Monday, September 21, 2015

A successful morning routine

Good morning, everyone! I'm curious to know what your morning routine is, especially those who are moms. I need a morning routine that will work for me. Whatever I'm doing now is just not helping me or my family.

I don't want to give a too detailed account of my mornings but let me just say that I have finally acknowledged that waking up after the kids is not ideal. I really must rise with them, or before they do. That means I have to wake up at 6:30. Trouble is I get up at 8 and that's because my kids are either fighting or yelling for us to wash their butts (they don't like the yayas to do it), and then we're up in a panic and then the rest of the day unfolds in a rushed and chaotic manner.

I wish I could wake up before the kids do. I've tried. I just end up like a zombie. That's because I stayed up late the night before. I usually sleep at 2 or 3 a..m. That gives me 5-6 hours of interrupted sleep. Interrupted by breastfeedings and cuddles from all three kids. (Maybe it's time to wean so I can sleep with my husband instead!) I also can't sleep well with my kids because a little cough, a murmur, or a whimper from a nightmare wakes me up. Imagine that multiplied by 3 boys and then you get a picture of my troubled slumber.

I need to sleep. If I wake up at 6, that means just 3 hours of sleep!

Anyway, a working mom advised me to sleep when the kids sleep (that will be 8:30 p.m.), then wake at 3 a.m. to start my day. I get peace and quiet for 3 hours, which will allow me to focus on work, prayer, myself and home management. It sounds heavenly. Three hours of peace and quiet after 7 hours of sleep! I imagine it like this:
3 a.m. Prayer and devotions
3:30 - 5:30 a.m. Work (writing and attending to correspondence)
5:30 - 6 a.m. Greet the sunrise! Shower and dress up
6 - 6:30 a.m. Assign the day's tasks to household help, prepare baon
7 a.m. Eat breakfast with the boys
The rest of the morning I can devote to my family and myself, like bring Vito to school, play with my younger sons, have breakfast with my husband, do errands, go to the gym. I don't need to worry about work because it's been taken care of. Then I can spend a few hours in the afternoon working again—meetings, events, taking pictures of products, shoots, etc. Then dinner at 7pm, in bed at 8!

It really sounds amazing except for one thing: where does my marriage fit in this scenario???

Vince and I spend time together at night, when the kids are asleep. That's when we talk about our day, watch TV shows or movies, be married. If I sleep when the kids sleep, those precious few hours spent nurturing our relationship will be gone.

I am obviously resisting the early wake up call, right?

One of my favorite Bible passages is from Psalm 5, which clearly says we call unto God as soon as we wake up.

I haven't done any devotions in months. Months! This spiritual drought is costing me my relationships here at home. Since I start my day in chaos, everyone is affected by my panic and stress. I'm rushing everyone. I snap at the smallest things. I yell a lot. Not proud of that and I hate to blog about this nasty side of me. That's why I'm not blogging! I don't want my nastiness to leach into such a public space. But here I am, being honest, and hoping that maybe you relate, understand even, and maybe give me some advice. I really need to change how I start my day.

When I used to start my day with prayer and devotions, I was kind, generous, patient, forgiving... basically a much nicer person. Of course! My husband has told me more than once that he likes it when I'm attending to my faith because I'm just a nicer person when I pray and read God's Word.

I feel strange sometimes. My life is amazing. AMAZING. I look at my kids, my husband, my work, even myself—it's crazy how lucky I am. And in that same moment, I'm also looking at my pimples and flabby belly, at work deadlines and how I can earn more money if I were just a bit more organized and have more time to work, I look at the mess of Legos everywhere, and the fact that my husband and I never get to finish our conversations because the kids are always interrupting, and I'm filled with irritation.

I feel like I'm living everything I've ever dreamed of (and beyond!) and at the same time I'm losing control. I'm happy and grateful but I don't act like it. I don't want my husband and kids to think I'm unhappy and I don't cherish our wonderful life, because I am and I do. Oh, how I do!

So... yeah. I haven't really been the kind of wife and mommy God wants me to be lately. And I think it all boils down to me not having a good morning routine. In fact, I need to change my entire day. I need to devote time not only to prayer, but to my kids, my husband, my work, my home, and myself. How is this even possible??? I'm so overwhelmed. I don't know what to do.

How do you do it? Please help! I'll try to implement some changes (like maybe sleep earlier!) and will tell you how I'm doing in a few months! Wish me luck!

Helpful reads:
10 ways successful people start their mornings
Why creating a meaningful morning routine will make you more successful

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  1. Hi Frances!

    How about moving your sleeping time to 10pm and waking up at 6am? Then you get couple time when the kids sleep at 8:30pm and have 1.5hrs together, just the two of you :) This is my routine, at least and I just got so used to it that it doesnt bother me to wake up early at all. Unlike you though, I work in. Norwegian school ( yep, I live in Norway) and I drive my son to daycare before driving to work so tje reason for waking up early as well. Also the reason why I have to have a good routine so I can drive him to daycare and be at work on time. Im the one who wakes up first. I take a shower, make coffee, wake up the mister and sometimes the little boy gets uo too. Then we try to all sit together to eat breakfast (its just bread here). Then I change the little guy, brush teeth and get ready to go. The husband gets the car ready if it's winter time and needs to be heated for the snow to melt. Then we're off.
    I hope this helps! I subscribe to your blogs and I love reading your posts :) keep em coming!


    1. Oh wow. Norway! So cold! But it must be so beautiful there now! I hope to visit there one day =)

      Well, yes, it's the work-at-home setup that I have. It's not working for me! I think I need to implement office hours but it's impossible with such small kids!

      Or maybe I should just stop whining and do it! =D

  2. I can so relate to your post! I want to get up really early but physical and mental exhaustion gets the better of me. I suppose if there is a structure to the morning routine, the day is off to a positive start and this sets the tone for the day, and it's easy to track if one is veering off course. Realistically the structure may not always be followed as disruptive events can happen, but if it is followed at least 70-80% of the time (5 days out of 7), it should be sufficient enough to give a sense of control while giving room for some flexibility to cushion frustration, since 100% is most likely unattainable for me.

    1. Exactly! The schedule doesn't have to be strictly followed because, you know, life is unpredictable! But, yes, if we could just have some semblance of order, then we wouldn't feel like we're drowning! Let's make some changes, okay? =)

  3. I totally get you!! I have 3 kids too, btw =) I used to sleep at around 2 or 3 also, since I would use that quiet time while the kids were asleep to work and do other stuff. Then I would wake up 9. But I found it was not very healthy nor productive, nor did it have a good effect on my well being. And yon nga, pag gising mo parang the house is in chaos na? Hehe! So this year I made a shift in my sked. I sleep 11, then wake up 6. I do my work in the early morning na, not at night. It helps my youngest, a toddler, goes to play school na, so I can use the extra 2 hours he's gone. (You can do that too while your kids are napping.) Other stuff like paperwork, surfing the net etc. I try to squeeze in during traffic or when he's napping. Basta as long as matapos work ko in the early morning, I can sleep early at night, then eveything else follows smoothly. Tama nga sabi nila... the earlier you rise, mas ok talaga the effect on your well being. As for the hubby, we do get to talk after dinner, while the kids are playing or winding down for bedtime. You just have to explain, I'm talking with Daddy. No interrupting. And yes, kayang kaya pa mag private time once the kids are asleep (around 9:30). Delegate other stuff like preparing breakfast to your helpers, so you have a load off your shoulders and you can concentrate on the kids. Good luck!!

    1. I am sleeping earlier now! When the kids sleep and then I wake up at... 12 midnight! I work a bit then sleep at 3 so wala pa rin improvement save that I'm a bit rested.

      But thank you for your tips! I will try your schedule. Parang maganda nga siya kasi I still get to have a marriage and I can also sleep! =)

  4. I think the best times talaga to have devotion is in the morning, after all, "seek ye first" says the Bible. But I share your struggle with missing it in the morning because as soon as I sit down and open my Iphone (where my devotional guide is--I know, this has to change), immediately the email notifications start coming in and I get distracted na! Or like, when the kids wake up earlier than I do, goodbye morning routine talaga.

    So when I miss my devotion in the morning, I make sure to offset it in the evening before I sleep. :) In a way, when I do it before I sleep, I wake up the next morning still able to recall the passage I read the night before. I try to recite parts of the verses I remember habang naliligo, nagtitimpla ng kape, etc. The best days for me are when I get to devote time to pray/read the bible to start AND end my day. :) Best effort yan, pero, it works wonders for me.

    Remember Joshua's secret to success? Sabi nya, "day and night" daw (wala sigurong anak at trabaho tong si Joshua haha) "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." Joshua 1:8

    I pray that you find your own groove. You're the only one who can set what works for you. :) God bless you even more, Frances!

    1. Haha at Joshua =D The Bible doesn't mention Joshua having a wife so malamang single siya! Minsan iniisip ko what my life would be like if I didn't have kids (I didn't want kids kasi when I was younger). I think, "I'd travel. Read books. Sleep. Shop. Do MORE things definitely." But it just sounds so lonely and sad now! I can't imagine life without my kids even though I bet I'd accomplish more!

      Anyway, yes. I am trying out different schedules this week. Sleeping when the kids sleep and waking at 3 (I missed my hubby). Sleeping at midnight and waking at 6 (I couldn't wake up haha). We'll see! And I tried doing my devotions at night. Parang hindi pa rin okay but I guess better than nothing!

      Thanks, Rhiza. God bless you EVEN MORE!!! You inspire me!

  5. Hi Frances!

    My husband and I have been working the night shift for 10 years now, which makes everything about our routines "abnormal". We rely heavily on household help whether from yayas or relatives, and although it isn't our choice, it is the only way we could survive as a family. We rarely get to eat together during weekdays because the kids have different schedules in school, but we make up for it on weekends. Oh weekends are our lifesavers. We get to sleep at night like normal people (nothing recharges the body like sleeping at night), eat breakfast with the kids, and go out in the sun! Married time is also contrived on weekdays and is limited to coffee time together before we start our "days", so my husband and I live for the weekend.

    Sounds crazy, right? My husband and I dream of moving to a different country where our skills can be compensated enough to make a living, or simply to achieve the dream of being "normal" again, to sleep at night and wake up in the morning, be with the kids when they need us, etc. Haha it's all too ambitious to me!

    But I guess what I am trying to say is that routines must consider our jobs, kids, roles, and ultimately, the things we value the most. Our current routines might not be the best out there but whose is? :)

    I have been a quiet follower of your blogs and I thank you for contributing materials that have a healthy mix of being real and graceful.

    Keep being you and keep writing! You inspire warrior moms/ women like me! :)

  6. I'm not alone! I was smiling as I read your post. Not that I'm happy that you're stressed but because now I feel normal! Hehe (: I feel you, Frances :( Things can get a little overwhelming at times. And same here, I feel that I don't have time for my "marriage". Hay. Please let me know once you discover the right routine.(: Prayers for you!


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