Routine, routine, routine. I am so totally one of those people who, for years, was like, “Oh, I hate having a routine…ain’t nobody gonna tie this wild child down” but then realised that- you GUYS!- I LOVE having a routine.
Having a routine, and habits, and daily systems in place means I have to expend less of my already overextended mental energy on making decisions about things. I’ve seen this time and time again with coaching clients, especially in the area of having a meal plan. Those who plan ahead generally succeed, and those who don’t…well, they don’t. Or they do but they find it far more challenging than it needs to be.
The last few years of motherhood and business ownership have made having a daily routine super hard because I just don’t know what each day will bring. My daily routine on a day when we all slept well and everything goes smoothly at work is vastly different from what happens if two staff call in sick and the dishwasher decides to die a slow and painful death. Ugh.
This is why last year, when I did Neghar Fonooni’s Wholehearted Coaching program, I was super intrigued by the idea of establishing a morning routine. A time and space where you set your intentions, refill your energetic cup and go forth into the day feeling calm and ready to hustle. Alas, what was initially exciting soon turned to an exercise in frustration, as my children became to determined to wake up at whatever time I set my alarm. I pushed it back and pushed it back until I was trying to get up at 4:30 or 5 a.m. just to grab 15 minutes by myself but, seriously, no sooner had I made my coffee and grabbed my journal than I’d hear “Mummy!” and the jig was up.
I tried for weeks to make this work, but with a husband who was already usually gone by that time, it was just making me feel angry and resentful as I headed into my day, which completely sucked for everyone.
Clearly a radical shift in perspective was needed. I asked myself, “What if I made my mornings all about my kids and focused on providing them with a calm and loving start to their day because for the first few hours I’ll think about nothing but their needs for food, love and play?” And while it’s been a work in progress, it’s definitely helped. No email, no FB, no Instagram…nothing of the outside world until they are fed, clothed and organised for their day.
Is this my dream scenario? Nope. I’d love to be sitting in meditation or reading inspirational books first thing in the morning because I know how it infuses my day with lightness but the constant fighting against what my current reality is right now was EXHAUSTING. So I gave up. I give up. Everyday. And I try instead to find a few minutes for myself later in the day, even if it means locking myself in the toilet and pretending I’m doing a poop (don’t even look at me like you haven’t done that before!).
It just goes to who that sometimes the best solution is the most ass-backward scenario you can think of. By making my mornings more about my kids, my day is much more peaceful and I am still committed to giving myself time and space for the things I need. I just need to be flexible with it and not too attached to the outcome. Easier said than done, but I’m learning and I hope you can too!