4 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Evenings (and How to Fix it)

4 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Evenings (and How to Fix it)

4 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Evenings (and How to Turn it Around)

Evening Routine For Moms #momhacks #momschedule #selfcareroutineEvening Routine For Moms #momhacks #momschedule #selfcareroutine

As the day goes on, our reserves of will power get used up. Which is probably why my natural inclination after a long day of kid wrangling, laundry doing, mess cleaning, food making, and diaper changing is to sit on the couch and avoid any unnecessary movement.

All while I let the latest binge-worthy Netflix show wash over me like a gentle wave.

Once we’ve run through the bedtime shenanigans and 4 little heads are nestled in their pillows,  I am straight up pooped. Like end-of-a-marathon-fall-asleep-where-I’m-standing exhausted (aka MOTHERHOOD).

But instead of actually taking care of myself and listening to my needs, I just wasted time.

(Not unlike my kids at bedtime.)

My natural response was to push the fatigue aside and feel all the glory of what it’s like to do absolutely nothing for several hours. I wanted to relish being awake and not have to be constantly meeting someone else’s needs.

However, an evening spent in mindless activity (I’m talking’ to you Netflix) all but guarantees that the next day is going to be rough. It means crummy sleep, and a cranky morning once my kids are trying to pry my exhausted body out of bed to make them breakfast.

Before I even realized how my evenings were impacting my entire day, I realized that I needed to change my morning routines and wake up earlier. Once I made over my mornings I started to accomplish loads more every day (you can read my post here).

But early mornings forced me to recognize that I was blowing my evenings BIG TIME.

I needed to be way more intentional with my time.

Which led to me to searching for evening routine ideas. And resulted in me completely changing my evening routines by implementing more structure and prioritizing self care. In doing so, my sleep quality improved a ton, I was happier, accomplished more, and was more relaxed.

So what are your evening like? If they’re like mine used to be then here is how you’re sabotaging your evenings…and how you can turn it all around (with several evening routine ideas).

Evening Routine For Moms #momhacks #momschedule #selfcareroutine

1) YOU DON’T HAVE AN INTENTIONAL EVENING ROUTINE.

By the end of the day, we’re exhausted. Which is why late at night we are way more inclined to eat food we shouldn’t eat and waste time with things we shouldn’t do.

If we don’t have a specific plan for our evenings, then we are at the mercy of whatever forces come our way.

How to turn it around: Design Your Ideal Routine

If I’ve got no plan for once my kids are in bed, it’s all but guaranteed I’m going to waste time and end up even more exhausted. But simply having a plan makes it way more likely that I’m going to make smart choices even though exhausted.

When you’re tired, it’s hard to make good choices. Creating a plan beforehand takes away needing to choose when you are exhausted. You can just follow through with the plan you already put in place.

So what do you want your ideal evening to look like? Do you envision yourself cozied up in an armchair reading a book? Or taking a fragrant bubble bath? Drinking relaxing tea as you decompress and talk about your day with your husband? Meditating? Working towards a personal goal? Completing a project?

Once you know what activities you want in your evenings, determine what things are getting in your way.

For me, it was screens. Whether TV, phone, or computer screens, at the end of a long day I just wanted to get lost in mindless consumption. While it was nice to zone out, it didn’t leave me feeling particularly relaxed or help me get to my goals.

I realized that taking a bath and reading before bed were far more effective at leaving me relaxed and fulfilled. They even help me sleep better. So I do both nearly every single night.

Start eliminating the time-wasters and including more of what actually relaxes you and makes you happy. Create your evening rules that you will stick to. My rules are generally no eating and no screens (unless there is a planned exception like a stay-at-home date once the kids are in bed). 

2) YOU DON’T HAVE A BEDTIME.

We often think of bedtimes in relation to our kids. We give them bedtimes knowing that they need a certain amount of sleep each night or else they turn into little monsters.

Our bedtimes, on the other hand, tends to be very flexible.

But just like our kids, we REALLY need our sleep to function well, be healthy, and not turn into The Hulk when the day gets frustrating. Experts say that as adults, we need at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. I’ve discovered that I need 8-9 to function well. 

When I don’t get my 8 hours of sleep, I’m not as happy, I’m more likely to overeat (and eat things that aren’t healthy), and I don’t get near as much done as when I’m fully rested. Frankly, I’m super inefficient when sleep-deprived.

How to turn it around: Figure out how much sleep you need.

So how much sleep do you REALLY need to function well? Be honest with yourself. Hint: it’s more than 7. Surviving is one thing, but actually thriving is another. How much do you need to thrive?

Set your bedtime accordingly and make keeping it a priority. As a mom, it’s sooooo easy to put your needs last. But when you are well-rested everyone is going to win when there is a happier, more patient mama around.

For more on improving sleep, check out my post 10 Strategies For Moms to Dramatically Improve Sleep.

3) YOU’VE GOT TOO MANY SCREENS HAPPENING. 

While we scroll though our smartphones or binge watch TV all in the name of relaxing, it ironically leaves us less likely to get quality sleep. The light emanating from the screens actually makes it harder to fall asleep and to then sleep soundly.

Also, have you notices that when you’re in front of a screen you enter a weird time warp? I’ll think “Oh I’ll just check out FB/Instagram/news for a few minutes” and while I’ll think 10 minutes has passed, a whole hour has flown by.

Screens mess up your sleep and suck up your time.

How to turn it around: Stop screens a few hours before your bedtime.

You’ve already determined what bedtime is going to be best for you. Cut off your screen time in the 3 hours before your bedtime. This will help your body relax and prepare for a more restful sleep.

I know it’s tough. Oh heavens, I know exactly how hard it can be. We are literally surrounded by screens.

But cutting off screens in the evening has been the most important change I have made to my evenings. Suddenly, I had more time to do things that actually feed my soul that I can’t get to during the day (e.g. reading, goal setting, planning, thinking coherent thoughts).

If you only change one thing about your evenings, ditch the screens. That alone will transform your evenings…and your sleep.

4) YOU DON’T PRIORITIZE SELF CARE.

Effective relaxation–the kind that makes your broken self feel whole again–all comes down to self-care practices. And just to clarify, doing nothing is not self care.

I may have tried to fool myself that sitting on the couch, not moving, was self care. But it wasn’t. Self care needs to be intentional. It doesn’t have to be complicated (in fact, I’d say it shouldn’t be), but it should be purposeful.

Self care is intentionally taking care of our minds, souls and bodies. And it is essential to not just creating the evening we want, but creating the life we want.

How to turn it around: Add self care to your evening routine. 

Some examples of self care practices you can add to your evening routine:

  • stretch/yoga
  • take a bath
  • read a book for enjoyment
  • go for a walk/run around your neighborhood (and listen to music you love, an audio book, or podcast)
  • journal

For more self care evening routine ideas, check out my post Getting Started With Self Care.

You can create a fulfilling and relaxing evening routine.

As exhausted moms, at the end of the day we just want to relax and do the stuff we couldn’t do throughout the day. We want to drown out our fatigue into our phone screens or binge watch one of the zillions of must-watch series that get zapped on demand straight to out TVs.

But with these evening routine ideas, your evening can be a catalyst to a happier, healthier, and more organized life. Your evenings determine your sleep quality, energy, self care practice, health and happiness.

Mama, you’ve got this!

 

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Why You Should Wake Up Before Your Kids

Why You Should Wake Up Before Your Kids

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Why You Should Wake Up Before Your Kids

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been jarred awake by a high pitched voice demanding breakfast. And I’m the first to tell ya, it’s a terrible way to start the day. 

Before I started to wake up before my kids, my days started generally the same way:

  • I wake up to two little eyes staring back at me, knowing I’ve lost even before I’ve begun. 
  • While my kids are moaning at the side of my bed that they are absolutely starving, I’ve suddenly got to pee.
  • So my kids follow me into the bathroom, their moaning for food intensifying while I am trying to remember what day it is.
  • I then groggily assure them that I will fix them breakfast in just a second. But they become more whiny and upset, convinced I am trying to starve them. 
  • When we finally make it to the kitchen and I get the breakfast, I’m annoyed and already feeling 2 steps behind and my kids are crabby.

While I knew my mornings needed to change, waking up early just sounded like cruel and unusual punishment. I was the consummate night owl and dreaded mornings.

But I finally decided that things really needed to change. So I read this book, and actually started waking up well before my kids.

What happened was miraculous. Suddenly, everyone was so much happier in the mornings. Instead of feeling behind, I felt accomplished and was able to not only serve breakfast, but do breakfast dishes.

Most miraculous of all, we started to getting to school on time. Getting lunches and backpacks ready and 4 little bodies fed, pottied, and into car seats is no small feat!!!

That’s when this girl became a believer in the power of mornings. Especially in waking up before your kids. Almost instantly, I was accomplishing more everyday, happier, and healthier. Which translated into a happier, calmer, more organized home and family.

 

Waking up before your kids will change your life.

 

Starting Out Behind

Think about it for a minute: Once your kids are awake, they’re all about mama.

Whether for your ability to make breakfast, change diapers, or give righteous snuggles, you’re in high demand once those little heads pop off their pillows.

But when you first wake up, you’re not quite poised and ready for action. You’ve gotta take care of business (i.e. pee, brush your teeth, and actually start thinking coherent thoughts) before you can really start to function like human being.

But such business tends to turn hungry kids into supremely cranky kids. And cranky kids plus a tired mama usually equals a cranky mama. And that is no way to start your day!

However, simply setting your alarm for 30 (or even 15!!) minutes earlier has the power to completely transform your day (for tips to wake up earlier, check out my post here). You will be happier, more efficient, and get more done each day. Your personal morning time will center you and set you up for your whole day.

Bare Minimum: Wake up 15 minutes earlier.

Girl, I know waking up is tough sometimes (or all the time). Especially when you’re up with a baby or a sick kid. Or just up late spending time with your husband binge watching Netflix.

Then just shoot for 15 minutes before your kids wake up and see how you feel. Here’s what you should do:

  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Set your intentions for the day (e.g. set daily priorities, plan, schedule, pray, journal etc.)

This will get you mentally and physically prepared to start your day before anyone needs something from you. And it will give you a bit of time to be by yourself (which frankly feels like a treat as a mom of 4 little ones).

Ready for a bit more? Try an hour earlier

Your Mama Power Hour

Waking up before your kids and starting your day by giving yourself a whoIe hour to yourself will truly change your life. I’ve found that how you start your day more often than not determines the quality of everything that follows (seriously, changing my mornings has literally changed my whole life).

Spending an hour taking care of yourself will set you up to be the mom you strive to be. And you will get more done everyday! If you can spend an hour before your kids are up taking care of yourself, you will be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. And your whole family will reap the benefits.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Make your bed: Start your day with an accomplishment.
  • Get dressed: Preferably, in workout clothes so you that much closer to getting your sweat on!
  • Exercise: And this 25 minute workout is the perfect. Getting your workout done first thing will give you a blast of endorphins, energy, and a serious sense of accomplishment. Don’t let it hang over your head all day!
  • Determine your daily priorities: This could be writing lists, planning, making a schedule, journaling, meditating..whatever gets you centered and focused for the day.
  • Read something uplifting: This could be parenting books, self-help books (I’m obsessed), scripture, etc. 
  • Spend time/effort on your personal goals:  Part of achieving your goals means making time for them. Spending even a little bit every morning will get you closer to achieving your goals than any sporadic and massive effort. 

And here’s a big giant DON’T for your mornings:

  • Stay away from your phone and any social media.

Nothing will zap your time away faster than “just checking” something. Think of this time a sacred time your YOU. Guard it ferociously. For me, this means no checking any news on my phone. 

Your Morning Transformation

Here’s what happens when you start your day in solitude and preparing yourself for your day:

  • You start the day with incredible momentum and can accomplish more
  • You’re happier and totally ready for the chaos once your kids are up
  • You start achieving your goals faster because you are actually making time every single day to get there.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that waking up before my kids has changed my whole life. It has played a big part in pushing me and helping me achieve my goals (including losing over 35 lbs after having 4 kids).

My mornings are a sacred alone time that I get during the day. That time prepares me to relish my days of chaos, snuggles, and challenges. And I get so much more done that I seriously feel like I have actually more hours in the day.

Get Started Tomorrow

So what are you waiting for!?! Set your alarm a little earlier, wake up before your kids, and transform your mornings. Before you have to throw on your super hero mom cape, taking time for yourself first thing in the morning will do wonders for your happiness and productivity.

Even if it’s just for 15 or 30 minutes, that short time in the morning will have a massive impact on the quality of your day. You will be more able to handle stress and challenges and you will be more likely to achieve your personal goals.

You deserve it, mama.

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10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday to Have More Joy

10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday to Have More Joy

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday to Have More Joy

Being a mom can seem like endless drudgery of doing the same tasks over and over. After mopping and vacuuming, five minutes later a child leaves crumbly cracker trails in her wake. After hours on laundry–gathering, washing, folding–the dirty clothes seem to pile again immediately.

But as you know, being a mom also brings moments where your heart feels like it’s going to burst from joy and happiness. Moments where you are overwhelmed with love and gratitude for your children and your life.

Unfortunately, those moments may not be a frequent as we want them to be. But making simple changes can increase our daily happiness and overcome feelings of drudgery and overwhelm.

Here are 10 practical strategies that be practiced daily to increase those sublime moments of happiness–and generally just make us happier.

10 Things Moms Can Do For More Daily Joy

10 Things Moms Can Do Everyday For More Joy

1) Wake-up before your kids & do something for yourself.

Whether you exercise, read, meditate, pray, or write your to-do list, take time for yourself first thing. Filling your own cup first thing in the morning enables you to lift up and help those around you. 

If you, like myself, are NOT a morning person and need extra help to wake up in the  mornings, here are some awesome tips to help get you our of bed in the morning.

2) Make your bed every day.

It takes just a minute or two and will start your day off by creating order and feeling accomplished.

I used to think it was a pointless exercise, but I was wrong. Making your bed starts your day with a jolt of satisfaction and accomplishment. Slipping into a made bed at the end of the day simply feels better.

3) Exercise.

Just 20-30 minutes of exercise a day has amazing effects on mood, health, sleep quality, and energy level.

For ideas on ways to fit a workout into your day, check out 6 Ways For Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout.

4) Use your phone at the right time for the right things.

Have you ever gotten on your phone and suddenly your kids start throwing epic fits. So you get frustrated and then everyone’s upset.

Why does that happen? When we are on our phones, we are no longer engaged with the world outside of out phone.  So you’re disengaged from your kids.

And then what do they do? They act out. Why? Because that’s how they know they can get you off your phone.

Your smartphone can help your life be more efficient. There are so many fantastic apps and features that can boost your productivity and help you stay organized. But it can also be a complete waste of time and energy. Here are some tips to be smart about your smartphone

5) Hug your husband for at least 20 seconds a day.

After a busy, often hectic day away from one another, it’s easy to feel disconnected at the end of the day.

Try a 20 second hug. It’s relaxing, can help build your realtionship, and is a mood booster. It releases oxytocin which creates feelings of trust and it also helps to relax your body. It may feel awkward at first, but embrace the awkward and reap the rewards.

6) Snuggle each child individually giving them 100% focus.

No matter how chaotic your day is, give at least a few minutes of snuggles and undivided attention to each child. Snuggling is going to build your relationship with your child and make everyone happier.

It’s amazing the peace it’ll bring to your home. Your kids will have fewer meltdowns and you will all be much happier. When I snuggle my children, I can literally feel the tension leaving their bodies. 

7) Choose your battles wisely.

With your spouse and your children, make sure you choose the right things to focus on. Whether battling over mismatched clothes, messy hair, toilet training, or a picky child, make sure you’re picking the right battles and letting the rest go.

Personally, I let my girls dress themselves. Sure, they are often clad in a mismatched array of patterns and colors. But they are happy and developing a sense of self and I don’t have to worry about it.

On school days, they rush into their classrooms with epic bed head, running past the girls with their perfectly coiffed braids and bows.

But hey, if they don’t care, neither do I.

8) Schedule downtime at the end of the day.

Stress is often a culprit in our bad moods and unhappiness. After the kids are down, treat yourself to a relaxing routine. Take a bath or read a book. Do something relaxing and rejuvenating that will prepare you for a good night’s sleep. 

(For more on creating a fantastic evening routine, click here.)

9) End your day reciting your “Top 10 of Today”

With your spouse or by yourself, go over the 10 best parts of your day. Can’t make it to 10? Shoot, even the top 1 or two will still be a mood booster. Focusing on the positives brings sunshine to even the cloudiest of days. 

10) Make your sleep a top priority.

This is much more important than a clean house. Your sleep is directly related to your mood, your energy, your health, and how you interact with others. Sleep deprivation can literally kill you.

Mom getting enough sleep = happy home.

Need help? Here are 10 amazing strategies that can help you get dramatically better sleep tonight.

It just takes a few minutes.

None of these strategies take more than a couple of minutes, but each of them will inject a burst of happiness into your day. And your happiness is the cornerstone of building a happy home.

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Makeover Your Morning and Be the Mom You Want to Be

Makeover Your Morning and Be the Mom You Want to Be

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Start Your Mom Day With a Morning Routine That Rocks

9 tips to create a morning routine that rocks #morningroutine #momhacks

Ever wish you could have a just a few more hours in the day to get things done? All the time, right? Just a couple more hours, and then you could finally rock your to-do list, exercise daily, and be the mom you want to be.

Well guess what!?! Changing your mornings will make you feel like you have more hours in the day and will completely transform your entire day. You will be happier, healthier, and accomplish more.  

It’s going to be a win for your whole entire family.

Crazy Morning = Crazy Day

If we start our day frenzied and rushing around (trying to take care of hungry kids demanding food, finish the dishes from the day before, prepare kids for school and respond to urgent call/texts) we’re probably not going to have a fantastic day.

However, if we start the day on our terms by preparing ourselves for the day (BEFORE our children are fluttering their little eyelids) we are setting ourselves up to have an spectacular day.

Since we’ve taken care of ourselves, we’re better equipped to take care of our families. Even if you are not naturally a morning person (I am definitely not) you CAN become one. Check out 9 Tips to Make Waking Up a Breeze

 

9 tips to create a morning routine that rocks

 

Mornings are AWESOME for moms

Many of the most successful people in the world are early risers. People seeking success in business often adopt the practice. But who better than moms to benefit from having personal time in the mornings?

As a mom, you don’t really get a lot of time to yourself during the day. Some days you just dream of peeing alone.

So after a long day of running around, what do you want to do after the kids are finally in bed? You want to veg out completely. You binge watch Netflix, and then you pay for it the next day. 

Waking up before your kids and using the time at the start of the day as opposed to the end of the day will be a complete game changer. You owe it to yourself and to your family to start your day every morning taking care of yourself so that you can seriously rock your day.

(for more on getting quality sleep as a mom, check out 10 Strategies for Moms to Get Dramatically Better Sleep)

My Transformation

There is absolutely nothing natural about waking up early for me. I am about as far from a natural morning person as one can possibly be without being an actual vampire.

Waking up was never easy for me. Every morning growing up,  I’d be crying on the inside waking up for school.

As I got older, if I had to be a work at 7:00am, I would literally wake up minutes before I had to leave. I’d then rush around frantically trying to get ready, and scurry out the door still zipping and buttoning.  I’d then brush on some mascara at stop lights while I sped to beat the clock.

But yet I always held out hope that one day–one magical day–I could become a morning person.

And then I became a busy sleep-deprived mom and I felt like my dream or being a morning person would just have to die.

But after my 4th baby, I decided that it was time to try to wake up before my kids. I knew I needed help, so I researched. I read books (like this one that completely changed everything).

And miraculously, I started waking up at 4:00am.

From the first day, it has been a complete game-changer. I am not only happier, healthier and more patient, I feel like I have a few more hours to get things done everyday.

So what exactly should one do in the mornings?

As humans, we have a finite amount of willpower. We literally use it up throughout the day. Research shows that willpower decreases as the day goes one. 

So how can you make the most of the mornings?

Basically, you should be doing things that require the most willpower.

Many things with which we fill our time will get done one way or the other (e.g. cleaning, laundry etc.).  So in the mornings, we should be doing the things that can most easily get pushed aside.

For most moms, that is selfcare practices like exercising, meditating, and reading.

Doing things that renew you and make you feel wonderful set you up to have a fantastic day. 

 

9 THINGS TO DO IN THE MORNING

(before your kids wake up)

 

1) Make your bed

It only takes a few seconds, but it leaves you with an immediate sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. 

Slipping into a made bed at the end of the day just feels better.

2) Drink Water

Drinking water first thing in the morning jump starts out systems. It also helps to wake you up and give your energy. .

3) Exercise

Exercising in the morning is awesome. You get to check it off your list, boost your mood, and jump start your energy level first thing 

4) Read Something Uplifting

As moms, it easy to feel like we don’t have time to read anything other than bedtime stories.

But setting aside time for reading something uplifting (and adult) ensures that we can reap the tremendous benefits. You could read a parenting article, religious text, a self-help book or any great book that lifts you up and inspires you.

5) Meditate

Mediation is amazing. Once a skeptic, I’m now all in. 

Meditation is basically clearing your mind and focusing on your breath and perhaps your body sensations. You don’t have to shave your head, wear a robe, or start believing the healing power of crystals.

I like these free guided meditations from UCLA Health, if you want a place to get started.

6) Set your intentions for the day

Setting your intentions at the start of the day is an important key to a productive, successful day.

How do you want to feel today?

What do you want to accomplish?

Exploring these questions is helpful to ensure that you are on your A-game in parenting and in life. Some examples include: 

    • Journaling
    • Create to-do lists
    • Discussing with your spouse/friend what you want to do (like an accountability partner
    • Prayer
    • Affirmations 

7) Get showered and ready for the day

For busy moms, this can be a real struggle. But there is a power that comes from taking a quick shower and putting on “real” clothes.

You don’t need to be ready for the Oscars, but just feeling clean and a little put together with some mascara and a fresh ponytail will do wonders for your productivity and happiness.

8) Spend quality time with your family

Whether with your spouse or your children, mornings are a great time to spend quality, relaxed time with your family.

You’ve already accomplished so much before your kids wake up. So once they DO wake up, there’s no need to rush around and focus on things yet to get done. You can truly savor your breakfast with your family or have great conversations.

9) Avoid Technology

Nothing will waste your time more than “quickly” checking email or social media. It sucks you in and in the blink of an eye 30 minutes of precious time is gone with nothing to show for it.

Now go and make YOUR morning amazing

How we spend our mornings has the power to completely shape our lives. Waking up before your children and taking care of yourself will transform your day and help you become the mom you dream of becoming.

Take the 9 tips from above and build your ideal morning.

You’ve got this, mama!

 

 

9 tips to make over your morning

 

 

 

9 Tips to Make Waking Up a Breeze

9 Tips to Make Waking Up a Breeze

*This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

9 Tips to Make Waking Up a Breeze

Despite wanting to wake up early, many of us find the task overwhlemingly difficult. Like, climbing Mt. Everest difficult.

You can snooze-button your way through an entire morning, which leaves you feeling pretty crummy. You desperately need some new strategies. Luckily, these 9 tips will make early mornings easier.

These tips are divided into 2 categories:

  1. preparation
  2. once the alarm goes off in the morning.

If waking up is a struggle, it’s never going to change without preparing the night before.

9 tips to make waking up early easy

9 tips to make waking up early easy

PART I: THE PREPARATION

1) Go to bed early

This is essential since you don’t want to be operating on a sleep deficit. Sleep deprivation basically leads to a host of health issues including weight gain (ugh) and even a shorter lifespan. Yikes!

Most adults need at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. Decide what time you want to wake up, subtract 8 and you’ve got your bedtime!

2) Make sure you are getting quality sleep

Quality sleep is essential to feeling well-rested, yet it’s not always easy to come by as a busy mama. Check out my post 10 Strategies For Moms to Get Dramatically Better Sleep.

3) Have everything set out for the morning

Have everything you can possibly think of ready to go (check out this post to help develop your own awesome morning routine).

I work out every morning, so I lay out everything: socks, shoes, clothes, sports bra, and headphones. If I’m going for a run, I leave out my house key lanyard. I even have a big glass of water ready and waiting by my bathroom sink (see step 8).

This also makes it less likely that I will skip out on my workout!

4) Set your intentions for the morning the night before

To make you morning happen, you need to mentally prepare yourself to pop out of bed when your alarm goes off. This can take many forms:

  • Visualization: This is a powerful strategy that I use. I visualize myself smiling and popping out of bed and going through my morning routine step-by-step. If you are grumpy in the mornings, visualize yourself happy and energized. Repeated visualizations will have a major impact on your morning outlook.  
  • Plan: Create a written plan with what time you will get up and each thing you plan to accomplish in the order you plan to do them.
  • Use an accountability partner: Get someone to hold you accountable for waking up early. This could be an early morning exercise buddy, or someone that you simply check in with to stay accountable. Letting someone else know of your plans makes you more likely to keep them.

 

5) Have the right alarm situation

Making sure you have an alarm set that you will not “snooze” til the end of time is essential. Luckily, there are a lot of options:

  • Alarm across the room: This serves 2 purposes–it gets lights and technology away from you when you’re trying to sleep (thereby improving sleep quality) and it makes you actually get up and out of bed to turn it off. This was a game changer for me.
  • Alarm across the room AND alarm on phone by your bed: This is my preferred way to wake up. I keep a really soft alarm on my phone by my bed that gently wakes me up. My alarm across the room is set for 3 minutes later. Since I don’t want to disturb my husband, I get up easily with my gentle alarm and turn off the other alarm before it even goes off. 
  • Use Step Out app: This app is completely genius. If you can hit snooze a million times without even thinking, this is the app for you. You can set it up so that in order to turn off the alarm, you actually have to take 10 or 20 steps. And by that point, you are awake! It’s awesome.

BTW: Try and get an alarm that isn’t horribly annoying. If the sound is too grating, it’ll put you in a bad mood the minute you hear it.

PART 2: THE MORNING

So you’ve done everything that you need to do the night before to prepare. Clothes are laid out. Alarms are set. You’ve visualized your morning and you have some accountability set up. You slept a solid 8 hours and the alarm goes off.

Here’s what’s next:

6) Smile first thing

I know it sounds super cheesy, but smiling and telling yourself how excited you are to wake up (even when you feel like you want to die) really works. It actually will help make you happy and excited to wake up. Fake it til you make it, baby!

7) Pop out of bed, turn off the alarm, and beeline straight to your bathroom.

Don’t even let yourself think about getting back into bed. You’re already up if you had to get up to turn off your alarm. Make it second nature to then head straight to the bathroom without even giving it a thought. . 

8) Drink a glass of water and brush your teeth right away

This is going to start to really wake you up and get into your morning routine.

Drinking water starts getting your body systems revved up and will give you some energy.

Brushing your teeth not only gives you something to do as you are trying to wake up, it actually wakes up your mouth. By this point, you are at least halfway woken up.

9) Put on your exercise clothes/clothes and get busy with your morning!

You’re still probably waking up, but getting dressed and physically preparing for the day is going to really help you keep waking up.

To make the most of your day, I HIGHLY recommend working out first thing and getting it out of the way.


For more one making the most of your mornings, check out my post here

You can do it!

Trust me, if I can train myself to be a morning person, absolutely ANYONE can! These tips will leave your snooze button in the dust and walk you through exactly what you need to do to make early mornings happen.

You’ve got this!

9 tips to make waking up early easy

 

 

11 Tips to Surviving and Thriving 4 Kids 5 and Under

11 Tips to Surviving and Thriving 4 Kids 5 and Under

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11 Tips to Surviving & Thriving With 4 Kids 5 & Under

Whether you have 1 kid or 6, being a mom is tough. The moment you become a mom, suddenly your entire existence revolves around caring for your child. How you sleep, eat, and live is suddenly completely at the mercy of this tiny little person. 

And that’s just one kid.

So how do you manage multiple kids without losing your ever-lovin’ mind? I’m here to tell you that not only can you survive 4 kids 5 and under, but you can actually thrive.

I know that look you’re giving me. It’s the look I get every time I go to Costco with my gaggle of small kids. While every day is not unicorns and rainbows, raising 4 kids 5 and under can actually be an absolute blast.

But it doesn’t just happen on it’s own. It takes discipline, planning, and prioitizing YOUR health and selfcare. 

11 Tips to Survive Motherhood of Small Kids and Avoid Overwhelm
Being a mom of 4 kids 5 and under can be REALLY tough. These tips for moms on not only surviving, but THRIVING with small kids can help make you days happier, healthier and more balanced!

Surviving and thriving with 4 kids 5 and under

11 TIPS FOR SURVIVING & THRIVING WITH 4 KIDS 5 AND UNDER

 

1) Make your health a priority.

This is most important thing you can do, and yet it’s the first thing to go when overhwlem hits.

When you get on an airplane, the flight attendant always goes through that spiel where they remind you that in case of an emergency to put on your own mask before helping anyone else.

This absolutely applies to motherhood.

So many moms put their needs last, afraid to take care of themselves thinking it will take away from their kids. But it’s not a win-lose game where if you are focusing on yourself, your kids are missing out.

It’s actually the opposite: The better care you give yourself, the better equipped you are to take care of your family.

In other words, it’s win-win.

You can’t give your kids everything if you are running on empty. Take care of yourself mentally and physically and you can become even better.

2) Get enough sleep.

Okay, stop laughing. It actually is possible. But it’s not going to happen on it’s own. It’s gonna take some effort (here’s some strategies to get better sleep).

Have you ever been so exhausted after you put the kids to bed that you can’t do anything but sit and stare? So you sit in front of the TV and binge-watch a show for 3 hours (because you can’t muster the energy to actually go to bed). Then, the kids wake you up the next day and you are totally crabby because you are exhausted?

Oh boy, been there and done that.

Or have you ever stayed up late to clean because it’s the only way you can keep you house from looking like an episode of Hoarders? That’s productive, right?

Let’s break this down: sleep is 100% linked to basically every part of your health (weight, energy, level, skin etc). It’s also directly correlated to the amount of patience you have.

Think about it: if you were bleeding profusely, you wouldn’t be like “Oh, let me just finish these dishes and then I’ll go get something to take care of this bleeding.” You would take care of the bleeding immediately.

If you are seriously sleep-deprived, sleep is the most important thing you can do.

3) Wake up before the kids.

Waking up before your kids will supercharge your productivity and give you important “me time” when you are energized.

Call me crazy, but I wake up at 4:00am most mornings. Oh, and I am NOT a natural morning person. But once I started doing this, it changed my whole life.

I find that waking up early, exercising, and getting a few thing done before my kids are awake honestly makes me feel like there are more hours in the day. For tips to wake up early, check out these 9 fail-proof tips.

4) Set your intentions in the morning.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. This is especially true for moms. You’ve got a million things coming at you at once and little people to keep alive.

So how can you manage your home, family, AND prioritize your health? At the start of your day, you’ve got to determine what the most important things you can accomplish today. Where will your focus be?

This can take many forms:

  • to-do lists
  • visualization
  • journaling
  • talking it out with your spouse

The key is to decide, right off the bat, what is important in your day.

For example, if my goals for the day are to be an attentive mom and to get some meal prepping done, then a dirty house or an unexpected phone call wont throw me off. I’ll snuggle my hurt child and know that I’ll get to the house on another day. I’ll find a way to end the call and get back to making meals.

5) Exercise.

Exercising does wonders for mental and physical health. It boosts your mood and gives you more energy throughout the day. Even 20-30 min a few times a week can make a huge difference.

As a mom, your average day is like an olympic event, so working out is like conditioning to mentally and physically handle your long busy days. For ideas on exercising, check out these 6 Gym-Free Ways For Busy Moms to Fit in a Quick Workout.

6) Pick your battles wisely.

Every day, you are faced with a million different challenges. But you decide which are worth even dealing with.

You can’t do it all, but you can do what is important and valuable to YOU.

For example, I do not battle over my kids clothes and hair. It does not affect my happiness one bit. Instead, the fact that they dress themselves from about age 2 and on makes my life considerably easier.

Do they look like they were dressed by someone dropping acid? Sure! But they love having control and autonomy over how they look. And I skip any battle over brushing their hair or making sure they match.

(Note: We do “brush our hair for Jesus” so they look presentable at church.)

On the other hand, I am really concerned about creating healthy eating habits. Therefore, I put a lot more energy and effort into preparing healthy foods and encouraging them to like things that are good for their bodies.

Pick your priorities and let go of the rest.

7) Shower & get dressed everyday.

Showering and getting dressed for the day will make you more productive and efficient.

Mind you, “dressed for the day” does not mean you need to be ready for the Oscars or Instagram. It means you are clean, clothed (in not pajamas), and have brushed your teeth.

This shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Remember, dry shampoo is a busy mom’s best friend! 

8) Give individual attention and snuggles to each child daily.

Having 4 kids 5 and under means that this takes some thought. But this goes a LONG way to creat a happy home.

Lot’s of snuggles make happier kids. And crabby kids make for a crabby and frustrated mama.

Remember, most crabby kids don’t need a lecture: they need a good long hug. More snuggles usually translate into a happier day.

9) Live by 1 minute rule

This is simple: If a task will take only 1 minute or less to complete, do it right away.

Whether it’s putting something away, responding to a text, throwing away junk mail, or making a doctor’s appointment, do it immediately.

This gives you 2 boosts: you get the satisfaction of getting something done plus it creates momentum to accomplish more tasks. And it keeps small tasks from building up and becoming overwhelming.

10) Use the “10 minute clean” philosophy.

When you have huge messes to clean and no time (i.e. every moment of your life), this strategy is perfect. Especially when you’ve just put the kids down for bed.

Muster whatever strength you have for just 10 minutes and do a whirlwind clean. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 10 minutes of focused effort.

It’s usually enough to get areas of your house in good enough shape to feel fine moving on to an essential task or going to bed (see #2).

11) Declutter, declutter, declutter.

The more things you have, the more messes you have to clean up. So the more clutter you have, the more time it takes to manage it.

My favorte decluttering stratiegy: Marie Kondo’s The Magical Art of Tidying Up

This book literally changed my life. Not only did we get rid of 1/3 of our possessions and make hundreds of dollars selling stuff, but it made my home a million time easier to manage (and more pleasant to be in!).

Four Kids 5 and Under is totally doable

Having 4 kids 5 and under doesn’t have to mean living in survival mode. Making small changes to your routine, prioritizing your health, and focusing on what’s important will allow to to actually enjoy life.

You’ve got this, mama!