5 Mothers On Their Morning Routine

I don’t know if I fully understood how much I thrived on routine until I had Bodie. While in those early days, I was fine to luxuriate into the feed/sleep cycle and little in between, once he hit four to six months old I set up my day’s rythyms and they evolved over the years after to accommodate set time for my work on the site, date nights and self-care.

Since having Lyla, things are changing once again. And I’ve had a new found appreciation for the morning hours to set us (read: me) up for a better day. I shared on Instagram recently that I am learning to wake in the wee hours before the kids to shower, meditate and catch up on e-mail so that I can receive them with a clear (caffeinated) head. I’m open to the process and committed to finding the other elements to make our mornings healthier and happier so we asked five mothers I admire from the MU camp to share about their own routines in their sweet households. Taking notes over here!

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Daniella, mother of 1, Brooklyn, New York

I set my GD alarm for 5:30 am every day and snooze the F out of it. I really wanna work out and look presentable in the morning but...I think it’s time for me, to like, give that dream up.

I’m not a morning person and motherhood has sadly not changed that fact for me. The beautiful thing that my little family has found: Daddy time in the morning. All of us look forward to it. If Ness does cry out for mommy, I’ll drag my ass into his room and give him a kiss good morning. Then, it’s all dad. Even if I am up, he’s steering the ship. He’s in charge. It’s been that way since the beginning, and man is it special. 

I wake up about a half hour or so after the boys and meditate/try my darndest to journal while they hang, then brush my teeth and head straight into the kitchen to make lunch for the day. By that time, the two of them are eating eggs or yogurt at the table. 

That’s as much of a routine as I got!! Coffee. Always coffee. And kisses, duh. 

Kelli, mother of 2, Boston, MA

My morning routine has shifted during each stage with the kids. It shifted when I went from one to two kiddos and then again shifted when my oldest started preschool and we had to be out of the house at a specific time. I would say that morning routine with two under two was the most challenging. Especially when you have one taking early morning naps and one not napping!

As the girls got older and their schedules synced, it definitely became more predictable. I am really lucky as my kiddos both stay in their rooms until I come to get them. I try to wake up a half hour to an hour before they do in the morning so I can have a coffee and watch the news. I am not a morning person by nature so I discovered fairly early on that if I don't have that wake-up time, I am less patient and more stressed in the AM with the kids. 

I usually get the girls around 7:15/7:30.  My oldest now completely dresses herself and is usually ready to go by the time I open her door. I get my youngest dressed and we go down to the kitchen for breakfast. I keep breakfast as pain-free as possible. This means...dare I say, microwavable pancakes, fruit I don't have to cut (like blueberries) and maybe sausage or sometimes I throw in a yogurt pouch. The less dishes and mess to start the day, the better for my sanity. After they eat, we usually have time for them to play for 20 mins or so before shoes, coat and car. We usually are in the car around 8:30/8:40.

For the most part, it’s smooth sailing. Of course, I have learned this through trial and error. I used to wake up with the kids and it was always chaos. I found that I was rushing them out the door and it was stressing us all out. My kids are slow movers and I find if I just give them the time to do everything they will, but if I rush everyone then it creates such a rough start to the day. 

I pretty much do the morning routine alone. My husband travels or is out of the house by 6:00 AM. He is the night routine guy so I give him a lot of credit as I am so checked out by then. I also have found that for some reason if he is home, it creates way more chaos and just is not helpful. All in all, I think the more prepared, less complicated things are, the better!

Alexandra, mother of 3, San Francisco, CA

It's a marathon from 6:30 to 8!

My 3-year-old son's owl alarm clock turns green at 6:30 and he lets us all know "owl green! owl green!". Our apartment is small enough that his alert wakes up the one-year-old twins if they aren't already up. The great thing about our twins is that if they wake up early, they tend to chat with each other (indecipherable babble) until the rest of the family is up. 

My husband and I hop out of bed, each picking up one of the babies, and begin the battle to get the 3-year-old to go to the potty.  Everyone then gets milk and the babies get a diaper change. I make breakfast and pack my son's school lunch while my husband feeds the twins, wrestles our 3-year-old into his clothes and gets himself ready. Our nanny shows up at 7:30 and works on getting the twins down for their morning nap while we get our 3-year-old on the potty at least 1 more time, and then my husband takes him to preschool.

By 8:15, I have a few minutes to get myself ready and out the door. I love to drink a cup of coffee and listen to the NYT Daily podcast while I do my hair and makeup. This peaceful 30 minutes is my 'reset' for the day.

My nanny is an important note and MVP here by the way.  When we had one child, our nanny arrived at 8:30 and we got him and ourselves ready without help. With 3, the 7:30 start is hugely important. Most of all, we have a routine. We roll up our sleeves and go through the motions. It was tougher during the transition from 1-3 when we were figuring out how to get it all done, but now we basically know that it fits in a 60-90 minute period and we just do it.

The morning hours have always been the most productive. Before motherhood, they were my 'secret weapon' whenever I had a big work or personal task that I was struggling to address. I would wake up at 6 am and could do more in the 6-8am window than during the rest of the day. This was also my best time to work out. Most days I didn't have a big looming project and I would instead wake up before 6 and go to the gym.  I felt healthier and more energized during the day.

Obviously, these hours are now dominated by the kids. I could wake up at 5 but we've found that our kids sleep lightly in the morning and wake up early if they hear us. I'm also more tired out by the kid/work juggle and nighttime wake-ups, so I protect sleep when possible. The solution? I've pushed my workouts to the afternoon (I work for myself so can accommodate this workday interruption) and have trained myself to time-box my work tasks and construct my own "sprints" when something needs to get accomplished. I would say that my productivity/energy is lower than when I could do these things in the morning, but it's not a disaster.

Anelise, mother of 2, los Angeles, CA

We live out of backpacks for a little more than half the year so having a morning routine is absolutely vital to my well being...it will make or break how I parent for the rest of the day! Currently I am trying to make some sort of movement part of my morning. Without it I don't feel like the very best version of myself and it really only takes a few minutes. I can fit it in while my kids are playing next to me, too. For example, we have family dance parties and I do some stretching while our 2.5 year old plays legos. On great days, I get outside, run and do a quick 20-minute circuit workout right after they wake up while my husband does breakfast.

The only way I can accomplish my dream mornings of running and working out or running out to a yoga class is having my husband with the kiddos. It works out because I usually am on duty during nap time so he can exercise or go surf. It's a team effort 100%, 100% of the time.

My morning routine is nothing like it once was before kids, but in a way, even through all the morning madness, it’s sweeter and more intentional. It actually means more and I appreciate it more. 

I have found that I am a happier person with more patience for my children when I get just a few minutes to myself doing something to make me move, but even better to sweat. It's not easy for my husband and me to get it in every day, but it is a literal day changer for our family when we do so we are striving to make it our number one priority. 

Katie, mother of 1 (with one on the way!), new york, NY

Since my soon-to-be 3 year old son, Harry, was born, mornings have been our most sacred time of day together, a time when we are by ourselves, both fully recharged and he is so happy to just be awake and in the world.

At around 7:30 AM, Harry, my human clock, wakes me up and I quickly get him out of bed and fix our milk and coffee. We immediately go to the couch or crawl back into my bed and snuggle while we talk about the day. Since he doesn't have school until the afternoons, we take the mornings slow and linger with each other, usually over trains, puzzles, and reading.

Finally, when he's worked up a little appetite, we make scrambled eggs together. He does the scrambling, I do the cooking and preparing of all he other things we'll eat. He loves to get into the kitchen, and I find breakfast is one of the easiest and best times to teach your child about cooking. Breakfast has become such a special time for us to be together that he now sets the table and waits for me to come sit with my plate before even tasting a single bite of his fruit or waffles. We share almost everything on our plates, talking about the fresh seasonal fruits or new flavors of muffins we've bought at the farmer's market.

Quickly after our breakfast date, I have to make sure to kick it into high gear so we can finally get dressed and be out the door by 9:30 or 10 AM to start our day of activities and work. My nanny comes between this time to help get Harry together and either take him out if I am working on my website, Witten Kitchen, or help around the house while I take him out myself.

I love that we have this special meal, just him and I, and that he has become so obsessed with what "we" are making and what "we" are eating. Even when he was a baby and we were sitting there while I breastfed, this morning ritual felt like a moment in my day where I wasn't rushing out the door or onto my next ‘To Do’. Carving out these little still moments, alone with Harry (and soon-to-be one more), is truly the best way I am able to reconnect with what matters and what's important for that day.

Are you willing to share your own morning routine mamas?