If I slept in a coffin, deep scratch marks would be on the inside when the sun’s rays reached the dark recesses of my cozy vampire crypt. I am NOT a morning person. Babies are! So the transition into motherhood on my sleep schedule was transformative. Over time, despite my vampiric reactions to daylight, I’ve developed tactics to be a good morning mom.
While rising perky and chipper comes naturally to the early birds, this post is more for the night owls. The moms that thrive on the dead of night, when inspiration builds the higher the moon climbs into the dark sky. Since babies (whose sleep schedule is a hotly-debated topic already) tend to be early to bed and early to rise (and rising many times in between), there will be a day of reckoning for the night mamas.
I am still not a morning person, but there are essential tools in my arsenal that have helped take the edge off. Things that I utilize heavily to be a good morning mom.
So what helps make a good morning mom?
How to be a Good Morning Mom
1. Don’t Surpass Your Wake Window for Leisure Time
On December 13, 2016, one would find me traipsing solo down Bourbon Street in New Orleans at 2AM dressed in all black as an homage to the gothic culture of the city. I’d taken a vampire tour earlier that night to check out all the main haunts. My flight home left around 7AM that morning. That was pre-baby Ashley. These days, no soul will see or hear from me after 10PM since I have long since gone to bed.
There’s lots of advice on how to be a good morning mom, or just a good mom generally, and sleep deprivation is something laughed off or casually mentioned in passing conversation. But any night owl mom knows getting 8 hours of sleep is like going on a backwards, fox-led hunt for a unicorn in a kingdom with one fox. And maybe that fox is really old, can’t see well, and likely will lead your hunting group down a ravine lined with shards of glass.
Getting enough sleep as a night owl is hard as a mom, especially when it’s your time to get things done. But I’m letting you know now you can’t operate on little sleep. It will catch up with you eventually. So get to bed early. Your body and mind will thank you the next day. Even take it from Paul Rudd, who swears by it!
2. Check In With Your Needs
If Thomas the Tank Engine kept futilely steaming ahead when the track ended before a giant cliff, it would be a very different cartoon! But, unfortunately, ignoring our limitations results in the same consequences. Motherhood is selfless, enduring, and unending. But that doesn’t mean stripping all other parts of your identity or needs. Checking in with your needs is the main critical point of being a good morning mom– tapping into your self-awareness and prioritizing self-care.
So to be a good morning mom, assess what you need and tend to it in whatever time you have: whether in the minutes your baby is in their high chair or taking some deep breaths while nursing them on the couch.
Integrating self-care means building a life you don’t need to escape from, and taking even a few moments for yourself throughout the day is essential to be a good morning mom.
To learn more about how to go about developing a self-care plan, read my post, Go From Procrastinator to Self Care Planner.
3. Manage Expectations for Your To-Do List
Becoming a mom translates into a to-do list that changes more often than Mystique from X-Men, minus the action-packed thrills and mesmerizing blue body paint. After baby, laundry never stops, cleaning has no end in sight, and most days, you consider it a success if you weren’t crashing by 2 PM.
We all have expectations before baby that may or may not be realistic. Mine looked like charging ahead in my Master’s of Social Work program, not considering how different life would be after my daughter was born. To read about how I manage my expectations during graduate school, read my published article on Motherly, 5 Tips for Pursuing Higher Education as a Mom. It will shed some light on achieving reasonable goals to avoid burning out.
Whether your to-do list is color-coded and impeccably organized or just a series of frantic thoughts and flashing images in your head, you don’t have to do it all. So if you didn’t get through any of the goals you set for yourself today, that’s ok. You are still a good morning mom, more plainly–just a good mom!
4. Think “I Get To” Instead of ” I Have To.”
Anyone who’s read other works of mine will often see the theme of perspective and expectations. My journey in altering my mindset started on a staircase in the minutiae of daily life. I took on a role coordinating a food pantry for my MSW field placement, and it was on the third floor of the agency’s building, and the elevators were slow. So I decided always to take the stairs.
At first, it was annoying until I realized how difficult it would be for someone with limited mobility to get to the top floor. And instantly, my perspective shifted. I learned how lucky I was to walk up those stairs. I didn’t “have to” walk up the stairs; I “got to.”
My body was healthy enough to get me where I needed to go, which is something I will never take for granted again. If you’d like to learn more about my social work internship, read my published piece on the New Social Worker.
So when you find yourself begrudgingly struggling with the trash, it can be transformative to practice gratitude and see all the ways you’re lucky to be who you are. If you’re having trouble thinking of ways you’re a lucky mom, read my post, 7 Signs of a Lucky Mom, as a reminder.
Reframing tasks from a burden to a privilege or opportunity alters our perspective and the stress around it, which is super helpful to be a good morning mom.
5. Find Joy in the Small Moments
Modern life can feel like living on a Where’s Waldo page, with many competing elements overlapping and causing chaotic confusion. Enjoying the small moments, especially as we begin our day, can foster a sense of wonder despite mundane circumstances.
Savoring small moments could look like enjoying a cup of coffee outdoors (weather permitting) or engaging in a new way of playing with your baby. Mindfulness practice can bring joy to day-to-day activities.
To read more about where to start with mindfulness, read my post, 7 Steps to Mindful Living. It’ll be a good foundation for being a good morning mom!
6. Full Body Physical Self-Care
Even almost two years postpartum, I sometimes feel like the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. You can find me squeaking “oil can” to my husband as my limbs creak about the house.
Babies have a nasty habit of growing and therefore getting heavier. As a result, hoisting them up onto your hip becomes increasingly challenging. Since I want to avoid walking permanently lopsided, I strengthen my core. Workouts don’t have to be elaborate or long gym trips. Sometimes it’s just doing some planks in your kitchen.
Beyond workouts, the body continuously impacts the mind, and vice versa. Catering to your physical needs could be drinking enough water, taking a long shower, or wearing a cozy sweater when it’s chilly.
Physical self-care is within reach for everyone but may require tweaks to schedule or priorities. But it will put you in the right frame of mind to be a good morning mom!
Some people may be like my husband, who can exist peacefully without caffeine, but I am not one of them. Take my coffee away, and I will turn beastly.
It’s not just the caffeine at play here, though. My cup of coffee allows me the time and space to indulge in a moment purely mine, even if I’m tending to my daughter’s needs also.
If you’re a coffee drinker, you understand. Coffee is one of the few things I have from pre-baby that I still cherish. It also helps keep me sane despite having rough nights due to teething or other toddler ailments.
To be a good morning mom, you will find me with an elaborately decorated mug in my hand each morning.
Those are the ways to be a good morning mom!
Self-care may be a buzzword, but it’s essential in leading a satisfying life, in building the life you want. How do you try to put your best foot forward in the morning or be a good morning mom? I’d love to know the self-care practices you implement to start your day, so please drop a comment below!
I loved reading this! Your humor is unlike anyone else’s – love it! On a serious note, shifting your perspective from “I have to” to “I get to” is so important. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! My brain goes into interesting directions sometimes. Lol. But yes! Life’s moments can be so fleeting, it just shows how nothing is ever guaranteed. But definitely makes each moment that much sweeter. 🙂
I also loved your published article in Motherly that you mentioned above. Amazing read!
Thank you! I hope it can be motivating for moms interested in pursuing higher education. 🙂
Thank you for this post, and for the reminder to focus on “I get to” instead of “I HAVE to.” As a stay at home mom myself, I’ve often found myself leaning towards “I have to” almost on a daily basis. Dealing with life from a place of gratitude changes everything.
Gratitude is such a life changer for sure! I am a lot less stressed when I’m grateful. 🙂