but I can attest to the glory of progress. Heading to the office early a few days a week has led me to asking myself what else I am not finding time for. Recently the answer has been my health and gym time. Next up, earlier mornings for more self-care time.

What is it that you would like to add to your routine that sits on the back burner?

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. TWO .

Picture perfect routine comprises of what, exactly?

I took that question to some mamas and found the answers were near identical.

  1. Planning the night before, if not for the week

  2. Positive attitudes

  3. Accountability

  4. Prioritize

Tamil, a mother to three darling divas, has learned the art to routine and keeping it simple. She stated that the following is the basic nightly schedule followed to ensure a smooth-sailing morning.

1.     Double check the alarms to ensure everyone wakes up on time.

2.     Pre-plan the night before by making lunches, reassuring all books are in book bags and outfits are chosen and laid out.

3.     Positive morning attitude.

Knowing the fluidity allows for Tamil and the girls to arrive on time to both school and work.

Improved morning routine sets the entire day up for success and lasting change in life.

Keep cheering each other on and loving on the Working Mamas around you. We need support in everything, including morning routine!!

**For more on this topic, head to THIS POST on How Time Blocking Changed my Life.


READ MORE ABOUT  ERIN  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT ERIN (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY ERIN PERSON: BAKER, DESIGNER, MANAGER

How Time-Blocking Changed my Life

All of us working moms know that the after school hustle is real.  Call it witching hour, or call it whatever you like but those precious hours starting when you get home from pick up or the bus pulls away from your house, until bedtime can be a little nutty.  Especially if you are in a season of small or school aged kids.  So, I’ve found a few things that have been pretty helpful in managing the potential stress and chaos.

WHAT IS TIME BLOCKING?

Ok, I’m sure you get the concept of what this is, though I’ll admit when I first heard about this concept, I binged watched every youtube video I could find.  I was enamored by the idea. 

THINK ABOUT BLOCKING OUT THE HOURS OF YOUR DAY LIKE WHEN YOU WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Yes, really!!  Remember when the bell would ring, and you would pack up your Geometry books and head off to Art? Then after the bell rang for art, you would pack up your supplies and head to English?  You get the point…

Instead of doing ONE MILLION THINGS at a time, you were laser focused during that particular block of time.

(Having trouble with this video? Try watching it here instead)

So what would it look like to block out your time as a working mom?  Well we could talk about a lot of different parts of the day right now, but…

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE AFTERNOON BLOCK

This is potentially the hardest and most freeing block of time for me personally, when I adhere to my time blocking schedule.  

I pick up my daughter from school at 3pm, and then by 4pm my son is home off the bus. I also have a 2 year old who somewhere in there is waking up from her nap.  So how does time blocking work?  I have an alarm on my phone that is set every Monday-Friday at 4pm that says “kids home/evening block”.

That alarm serves as a reminder for me to put my phone AWAY for the next 3ish hours.

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I know what you are thinking, “Wynne that is so hard! I do a lot of business during that block!” And I totally hear you, and I understand.  I’m just here to say that there’s a lot more productivity that can happen when you aren’t screaming at your kids “just one more minute” and getting so frustrated with them because they are “interrupting you”.  I know y’all get it, the struggle is real.  

What if instead of multitasking and trying to help with homework, cook dinner, be present with your spouse, play with your kids AND work at the same time…

What if you shut down the temptation to work during that block, set up a healthy boundary, and gave yourself permission to be present? 

I have found this to be extremely helpful both in my resting and my producing.  I fill myself up on kitchen dance parties, cooking dinner, and looking my kids in the eyes so once bed time rolls around, everyones tanks are full. You know what happens next right, the next alarm goes off!  

THE GOAL:

Be present wherever you are or with whatever you are working on, while still being the badass #momboss that you are.

Me/us time/work block rings and with our mind and bodies, we move onto the next block of time.  I promise that little “rest” of your mind from your work tasks onto your family will only give you the mental capacity you need to move onto your next big task or project!

NOTE:

If you want to see what the rest of my day looks like (time-blocking wise anyway), check out the photo below.

This one (and the image used above) are the actual alarm reminders I use each and every day!

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FOR EXAMPLE:

5:12am DO NOT CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA OR EMAIL

6:00am Write

6:21am Get Camp up! You got this!!!

6:55am Bus is coming!!!!

fast forward to evening

4:00pm All Kids Home/Evening Block (i.e. PUT PHONE AWAY)

7:30pm Kids Bedtime/Me/Us Time Block

9:30pm Shut it down (phone), Read, and Sleep

TRY IT!

I can’t wait to hear your stories and see how you make this your own. 


READ MORE ABOUT  WYNNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT WYNNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY WYNNE ELDER: PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER, ENCOURAGER, & COMMUNITY BUILDER.