Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Morning Routine

It's been quiet on the blog lately... I always have more posts in my head than I ever get written down, especially now. Because once Hadassah goes down for her afternoon nap, my brain is usual mush and I just want to sleep too! But, I promised myself that today I'd post something before I take a nap. ;)

I read a random blog post recently about the importance of a morning routine, and it's been really helpful as I've tried to develop one. Even when all I want to do is go back to sleep 2 hours after waking up (impossible when you have an energetic toddler!) having a rhythm to fall back on helps me get going. I don't have much energy for in-depth cleaning these days, but if I can at least get the basics done, it makes me more encouraged. I never knew just how much a dirty house made me feel depressed and like not doing anything until I had a home of my own - Ryan has noticed... it really does affect me!

It's not fancy, and it's not much. But it's something, and it's simple, which means it gets done.

Turning on music really helps me get going. Recently it's mostly been Keith and Kristyn Getty's "Hymns for the Christian Life," with Casting Crowns "Thrive" or Steven Curtis Chapman's "Glorious Unfolding" for an occasional change. Being away from radio means I don't hear a lot of new music these days, but Youtube playlists have been a help. If anyone has recommendation for new Christian music, do let me know as I don't always know what to look for!

Hadassah is always eager to go outside first thing in the morning (really, all day!) but as I've tried to implement this routine the past two weeks, she's come to realize we have to do chores before we play. Once I told her "we'll go outside once we do the dishes" and she walked over to the dish dryer and started emptying the silverware.

Here's my morning to-do's, once breakfast is over and Ryan is headed to work:
1. Read Bible
 - I try to get up early and have devotions with Ryan before Hadassah wakes up, but sometimes it seems like she has a sensor that wakes her up as soon as I'm out of bed. We've recently started getting up earlier, which usually helps, but I don't always get out when the alarm goes off... Growing a baby is hard work! So, especially if I didn't get any reading with Ryan, I try to read for at least a few minutes. They're interrupted sometimes, but it helps focus my day right. I used to put it off until I had more undistracted time, but for a mom of littles, that's almost never... So better to do some than none! And Hadassah has seen us read the Bible enough that she is interested in it, liking to page through ours and look at her picture Bible, so I feel like it sets a good example for her too. Sometimes I read out loud (and I want to do this more), both to help me focus and to let Hadassah listen as she plays around me. She's so young, yet I know she absorbs more than we think, so what better thing to hear when she's little than God's Word!

2. Shower/dress
- Again, I try to get this done before Hadassah is up, but it doesn't always happen. I've found the sooner I can do it the better, as it makes me feel more alive. If Hadassah is up, Ryan either plays with her before going to work or she gets some play pen time with toys and books while I get ready.

3. Make my bed and straighten our room
 - Something about having the bed made just makes me feel more productive. I used to not get our room straightened a lot, because going back there with Hadassah was more of a battle, since there were too many things for her not to touch. And besides, the rooms people could see mattered more, right? But recently Hadassah has been better about obeying the "do not touch" rules (if she's heading towards something I'll remind her and she'll say "obey obey!" in the cutest way!) and there are a few things she enjoys that I let her play with. She will also help "pat pat" the blankets as I'm making the bed.

4. Start a load of laundry
- There's almost always enough laundry for one or two loads a day, since our washing machine is so small. So if it's not raining, I'll usually do a load. I get behind on the days it rains and takes 2-3 days for things to dry, so it helps to stay on top of things when days are good. Hanging the load up usually happens later, closer to lunch, but if I start it washing right away, it's easier to get back to later.

5. Do the dishes
 - There aren't a ton of dishes from our simple breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and cereal, but if I don't do them after breakfast, the pile after lunch just seems so big and harder to tackle. A clean kitchen seems to promote a clean kitchen. Hadassah usually "helps" me, putting away utensils in drawers she can reach, and playing in the water as I wash and rinse. Occasionally it does require an outfit change, but it's worth it!

6 Sweep floors
- Sometimes it's just the kitchen, other times I manage to get other rooms swept too, if we have time and I'm on a roll. Hadassah will usually get the dustpan from under the sink for me and run from pile to pile saying "uh oh" as I sweep them up. Keeps her involved and makes it a game. :)

Hadassah often goes from place to place with me, "helping" as she can (and I love my little companion!). Other times, she'll get nicely distracted (lately it's been emptying all of her books out of the shelf as she "reads" them) allowing me to work more quickly. She doesn't always like that mommy has things she needs to do - and I do take breaks here and there to read a story or whatever - but I've found that concentrated time of getting chores done actually gives me more undistracted time with her later, and she's learning the concept of work then play.

Sometimes things like making bread or prepping things for meals or putting toys away in the living room also happens, but other times it's all I can do to get the above done before Hadassah is beyond antsy and it's time to take that energy outside (if it's good weather) or at least give her some time with mommy. But it helps having it done. Usually after going outside I'm tired and need to rest on the couch for a few minutes, and before I know it, it's time to make lunch, as Ryan is home at 11:30 AM for it. Then, things don't always happen as much as they used to during Hadassah's nap time...

Do you all have a morning routine? What helps you get going especially when you feel no motivation?

Now excuse me while I go take a nap...


  1. I loved hearing more about your daily life - I always find it interesting to see how other people live or what kind of routines they have. :-) I'm trying to be more disciplined about sticking to a morning routine. Some things I always do right now are: 1) Get up early and have a cup of tea while doing my Bible study, 2) Tidy the house, 3) Make breakfast and send check email/write my family, 4) go to the gym and get some reading done while I exercise. Sometimes I do laundry in the mornings, and sometimes I have language class. I'd like to add in a specific time to do language study every morning. I could also be better about just using my time more efficiently in the mornings, since that's my most productive time of day.

    If I'm feeling unmotivated, I usually have a second cup of tea, remind myself how nice it is to live in a clean house (I'm with you on that one), and tell myself that I'll do something fun after I get the morning's work out of the way (like start a knitting project, or take a walk outside, or write up a blog post). It's never a good feeling to find myself in the afternoon with very little accomplished, so I try to stay productive even when I just want to stay in bed and read. :-)

  2. It sounds like you have a great routine, Anna! Having a good routine has not been a strong point of mine, but I have been learning recently how important it is. And Ben's broken ankle has actually helped me, because it has forced me to get up early to help him get ready for work and drive him to work! After fixing my husband and son breakfast, taking a shower, packing Ben's lunch, and driving him to work, Weston and I usually run an errand or go to the library or something. Then we eat an early lunch and start nap time after lunch. I don't have a set time for cleaning or Bible study; I just fit it in whenever I can. Sometimes I'm productive during nap time, and sometimes I need a nap myself! :) I totally agree with you that growing a baby is hard work! Ha.

  3. Not sure if that comment went through, so we'll try again...
    You asked about "new Christian music." I've been really enjoying well-done word-for-word Scripture songs these days. Here are links to blog posts I've written which give you all the info. Lots of these are free online. And I plan to post more in the coming days!