Morning routines are so popular these days… I have seen articles about morning routines mentioned regularly on Medium, MindBodyGreen, and a simple Google search has a lot of results. They all seem to promise that all of your troubles will be cleared if you follow a consistent routine. Specifically, their routine.
Usually, these posts have people sleeping until a time that feels late to me, meditating for a stupidly long time, going on a serene walk, making a morning breakfast smoothie or bowl full of weird ingredients, journaling, and basically making it seem like they’ve used up about 4+ hours on their morning routine.
So this is my real world morning routine that is the secret to my… well, I wouldn’t call it success. And I guess it’s not really a secret. It’s just the stuff that happens as I proceed into my day. It’s my forced morning routine.
Your first wake-up of the day should happen sometime between 2-4 AM, and should happen at the hands of a small kid. Either they scream out for you so you have to stumble to their room or they come and touch your face so you startle awake. You have no idea when this wakeup will happen, just sometime it will occur.
Assuming you got the child to stay in their bed, the next wake-up happens 5:30-5:45 AM. Either your alarm will go off and the child will yell out “Moooooooooooom” within seconds of your alarm going off, or the child will yell this out minutes before your alarm goes off. Either way, the kid is up too.
If you didn’t get the child to stay in their own bed, you’ve been semi-awake since the earlier wake-up time and the alarm going off will be sweet relief from having a small human wiggling around next to you and on top of you.
Or don’t get dressed… it depends on how the morning is going down so far (yes, already!) and what you have planned. If you have an 8 AM videoconference, you should probably get dressed. If you do not telecommute and you have a job outside of the home, you should probably get dressed. Let the kid play with your makeup bag or (unheated) hair tools while you try to make yourself semi-presentable. Leave most of the lights low so your spouse can just keep sleeping. Hope your clothes match. You’ll probably end up wearing olive green pants you thought were charcoal but will decide they go with your purple top just fine.
Take the kid downstairs and get them some food. The kid is always starving in the morning. You are probably hungry too, but you have to wait 30-60 minutes to eat after you take a thyroid pill each morning. So get the kid some food and try to get your work computer booted up. Don’t worry, if you are out of the kid’s sight for more than a minute, she’ll call you back to her to regale you with some story about a fictional character or some kid who is a billionaire for playing with toys on YouTube.
After a while, you can get yourself something to eat. I recommend a bowl of cereal, then leave it sitting on the counter in the milk to get really soggy because you are being distracted by kid questions or your dog. Another option is oatmeal, but cook it and then let it get cold. Or get some muffins you’ve baked and kept in the freezer for busy mornings, either warm them up and then leave them out to get cold or just eat them frozen.
Get some hot water in a mug during this time and drop a tea bag into it.
Get the Kid Dressed
Start cajoling the child to get dressed for school. She should be able to get dressed on her own, but if you don’t keep saying, “get your clothes on” over and over, it won’t happen. Your spouse should be awake by this time, but he’s just taking care of his own needs. Keep trying to respond to emails and work messages while you are doing this. One or more of your employees is instant messaging you, gotta answer those questions! Plus, technically your work day did start already. You are “on the clock”.
Get the Kid in the Car
The spouse does help in the morning by driving the kid to school. But you still have to follow the kid out to the car and repeatedly say “get your seat belt on” while she keeps talking and talking about various things. (This week she’s trying to convince you that Pennywise is real because her friend at school said so and it doesn’t matter what you say otherwise.) Close the car door, then reopen it several times as she has “one more thing” to tell you.
Get your tea and get working
Pick up your tea. Sit down at your desk and promptly spill the tea on yourself somehow. Good news, it’s now just lukewarm so you’re not burnt.
You are now ready to successfully accomplish your work day. And after you work all day, you get to go pick up your child, where you will take care of her for the next 4 hours until she finally goes to sleep an hour after her bedtime. You’ll try to pretend as if you care about what is on the TV as you spend quantity time with your spouse for an hour or so until you go to bed and then start the cycle all over again.
PS – This applies to weekends too, except instead of sending your kid off to school you spend all day with your kid.
PPS – I love my child a lot, more than any other human being on the face of the earth and more than I ever knew it was even possible to love a person. But parenting is is a tough gig. And sometimes, you just need to vent a little.