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?


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