January goals and our morning routine

My big personal goal this month was to get up and dressed and brush my teeth before dealing with the girls. This worked out really well. All month I have been slowly implementing subtle changes to bring more rhythm into our lives. I started by getting into the habit of laying out my clothes the night before (this is easy since I pretty much wear the same thing every day – some day I’ll work on that too.)  I have also flossed my teeth EVERY NIGHT before bed. This is a personal victory and I don’t care if you think that is a strange goal or disgusting that I didn’t do it before – I think I deserve a medal.

I find getting dressed to be a huge help to how I face the day. Before, men’s health when I would stay in my pajamas for so long I would have trouble getting motivated and the longer I stayed in them the more my motivation would wane. Then it would be a hassle to get all three of us dressed. One of the off-shoots of getting myself dressed is that I automatically got us all into a more streamlined morning routine. Of course I wish I had started doing this years ago. I used to work from home and stay in my pajamas (which are a pair of black stretch pants and a (usually Harry Potter-related) t-shirt) all day. It is only recently that I have started to realize that this life of mine is my job and so I have to get up each day and face it like I am going to work because I am.

My friend Misty was talking about morning rituals on her blog so I thought I would share our current morning routine (ritual just seems like the wrong word for what we are doing.)

Morning routine:

6-6:30 a.m.: Wake up, sales either from Fionnuala chattering in bed, viagra sale Moira hovering in the hallway, my incredibly tiny bladder or the Mister’s alarm going off at 6:30. Unless forced I refuse to get out of bed before 6 a.m. Sometimes I am forced, like the week Moira was getting up at 5:30. I let it slide until she started getting up at 5 and then I taught her how to tell the difference between a 5 and a 6 on the microwave clock and said that unless she hears us moving around she is to stay in bed. Some days it even works.

Before I get out of bed I take my temperature. I’ve been doing this for so long I sometimes do it before I even realize I’m awake and doing it.

Get up. Get dressed. Chart my temperature (now on a nifty iPhone app), check e-mail on phone (bad habit that is going to go). Go into bathroom and brush teeth. The whole time I am doing this I am listening to Fionnuala giggling, chatting and calling “mommy mommy mommy mommy.” Moira, if she wasn’t already awake by this point  usually comes into the bathroom to a) accuse me of being up too early (true) and waking her up (not true). b) cry that she didn’t get to put the toothpaste on my toothbrush (which, for the record, I have never let her do). c) give me a morning hug.

Go into Fionnuala’s room. She looks past me and starts asking for Daddy. Watch her bounce around and laugh for a while until she is ready to be picked up. Change her diaper if she lets me. If she seems like she is going to fight it then I leave it for a while.

We all traipse down the hall to the kitchen. If the Mister is up I try to get the girls to stay out of his way until he has his breakfast ready. He gets up at 6:30 and leaves at 7. He is not a morning person and so he only gives himself this small window to get ready because he needs the sleep. Of course, some mornings we are all sitting at the table eating breakfast when his alarm goes off.

Hugs and kisses for Daddy. Moira waves bye to him from the couch. That part is really important to her.

Breakfast: Sometimes I have it ready from the night before or at least prepped. If I do it is usually steel-cut oats, if I don’t it is usually rolled oats. Sometimes I make them wait for the steel-cut oats but that’s never a good idea. Also, both girls usually have a piece of toast and some fruit, often they have two bowls of porridge. They are big breakfast eaters.

Breakfast is over, time to do dishes. Moira keeps coming in and out of the kitchen wanting me to either play or read stories and I keep reminding her that I do the breakfast dishes every day after breakfast and before I do anything else. Some day this will sink in. Because breakfast takes so long to eat I often get started on the dishes before they are finished because two bowls of porridge, toast and fruit? That’s a lot of food and feeding yourself takes time when you are wee. Fionnuala likes to “help” with the dishes these days too so I cheat and try to get as much done as I can before she is done so that she is only helping for the last stretch.

Put on kettle for tea. I used to make it while getting up and down 100x getting the girls breakfast ready but now I wait until everything is done. It is much more enjoyable that way.

Bath time. This is a new routine for us – the morning bath. If I don’t do this Fionnuala spends the entire day asking and signing for a bath. “Bath? Bath! Bath? Bath!” If I get it over with in the morning I can respond with “yes, you did have a nice bath this morning didn’t you?” Instead of dealing with her accusatory looks for the rest of the day. If the girls have a bath together (“Mo-rah! Bath!”)  I can go and do other things (tea, sweet glorious tea & usually reading things on my phone – bad habit that is going to go). If it is just Fionnuala in the bath then I hang out with her.

Girls get dressed, hair done. Ready for the day.

The time at this point could be anywhere between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Sometimes even earlier – it depends on how early the day begins.

I’m currently thinking about what changes I want to implement in February. One of them is going to be a little more variety and better planning with breakfast. The other is going to break the hold my phone has on me.

Have you been making small but important changes in your life lately? Do you have a morning routine that you like?


  11 Replies to “January goals and our morning routine”

  1. January 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing your morning routine (and you are right it is a much better word than ritual). Your statement that this life is your job hit close to home for me and I need to repeat it to myself every morning for a while I think. I have to say I am one of those that can’t judge you on flossing, I am always hanging my head in shame at the dentist. Also with you on leaving the diaper on the kid for a bit in the morning, it is a rude awakening to be a** out that early. Speaking of early, wow your mornings are early!

    Good habits are hard for me to form so it helps to know that others are out there being successful in the same efforts. I think I will start laying my clothes out at night too. Flossing? Meh. Maybe next month.

    • January 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      I’m glad you agree about the changing diaper thing. Obviously what they want is a bit of a snuggle and/or food (well, mine at least) and not a cold bum in the air. Who can blame them?

      And yes, our mornings are early.

  2. January 28, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    I also find the day, or at least morning, goes a lot more smoothly if I am up and showered and dressed before D leaves for work. Running in the morning was great for getting me up and going but I’ve let it slide since last year. Must get back into it. Because these days I lie in bed reading my phone until he leaves and then get up and try and do everything with a baby attached to me. Not good. You have inspired me!

    • January 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Someday I would like to get up and do something active before the girls are awake. But I’m not really interested in getting up at 5 a.m. right now. I did try and get up and have a shower once but that just woke both girls up – it’s a small house. So I try and get my shower out of the way in the evenings even though I hate what it does to my hair.

  3. January 29, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Totally agree with breaking the phone hold. I did that a few months ago. Deleted my Facebook app and only check email when I am either waiting at Ballet class, or at the park.
    Why on earth do you take and chart your temp?!? 🙂

    • January 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      I’ve deleted my Facebook and Twitter app but I still have Pinterest on the phone (otherwise I’m never on Pinterest). I think for February I’m going to have a Phonecation and not turn it on at all unless I’m out and need it for directions (no one calls me on it and I rarely make calls with it).

      As for the temperature – I’ve been using the Fertility Awareness Method of birth control for years. Except we have another name for it in our house: Baby Roulette as eventually it seems to lead to babies for us – even with me being very diligent. Hence my playing around with things like the Pill lately and my failed attempt at getting an IUD.

  4. Amanda
    January 29, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Thomas always has his oats for breakfast on a school morning, and he doesn’t appreciate it when I change it up for him…unless there’s a homemade pancake or waffle involved. He likes his morning routine because he knows what to expect, and he isn’t much for surprises first thing in the am. It’s also very rare for him to get up much before 7:30 am too 🙂

  5. Lectio's mom
    January 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    You have a calling, not a job. A job you’re paid for, with a commencement and an end date (retirement or you leave for something else). This you do for the sake of love and fulfillment at an entirely different level. Mothering is a calling like no other. I smiled when I read how you chart your BBT electronically, new fangled gadgets, but an old fashioned method. I recall one morning falling asleep with the thermometer in my mouth, rolling over and sending it halfway down my throat – panic!!! I recently read an article entitled “Ecological Breastfeeding”, all about planning/spacing pregnancies based on how and how long you breastfeed. Though I have entered the phase of Crone I am interested on how young Mothers are managing their fertility. My parents came from large families, Hubby’s granny was a midwife, lots of stories from her. Good luck with it – and good for you you’re able to keep up your flossing. Sometimes the last thing you want to do at the end of a busy day!

  6. January 30, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I read while I floss in the evening (sitting on the bed, holding the book with my feet). Sometimes I floss for ages and ages. When we had a newborn, there was no longer time for this, and I’d see Stuart flossing his teeth so leisurely and be overcome with ridiculous rage and resentment, which led to some of the stupidest fights we have ever, ever had.

  7. January 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Structure. You haz it.

    I think the routine thing is a good idea. It seems to work for firemen and soldiers. Sounds as though it is working for small girl-children, too.

    (I love that you’ve taught her to go and check the time…I have an image of Miss M. stumping out into the kitchen, squinty and wild-haired, staring at the microwave.)

  8. February 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Ha. Yesterday I hung a free calendar I got from the baker this year up in the bathroom so that I can cross off every evening that I manage to remember to floss.

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