Inside: Are the mornings ripping you of your livelihood? Do you feel drained and groggy when you wake up? Use this ultimate morning routine for moms to set yourself up for a successful day and to finally stop waking up already behind. This post contains affiliate links. You can read the disclosure policy here.
It’s not even 8 AM, and I’m already behind…
Grabbing my housecoat and staggering down the dark hallway I step on something that sends pain soaring through my foot and up my leg.
“What WAS that?!?”
Of course. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had been too busy to tidy the house last night, which meant my son’s toys littered the floor.
His wooden train is the attacker this morning, and my big toe is the throbbing victim.
I’ve barely made it out of bed and I already feel like I’m falling behind.
“Why can’t I just have FIVE minutes to gather myself and wake up before my day starts swirling down the toilet?”
But Here’s the Problem
Exhaustion was causing me to sleep in as late as possible.
But this meant that I woke up when my son woke up… which also meant that I got exactly 2.8 seconds of “me time” from the moment I wake up to the moment I jump out of bed to rescue my crying son from his
After that, our morning is a flurry of:
- Diaper changes
- Packing lunch
- Brewing coffee (if I remember)
- Changing outfits (the baby)
- Balancing the squirmy baby on one hip while I make my husband’s tea with my free hand
- Making the baby a nutritious breakfast (because the breastfeeding is really just a soothing mechanism at this point)
- Feeding the baby
- Making beds
- Helping my husband find his wallet that mysteriously grew legs and wandered off
- Getting dressed (me)
…and all of this happens in about a matter of 15 minutes.
Phew. My day hasn’t even started and I’m already wiped out.
(Oh, and did I mention I’m already behind on answering 15 emails and haven’t even so much as opened my laptop, even though I have two days worth of work ahead of me and no idea where I’m going to fit it in?)
Drained, Burnt-Out, Engulfed
Thinking of the day I have ahead of me makes me want to run for the hills.
So, I sit down and start making a list of to-dos.
It’s for my sanity, more than anything. I know that in less than two hours the list will end up lost and I’ll forget all about it, but I write it anything. It’s my way of feeling like I’m doing something, without having to do anything…
…because actually doing something? The thought alone is enough to paralyze me.
Is It Possible to Have a Good Morning When You’re Exhausted?
For the longest time, I just assumed my mornings were doomed. I would sleep in as late as possible and try to make it through the day with 5 cups of coffee and a midday nap if I could sneak one in.
Living like this was wearing me down.
I didn’t enjoy having people over to our house (mainly because our house was a big, fat mess because I didn’t have the time OR energy to do anything about it), and I didn’t enjoy going out.
I was in some sort of “barely making it by” stage of life, and I was stuck.
To my surprise, getting unstuck wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The biggest change I made was being intentional with the way I started my day.
By creating an intentional morning routine list, and following it.
Here are 18 Ways to Craft the Perfect Morning Routine for Moms
(AND HAVE A SUCCESSFUL DAY)
- You snooze, you lose
- The early bird catches the worm
- Rise and grind
By now, you’ve heard them all. You know having a morning routine – that actually works and doesn’t take two hours to complete – will set you up for a successful day, but with kids in tow and waking up 14.9 times from 10 pm – 7 am… you’re exhausted.
And I don’t blame you.
Here’s how you can set yourself up for a successful day even when you’re absolutely and completely drained. (Following these 18 tips for an easy morning routine will take you from “meh” to “I’ve got this!”)
Ready to jump in? >>
1. Stop Snoozing
In my teenage years, I was never one to hit the snooze button.
My alarm would go off exactly 10 minutes before I needed to be at work, I would jump out of bed like a ninja ready for battle, brush my teeth while getting dressed, grab my lunch and hop in the car to make the 5-minute drive to work.
Then, I got married.
I married a man who thinks the best way to deal with mornings is to set an alarm for an hour before he needs to be awake and then hit snooze 5 times so that it feels like he’s getting more sleep than he actually is.
After years of protesting this bad habit, I gave in and started riding the snooze-train right alongside him.
What I quickly learned was that on the mornings when I snoozed my alarm, I was dragging myself out of bed more tired than on the mornings that I would wake up at the first alarm.
Even though when I snoozed, I was “technically” getting more sleep.
An article from Brooklyn Bedding suggests that when you hit the snooze button, your body will drift back off to the beginning of a sleep cycle, but will be disrupted by the alarm and jolted awake before it’s ready, making you feel even more tired than if you were to just wake up at the first alarm.
Each time I was hitting the snooze button, my body was getting more exhausted from the disrupted sleep.
“As it turns out, sleep science suggests that hitting the snooze button can not only disrupt healthy sleep patterns, but may leave you feeling drowsy for the rest of the day.” Source
Breaking the snooze-fest habit won’t be easy, but it will help you feel more rested,
Breaking the snooze-fest habit was difficult, but now that I know the unhealthy benefits of snoozing every morning, I’m forcing myself to go to bed earlier so that I can wake up at my first alarm.
2. Wake Up Before Anyone Else
As a mom, dragging myself out of bed at 4:15 AM is HARD. But it’s also what I have to do to be up before the rest of the family.
And I’ve found on mornings that I wake up before anyone else, the whole course of my day goes smoother.
When I wake up earlier, I have the time to sit in silence while I drink a steaming (yes – steaming HOT – because that never happens as a mom) cup of coffee and read my Bible…
By the time I’m done, I have about an hour and a half to sneak in some uninterrupted work time, which puts me ahead for the rest of the day, so I don’t feel like I’m constantly fighting to stay ahead of my long to-do list (or, don’t-do list… but more on that later).
3. Wake Up At The Same Time Every Morning
Waking up at the same time every morning – even on weekends – will actually help you get better sleep, which in turn, will help you feel more rested when you wake up.
According to VeryWell Health, a consistent wake-up time will also,
- Make it easier to wake up in the mornings
- Help you have an easier time falling asleep at night
- Increases your alertness during the day
- Help you focus
- Sharpen your memory
- Put you in a better mood
When you start out waking up at the same time, you’ll likely need to use an alarm clock to drag your body out of bed (and no – you’re not allowed to hit the snooze button).
But, after a few weeks of consistently waking up at the same time in the morning, your dependency on an alarm clock will decrease significantly and your body will eventually start to wake up on its own at that time, helping you feel even more refreshed when you wake up.
Which brings me to the next point…
4. Replace Your Alarm Clock
Alarms that jolt you awake and leave your heart racing aren’t ideal.
Research has found that our bodies long to wake up with the sun. Waking up with the sun allows our bodies to gradually wake up, instead of being forced awake out of our deep REM sleep.
But what if you wake up before the sun… or go to sleep before the sun sets? That’s where sunrise alarm clocks come into play.
An article about the foundations of healthy sleep says,
“By simulating a sunset and then simulating a sunrise in a darkened room, you can “trick” your body into a balanced circadian rhythm. No matter what your actual schedule may be, this type of bedroom setup can create the foundation needed to get the 7-9 hours of sleep that the average adult needs for proper cognitive functioning.”
The main reason why you may feel absolutely drained in the mornings when your alarm clock goes off may not be because you’re not getting enough sleep, but instead, because your body is waking up suddenly, rather than gradually working its way from REM sleep into a state of being awake.
5. Make Your Bed
Now that you’ve gotten out of bed… making your bed every morning is an important part of having a productive day and keeping a tidy home.
A study conducted by National Sleep Foundation found people with made beds had healthier sleep habits and were better rested.
“One study found that 62 percent of non-bed makers admit that they are unhappy in their lives while 71 percent of bed makers say they are happy.” – Source
But, you run into a problem if you wake up earlier than your spouse.
In this case, come back and make the bed after your spouse gets out of it in the morning, or, if you’re off to work by that time, either ask your spouse to make the bed for you or make it as soon as you get home from work in the evening.
6. Let Natural Light In
Our body’s internal clocks are extremely sensitive to light and darkness, according to Natalie Dautovich, from the National Sleep Foundation. (Source)
This is exactly why exposing yourself to sunlight first thing in the morning is so very important for cueing to your body that it’s time to get up.
If you wake up before the sun is shining, using a Sunrise alarm clock will give your body the same boost it gets from waking up with the sun.
After that, as you get ready, turn on lights and make the room as bright as possible as you get ready to shake your body out of its sleepy state.
Make a habit of opening up the curtains or blinds first thing in the morning, even if it’s still dark out when you wake up. That way as soon as it starts to get light outside, the light will seep right into your house.
7. Eat Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
According to an NCBI study, it’s also the most frequently skipped meal.
Live Science mentions four reasons why you should never skip breakfast:
- Decreased risk of diabetes. In women, eating breakfast has actually been found to lower her risk of developing diabetes. The study found that in women who ate breakfast 0 – 6 times a week, there was a higher risk of developing type two diabetes than in women who ate breakfast every day.
- Lower risk of heart disease in men. “Eating breakfast was associated with a lower incidence of heart disease in men between ages 45 and 82, according to a July study in the journal Circulation.”
- Improved memory. Eating breakfast has been found to improve memory.
- Weight loss. A study found that people who ate breakfast as the largest meal of their day lost an average of just under 18 pounds over three months, whereas people who ate the majority of their calories at dinner only lost an average of just above 7 pounds in the same time frame.
Taking time to eat a healthy, nutritious breakfast is something we as moms just don’t think of doing. Sure, we make sure our family’s tummies are filled, but we could go for a week without breakfast and not think twice about it.
On top of the four reasons why you should never skip breakfast mentioned above, Nutrition Australia states that eating breakfast also improves energy levels, increases metabolism, and stabilizes your blood sugar levels.
Two things you can do to get into the habit of eating a healthy breakfast every morning are either:
- Wake up 10 minutes earlier and make yourself a healthy breakfast, or
- Add an extra serving when making your kid’s or spouse’s breakfast
It doesn’t matter how you go about doing it – all that matters is that you do it.
(And no – unfortunately Cap’n Crunch doesn’t qualify as a healthy, nutritious breakfast.)
8. Tidy the Kitchen
Hopefully, you’ve tidied your kitchen up the night before, so you’ll be waking up to a clean kitchen (taking a couple of minutes before everyone goes to bed in the evening to do a quick whole-house tidy is a smart way to start the next day off right).
However, after everyone has eaten breakfast – even you – it’s important to take a couple of minutes to load dishes into the dishwasher and wipe the table and countertops.
My son is a messy eater, so I like to keep this puppy hidden behind his highchair to suck up any crumbs after he’s done his breakfast.
9. Do Something Calming
Cortisol (the stress hormone) levels tend to peak in the mornings and then continue to decrease throughout the day.
“In most people, cortisol levels are highest in the morning when they wake up and lowest around midnight.” – Source
If you feel stressed and/or anxious during the day, your body will pump out excess cortisol. Having too much cortisol in your body for too long can be harmful – which is why it’s important to do things to work on lowering cortisol levels and relaxing.
A recent study found that in women who described their homes as messy and needing work done, their cortisol levels tended to increase throughout the day, unlike those who didn’t feel dissatisfied with the state of their homes and had cortisol levels that naturally dropped during the course of the day.
Here are 4 things you can do to naturally lower your cortisol levels first thing in the morning:
- Practice deep breathing as a form of relaxation (A study of 28 middle-aged women found a nearly 50% reduction in cortisol with habitual deep breathing training.)
- Listen to relaxing music
- Choose joy (A positive disposition is associated with lower cortisol, as well as lower blood pressure, a healthy heart rate and a strong immune system. Source)
- Eat healthy foods
10. Stop Doing So Much
You want to be less busy, right? But, society tells us if we aren’t doing something 110% of the time, we’re just plain lazy.
One thing that’s important to know, though, is that busyness does not equal productivity.
“[W]e use busyness to hide from our laziness and fear of failure. We burn valuable time doing things that aren’t necessary or important because this busyness makes us feel productive.” Source
Busyness will actually make you less productive by interrupting your focus, causing you to change your tasks or multitask (which makes every task take longer to complete), and overwhelming your brain.
To avoid frequenting the “busyness-train”, give yourself permission to do less. Stop doing the unimportant things to store up your energy for the things that are important.
11. Write Down Your Goals
Studies show that, contrary to popular belief, having a to-do list doesn’t help you get anything done. In fact, 41% of the stuff on your to-do list won’t ever get done.
HuffPost cleverly calls the to-do list a “nagging wish list”. How true is that?
How often do you actually finish everything on your to-do list?
And the stuff that’s left on the list at the end of the day? It serves as an agonizing reminder of everything you didn’t get done today, rather than allowing you to focus on the things you did get done.
…which forces you to focus on the bad, instead of the good, and ends up elevating our cortisol levels, making it harder to get a good night’s sleep…
…so we wake up feeling exhausted and burdened before our feet even hit the floor in the morning.
And the cycle continues.
All this started with the innocent act of writing a to-do list to keep yourself on track – or so you thought.
To keep yourself from spinning on the to-do list crazy cycle, try only writing down your top 3 goals of the day.
These don’t need to be to-do’s, per se, they could just be things you wish to achieve today.
Taking time to write down your goals is vital. You’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. (Source)
12. Create a Done List
A “done list” is the opposite of a to-do list.
When you make your to-do list, you fill it with things that you want to get done in a specific timeframe.
A done list, on the other hand, is a list you keep adding to throughout the day of things that you have accomplished.
Since we saw above that to-do lists actually aren’t helping you be any more productive but are just weighing you down instead, we had to find a way to keep all those list-makers (me!) happy.
This is done by creating a done list.
When we get or do something we want – in this case, we complete a task – our brain releases dopamine, which is the “feel good” hormone.
It makes us feel good.
You can also make yourself receive a dopamine boost by telling yourself you’ll do something – even something seemingly small – and then doing it.
“your brain may receive a spike in dopamine if you promise yourself that you’ll clean out the refrigerator, and then you do.” – Psychology Today
Completing something signals to your brain to release dopamine – but what if you’re so busy that you don’t even think twice about the task you’ve just completed?
You’ll miss the rush.
This is exactly why having a “done list” plays such a big roll in having a successful day.
Because when you write things that you’ve completed down on your done list, your brain shoots out dopamine and you feel good. When you feel good, you want to do more. You want to do something else that will make you feel good.
So you complete another task.
And it feels good.
And the cycle keeps spinning. All in all, starting a done list is an important part of a successful morning routine list – especially when it comes to a morning routine for moms – and don’t forget to keep writing your “wins” and achievements down on it as you go throughout your day.
13. Learn Your Most Productive Time of Day
Learning when your most productive time of the day is enables you to capitalize on that productivity and get more done.
While some people will find themselves most productive first thing in the morning, other people need their morning joe and about an hour and a half of downtime to clear the sleep fog from their brain.
Once you know when you’re the most productive, you’ll be able to save your most important – or biggest – tasks for that time of day so that you aren’t left spinning your wheels and wasting time because your brain isn’t thinking clearly yet.
14. Listen to Music
A study conducted at the University of Windsor found that listening to music while working on a task had better quality work ethic, worked faster and were in a better mood than those not listening to music while working.
What it comes down to is this – listening to music while working can significantly increase your productivity and the number of tasks you accomplish.
When you feel yourself slipping into a mid-morning slump, turn on some tunes to get yourself pumped up and motivated to get things done.
15. Single-Tasking is Best, But Multitasking Has its Place
Study after study has shown how much multitasking decreases productivity.
Some research even suggests that multitasking can reduce productivity by up to 40%.
When you multitask, you become more susceptible to distractions and switching from one task to the next wastes time as your brain takes a moment to figure out what it is now focusing on.
“people who were considered heavy multitaskers were actually worse at sorting out relevant information from irrelevant details[…] But that wasn’t the only problem these high multitaskers faced. They also showed greater difficulty when it came to switching from one task to another and were much less mentally organized.” – Source
For this reason, I’m a strong believer in single-tasking and completing one task before moving on to the next.
However, I believe multitasking can come in handy at times in many mom’s morning routines. To an extent.
For example, while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew, you could empty out the dishwasher.
While you’re brushing your teeth, you could tidy the bathroom counter.
While you’re getting dressed, you could pick clothes up off the floor and put them into the laundry hamper.
Multitask, but be smart about it.
If you start to feel like you’re falling behind and are jumping from one task to the next, stop what you’re doing, pick one task to focus on, and forget about all the rest until you’ve finished that one job.
16. Work Hard, Break Hard
Research shows that workers who get the most work done during the day and are the most productive work for 52 minutes straight and then take a quick 17-minute break.
During their break, they completely removed themselves from the work environment by walking away from their desks and going for a walk.
“The human brain naturally works in bursts of high activity that last about an hour, and then it switches to low activity for a while. When that happens, it’s in your best interest to take a break.” Source
During your morning routine, once you’ve gotten through the waking-up and time-to-yourself portion of your morning routine checklist, start getting things done by setting a timer for 52 minutes and then taking a 17-minute break before getting right back to the tasks at hand.
17. Set a Timer For Checking & Answering Emails
A Forbes article states that the average person checks their emails 15 times a day.
The article goes on to state that research has found that people who were limited to checking their emails only 3 times a day had significantly lower levels of stress.
They also felt more satisfied with their work and reported feeling like they were more able to complete their most important tasks.
Stopping what you’re doing to check your emails causes you to lose track of what you’re doing, and when you finish checking your emails and get back to the task you were completing it takes you a couple of minutes to remember what you were doing, find your place, and get your mind off of that Mexican vacation promotion that landed in your inbox.
Checking emails is an excuse to take a quick “brain-break” from the task you’re doing, while still telling yourself you’re being productive because you’re doing something.
But… doing this is distracting your brain and sabotaging your productivity.
To stop emails from sucking the life out of your day, set a timer for 5 – 10 minutes to spend checking and responding to emails after you’ve completed your morning routine list.
Once the timer goes off, don’t check the email again for the rest of the day (or until later in the evening. Try to limit the number of times you check your emails to no more than 3 times daily.)
18. Roll With the Punches
There’s no such thing as a perfect day.
You know it, I know it, your neighbor’s dog knows it.
Each and every day is filled with its own challenges and surprises.
When you’re creating the perfect morning routine for yourself, remember to keep it flexible. Make a plan and a routine, but don’t be so stuck to it that if something pops up that pushes the “pause” button on your routine or throws it off-kilter for a moment, it ruins your whole day.
Learn to follow structure loosely. Your routine will help you have a successful, refreshing day. But being so stuck to it that one small bump in the road makes you lose your cool? Not good.
Create a morning routine you enjoy, but be accomodating to changes.
The Best Morning Routine For Moms to Have Successful Days… Recap
Let’s quickly recap the 18 items that should be on your morning routine for moms to help you have a satisfying, successful, and joy-filled day…
- Stop snoozing (get up at the first alarm)
- Wake up before anyone else (even if it’s only 5 minutes earlier)
- Set a consistent wake-up time (this will make waking up easier)
- Use a sunrise alarm clock (this will make waking up much easier)
- Make your bed (remember, more bedmakers reported being happy than non-bedmakers)
- Open the blinds and curtains (let the sunlight wake you up)
- Eat breakfast (make it healthy and nutritious)
- Tidy the kitchen (load dishes into the dishwasher and wipe the table and countertops)
- Do something calming (to help lower the morning cortisol levels)
- Stop doing so much (give yourself permission to do less)
- Write down your goals (you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down)
- Create a done list (your body will thrive on these dopamine rushes)
- Learn your most productive time of day (and do your most important/challenging tasks then)
- Listen to music (it’ll help you calm down and boost your productivity)
- Multitask when necessary (but revert to single-tasking if you start to feel overwhelmed)
- Take frequent breaks (you’re most productive when you work 52 minutes and break for 17 minutes)
- Set a limit for checking emails (emails suck productivity. Try to check them no more than 3 times a day)
- Roll with the punches (take each thing life throws at you in stride)
Whether you’re looking for the perfect working mom morning routine, a simple mom morning routine checklist, or just something you can do each morning to save your sanity, use this healthy morning routine list (yes – it’s even good for your health) to start your day right.
The Perfect Morning Routine for Moms… Your Turn
What are a few things on your perfect morning routine checklist that got missed on this morning routine list? What are some things you do every morning to set yourself up for a good day? Share your ideas in a comment below!