I used to say I had an addictive personality, but I decided to reframe that. Now, I realize I’m ritualistic. I enjoy routines; they calm me. More than ever, I rely on my daily routines. I’m a working mom of two small kids (5 and 2) and work a short day. I need a very specific routine if I want to get a lot done both professionally and personally because the rest of my day is devoted to my kids. I get asked about my routine a lot and I’ve been slightly apprehensive to share it. Mainly because I feel like mine isn’t something most people get to do. Working from home allows me a lot of flexibility and I’m super grateful for that. On that same token, you have to be very self-disciplined to be productive. After almost 10 years of working for myself (and plenty of years of working insane hours), I’ve finally reached a place where I have a little more “balance.” Some of that comes from having a great foundation (my team and systems) and the other comes from me blatantly deciding that my personal needs are just as important, if not more, than my work. Radical self-love is my goal.
I have early risers. They wake up every single day before 6 a.m. It’s never easy. Every morning, I wish I could go back to sleep, but after years of trying to change this, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s just what comes natural to my kids. Since it doesn’t come naturally to me, I have had to change my habits to cope. Mainly, I have to get to bed early.
I’ve shared my morning routine with the kids here. That breaks down how we get the kids out of the house before 8 a.m. during the school week. I will say that the more I can do the night before, the better. My husband packs the lunches, while I lay out the clothes and any work for school that my daughter needs. I must stay flexible though because I have two very opinionated kiddos who may decide they don’t want to wear what I’ve picked out and that’s fine.
I usually have coffee and a snack in the morning while getting the kids ready for the day. Since they wake up early, we have time and usually aren’t running around like crazy. With my husband’s schedule, we alternate who’s driving whom, but no matter what, we’re both out of the house by around 7:45 a.m.
I don’t really get myself ready. It feels pointless since I’m coming back home. I may throw on some light makeup if I’m feeling grubby and I wear a big jacket to cover my sweats.
This is my favorite part of the day during the week. As much as I adore my kids, I’m an introvert and need my alone time to recharge. The time alone in the morning when I get back from the school run is my most precious and creative time. I typically get home at 9 a.m. and I have a little clean up routine I try to stick to. I spend about 30 to 40 minutes running around the house picking up messes we left out from the early-morning routine. I usually start the laundry, do the dishes, make beds, etc. I like to listen to a podcast while I do it. I also will have my breakfast.
Once I have done my cleaning blitz, I like to quickly work out. This doesn’t happen every day, but my goal is three times per work week. Around 10:30 a.m., I usually will do a home workout for 45 minutes. This is something I skipped or was inconsistent with for years. For the past 5 months, I’ve been really strict with myself, while trying to avoid the guilt that creeps in that I haven’t started working yet. However, I’m way more productive, happier and sleep better when I stick to this. It’s important to me.
Around 11 a.m., I will start working. It depends on how sweaty and gross I feel after my workout, but I will skip showering until later so I can get to work. My day varies a lot in terms of my work routine, but mainly it’s me sitting in front of my laptop. I will do something creative and inspiring for about 20 minutes, then my Asana tasks, then my emails, all while corresponding to my team via Slack. Each day, the tasks are different, but it’s rare that I’m not online. Things like in-person meetings, shoots and events are more rare.
I eat lunch around 1 p.m. most days. I usually eat while working, which I know you aren’t supposed to do, but since I take a long time to get to work each day,, I feel like it’s fine. I have to squeeze in a lot of work in a short amount of time in order to meet my personal goals. My work day usually ends around 3 p.m. when I have to pick up my kids for school. I know what you’re thinking, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. is way too short. How do you get anything done? Let me break it down.
- I have an amazing team that is very organized and I’m finally at a point where I’m not working all hours of the day. This is huge! I also want my team to have flexibility and try to encourage them to not work like crazy. We can afford to scale back to an extent. I used to feel like I was just constantly working. That was partly because I was starting a small business and had to wear many hats and we weren’t super organized. It was also because before kids, I had time to work all the time and liked it. Now I can’t work like that. I need to be really efficient and choose my jobs wisely. Even a year ago, I was working from Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and I was unhappy. I was burnt out. I had to make a change in order for me to stay happy with my work.
- Not every day looks the same. Some days (or even months) I have things that come up at work or bigger projects that I have to work on. That means I will skip my mid-morning routine and get straight into it. Maybe it means I will work in the evenings a little, too (I try not to, but if I have to, I will).
- Maybe it’s my age now (37), but I just made a personal choice that I had to change the way I was working. If that means we take on less, so be it. Our wellbeing and health are too important. It’s a fine balance, though. I can’t afford to not work. It’s about being adaptable and also prioritizing differently.
I get home from picking up my daughter around 3 to 4 p.m. I like to have quiet time with her alone before my husband gets home with our son around 4:30 p.m. My daughter and I will typically color and have a snack.
One thing that surprises a lot of people is that I bathe my kids at around 4:45 to 5 p.m. most nights. I prefer it. My kids aren’t docile bathers. They are crazy bath monsters and I find it stressful to have to bathe them after dinner when I am super tired and so are they. So I will bathe them early while my husband starts prepping dinner. We cook from home around three times per week.
I’ll save a detailed breakdown of our evening routine for another post, but I will give you a quick overview.
Dinner is usually 5:30 p.m. (remember we wake up around 5:30 a.m. so we’re all ravenous by then). Then at 6 p.m., we have a little play time as a family. It’s a small window where all four of us get to play during the week. We set a timer and play for about 15 minutes and then get into the bedtime routine.
My husband is amazing and we do everything as a team. Currently at night, he takes our son and I’m with our daughter. We get their teeth brushed and read books in separate rooms. They share a room and when we’re doing the relaxation part of the routine, we have to separate them. They get too rambunctious and need alone time.
By around 7 p.m., my daughter is fast asleep since she doesn’t nap and has an active school day. My son often is too, but sometimes he will go to bed a bit later around 7:30 p.m.
After the kids are asleep, my husband will make lunches and take a shower while I get things cleaned up and get ready for the next day. I will also shower and do a relaxing pamper session until about 8 p.m.
Then we will watch tv and hang out until about 9 p.m. Then I go upstairs to read and hopefully fall asleep by 9:30 p.m.
And then we start it all over again the next day!
Don’t forget to also check out 5 Healthy And Easy Recipes With 5 Ingredients Or Less, and 7 Things To Do To Get A Good Night’s Sleep!