Right now life is crazy and unknown and the role of Mom has increased as kids are home from school, all activities have been put to a halt, and families are spending time self-distancing at home. I see that this time is actually the best opportunity to changes habits, create routines and build structures for you and your family. Here are the 7 daily habits that are making the world of difference to my day:
Waking up Before my Kids
Back in the early days of motherhood when I first started having kids I would have thought I was crazy for trying to get up before them, as I was simply trying to get as much sleep as possible. But I am here to tell you it will get better and your kids will sleep through the night. Once your kids have gotten on a regular bedtime routine of going to bed at the same time daily, they will also fall into a schedule of getting up at the same time. I have found that I am a much happier Mom and Wife if I get up before my kids and even my husband. Now this could be as simple as 15 minutes or 30 minutes, but for me I work best if I can get in 1 hour of alone time to get up and going before the rest of my household.
During this quiet time you can have a cup of coffee, eat breakfast, check messages on your phone, or get your body moving through some exercise. This time is for YOU so treat yourself to something you enjoy in solitude. Maybe it is the only time that you can read a book or magazine, or maybe it's the only time you can find to watch "your" show on TV. Whatever you choose, enjoy this alone time that gets you set and ready for your day.
Now I eluded to this earlier, but I have found that if I get in 20-40 minutes of exercise every day I am more motivated during my day. I have also found that doing this daily movement during my morning hour of me time allows me to focus on my exercise and my day, as well as gives me the energy I need before the energy of my kids engulfs me.
I am proud to say that I started consistently making exercise a daily habit when my kids started school this past fall. It is something I always knew I should do and needed to do, and I finally decided to stop making excuses for myself and just started doing it. I have grown to enjoy and depend on exercising every day, so much that I feel off when I don't make time for at least 10 minutes of exercise.
Moms are very aware of the importance of building routines, but while you're busy creating structures for your family, make sure you consider making one for yourself too. This habit goes along with the previous two, but creating a morning routine helps start your day off on the right foot and can help you focus.
My current morning routine involves:
- Waking up an Hour Before my Kids (which I have to admit has been more like 6 a.m. during this time of quarantine but is 5:20 a.m. during the school year)
- Drink Water
- Eat Breakfast
- Morning Devotion and Prayer
- Look at Calendar and To Do List and Make a Plan for the Day
By doing these few focused tasks when I get up, I set myself up for a more productive day. And one of the best parts of my morning routine is that I can do it from anywhere. So no matter where I am, I can feel prepared and ready for my day by going through my morning routine.
One Load of Laundry
In a household of six, we have a lot of laundry and I can't wait til the weekend to do it all. One of the best habits I share with other Moms and have been doing for a long time is that I do at least one load of laundry (wash, dry, fold, put away) every day. Now, sometimes I'll give myself a Sunday or Saturday off if we are gone, but other than that I have been doing a load of laundry a day for the last nine years or so and I still rarely ever see the bottom of the laundry basket... But this is a great way of staying on top of laundry and not getting overwhelmed by it.
One Load of Dishes
Now to go along with the daily load of laundry, I also do a daily load of dishes. Over the years I have changed when I do this during my day, but right now I have been doing it each night. Even if the dishwasher isn't full, I'm running it. Running the dishwasher is an efficient way of washing the dishes both for more time and water. (Which by the way, have you seen the Sarah Michelle Gellar & Freddie Prinze Jr. ad for "Do It Every Night" - hillarious and great marketing.)
Our kitchen is right off our entryway and I don't like people coming over and seeing a pile of dirty dishes. So doing a load of dishes daily helps clear my counters and gives me a better peace of mind if someone stops by the house. (Also, the nice thing about doing them at night is that we use the clean dishes from the dishwasher throughout the day so then at night when we load the dishwasher, there isn't as much to unload.)
Sort the Mail
Has anyone else ever felt overwhelmed by the stack of mail sitting on your counter or table? Make the daily habit of going through your mail. As I walk back to my house from the mailbox, I start right then by going through our mail. Newspapers and magazines go in our reading basket, bills and checks go in our bills folder in our office, announcements or reminders for meetings or appointments get added to our online calendar and put on the refrigerator or events folder in our office if necessary, and all other letters are opened and taken care of in whatever way needed. My goal is that our mail never touches our counter or table.
And if you're wondering, I go through our bills folder twice a month - on the 15th and the end of the month, and at the same time I clean out our reading basket and events folder so everything is taken care of timely, yet doesn't consume me every day.
House Walk Through
We've talked through the importance of building a morning routine, but my next habit is something I do every evening with my kids before they go to bed. A House Walk Through is when the kids and I, walk through every room in our house picking things up, tidying up spaces, and do daily cleaning. Daily cleaning at our house is sweeping all of the main floor rooms, shaking out rugs, wiping down sinks and counters, and scrubbing the toilet. Now this may look different at your house, but I find if we can stay on top of picking up our house I am happier and feel like I can tackle my day easier.
What are some of your daily habits that help keep you sane, especially during this time of quarantine? I would love to hear them! I hope my daily habits I've created over the years will help you and inspire you to start a new routine today. Even if it isn't perfect, start today!