How My Morning Routine Has Changed as a Mother (and why I think this applies to all people)

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Dear Ones,

It feels so good to be back and writing to you all!  Taking a pause from my communication over this past month was necessary, and it also highlighted how much sharing about self-care is a form of self-care for me.  It’s shown me, once again, that we just can’t do this self-care work alone.

With that, I am getting very excited to share news about the upcoming beta version of my self-care membership program, which will begin on October 1st.  This affordable, accessible collective will deeply inspire you in your self-care, help you transform your compassion fatigue and provide a workable route through the block of imposter syndrome.  All of this will be in service of showing up to create a more compassionate, equitable and healthy world.

(Are you interested?  I’ll be sharing more information very soon!  Keep checking in here on Wednesdays and all will be revealed.)

Today, I’d like to talk about cultivating a dynamic morning routine.  Actually, I’m going to spend the whole month on this topic, because I think having a workable morning routine is so important for our overall well-being, which in turn, is so important for how we show up to serve others.

However, despite its importance, part of me wants to completely ignore the topic. Why is that?  Because my formerly uber-dynamic self-care morning routine has pretty much fallen apart as I became a mother.  The perfectionist part of me would rather not admit that my morning routine is not as shiny as it used to be.

Before I became a mother, in a typical morning I would:

  • Wake up before the sunrise

  • Scrape my tongue, splash my face with cold water, spritz with rosewater spray

  • Drink hot water until I pooped

  • Meditate or write my morning pages

  • Do 20 minutes of yoga

  • Walk Poncho and enjoy the sunrise

  • Eat a good breakfast, shower, begin my day

Intense, huh?  Reading that, I’m not even sure how I managed to fit it all in.  All I know is that my morning routine sustained me through a lot of transition, and being conscious that it was stabilizing made me very disciplined about sticking to all the steps.  At times this made me rigid, but it was what I needed and I went with it.

Now, almost a year into motherhood, my mornings look so different.  I alternate between waking up with my son, Jonah, at 6:00am and catching an extra hour of sleep on the mornings Micah, my partner, wakes up with him.  Jonah’s been sleeping through the night for almost two months now and each morning, I say a little thank-you prayer for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.  Still, I think my body will take a little longer to continue to heal itself from over 10 months of sleep deprivation.

However, some aspects of my self-care continue to stay the same.  Regardless of other factors, here is what I continue to do on any morning:

  • Scrape my tongue, splash my face with cold water, spritz with rosewater spray

  • Drink hot water (although I tend to poop a little later in the morning now)

  • Do at least a little stretching, often while Jonah plays with his toys

  • Eat a good breakfast, shower, begin my day

  • (Also, I get to play with Jonah and chit-chat with Micah, and these are total self-care practices for me)

I can look at this list and feel deficient, or I can choose to celebrate the immense self-care I am practicing.  Part of me thinks that feeling deficient will motivate me toward greater change. This is the part of me that tells me I’ll never be good enough in any capacity, i.e., my inner saboteur.  Over time, I’ve learned that listening to her will only keep me miserable and stuck in my life. So, I choose to ignore her.

The most revolutionary move I can make in my morning routine, or in my self-care in general, is to completely accept where I am with a kind, enthusiastic heart.  This is the fertile place where I can nurture all the tiny little steps that help keep me growing in my self-care. I mean, I have kept a tiny human being alive for a year and I am still tending to my self-care.  Isn’t that amazing? This is the voice of my inner cheerleader, who believes in me endlessly and still gives me those little nudges forward that end in sustainable change.

And now, what about you?  Are you judging your morning routine for what you are not doing?  Or are you celebrating the tiny but important wins that do keep you stable?  It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, I know you are dealing with big things in your life right now. Any effort toward self-care, including reading this right now, deserves to be celebrated fully.

As the Buddhist saying goes, how we do anything is how we do everything.  Your attitude about your morning routine is your attitude about your life in general. The amazing news is that changing your attitude in one arena, such as your morning routine, will help you in all areas.  Let your cheerleader take over, and see what opens up in your life.

A self-care practice:  This week, take a moment at the end of your mornings to congratulate yourself for any self-care efforts you’ve made.  Write these efforts down to make your victories even more concrete in your brain. Tell a supportive friend to increase the momentum. At the end of the week, see how you feel about your mornings.  Do you notice any more willingness to experiment with new self-care? How do you feel about yourself in general?

As you congratulate yourself, please let me know what comes up for you. I’d also appreciate reading your morning routine questions.  As I’m spending the entire month of this newsletter on self-care morning routines, I can share your victories and offer self-care tips to help when you’re feeling stuck.

Tune back in next week when I’ll release a podcast with Benjamin Spall, the co-author of the My Morning Routine blog as well as the blog’s recently released book about the morning routines of some of the most creative, dynamic people in the world today.  Our conversation shares how these people practice self-care and offers ways to get started on creating you own morning routine.

Until then, much care and love!
Gracy