Let’s talk morning routines. For a while now, I’ve been wondering whether everyone else is up at 5 am for their yoga and meditation practice. Armed, of course, with a cup of hot water and lemon. My question is, is it just me who rolls out of bed every morning (never before 7:30 am) after hitting the snooze button three times? Does every other woman on this planet follow the advice from the popular book The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod? And is it just me who’s mainly woken up by three children either jumping on me or kicking me in the back, feeling all but calm and zen? So I asked around. Thanks to the power of social media, I collected a selection of recounts of women’s morning routines from all over the country. I asked business and working women of different ages, with different family or living setups and running different types of businesses. I asked real people, who were happy to share and had a blast reading everyone else’s stories. So what do the morning routines of real people look like? What do we do when we first get up?
We check social media and the news
Catherine Gladwyn, a self-employed Virtual Assistant, author of the book How to be a VA and mum of one daughter at uni says: “I check LinkedIn, Twitter, emails, and Facebook. Then BBC news to see what Trump has been up to. I also take tablets which I have to have within 20 minutes of waking up. I then have a cuppa, kiss the boyfriend goodbye and make my way up to my office for 9 am. Radio 2 is on, and away I go. Some mornings I’ll run before I fire up the laptop. Breakfast at 10 am.”
Diane Boothe, a mum of three (aged 16, four and two) and owner of Diane Boothe Personal Concierge Service says: “I wake up at 5.30 am and put my headphones on to do my guided visualisations and meditation. At 6 am I jump in the shower and get dressed. The children get up between 6:15 am and 6:30 am, and I go downtstairs to make breakfast. I watch TV with the children and run through my four-year-old’s words or number work. At 7:20 am I check my emails and social media while drinking my peppermint tea, and at 7:50 am I get the children ready for the school run. We leave the house at 8:30 am. As I’m walking back home, I go back on social media.
At 9 am, back at home, I play with the toddler and give him his second breakfast for the day. At 9:30 I respond to emails and then map out my day on a large whiteboard (focussing on three main goals), and I incorporate time-blocking so I can spend time in between work with my son. I do this all whilst drinking my chamomile tea. At 10 am I head down doing research, making calls, or planning for a large project I’m working on.”
We drink hot water and lemon
Corinne Worsley, Life Coach, says: “When things are going well, I’m up at 6 am, and I head downstairs to make hot water with lemon and get into the shower. Then I get dressed and do my ‘A Course In Miracles’ practice before going downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast I do my make up and either go for a walk or get started on my day. Every day is different though, as I horse-ride some mornings, and I go to yoga other mornings. My non-negotiables are my shower and my ‘A Course In Miracles’ practice.”
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Melanie Hoskin, author and blogger at Life is Short Challenge, who lives alone says: “I have a morning routine which sets me up for a good day. My Sonos alarm is set to do a playlist of classical music (Lark Ascending and a Sunrise suite). It starts at low volume at 5.30 am and rises to a much louder sound by 6 am. My hue lights are set to sunrise setting and come on at 5.30 am, up to the brightest by 6 am. At 6 am the playlist swaps to a 20-minute set of very upbeat songs. At that point, I pull the rebounder out from under my bed and bounce, dance, run and generally go bonkers for the full length. Then I make lemon and ginger tea, drink it while journaling, and then I have a shower. By 7 am I’m ready for breakfast and start work. On a bad day, at about 5.45 am I shout out to Alexa (Amazon echo dot) to shut it all up and make it dark. Then I sleep in. Guess which version is more productive.”
Louise Humphrey, mum of one and Pilates instructor at Studio 44 Pilates says, “My husband’s alarm goes off at 5:45 am. I ignore it! Mine goes off at 6.30 am. I check my phone and then get in my exercise kit. I wake my son again and again, and eventually, he gets out of bed at 7.20 am. Then I give him breakfast, and he’s out of the door at 7.35 am to get the bus. Back on turbo for 30 -40 minutes and pilates. I shower, have breakfast and then head off to teach Pilates.”
We spend time with the children
Zoe Hiljemark, PR consultant, owner of Sixth Sense PR says: “I’m up at 6 am every day (woken either by my husband heading out to the gym or by the children – twins aged four and a five-year-old). They play in their room from about 5.30 am onwards and come to me when they get bored. I then check my emails, Facebook, BBC News and Twitter and then I go and grab tea and relax with the children until 7.30 am chatting about the day ahead, watching kids TV and sharing lots of hugs (I love this age!)
Then I have a shower, I get all three dressed, we have breakfast, (which takes ages as they have loads of cereal) I prep lunch boxes, brush their teeth, do their hair, and usually we dash out the door frantically by 8.40 am ensuring I’ve packed everyone’s food and spare clothes and that they all have hats, gloves, coats, school books, etc! After school drop-off, I get straight to work – every minute of work time is precious.”
We have a cup of tea, first and foremost!
Jo-Anna Francis, mum of two and Virtual Assistant says: “I’m up 7 am every day, apart from Personal Training days, when it’s 6:30 am. I always have tea first – nothing comes before tea! I have a shower, put my makeup on, do my hair, and then I head into my home office for 50% of the time. The other 50% (I share custody of my son 50:50 with my ex-husband) is shower, makeup on and hair vaguely brushed whilst trying to force a small person to choose toast over tea and biscuits. I make his packed lunch and try to be heard above Sponge Bob Square Pants. Then we do a mad dash to school just before 9 am. After the school run, I head home and into the office (with a massive coffee!) At some point I do also exchange vague pleasantries with my daughter and my partner as they head off on their morning journeys!”
Or we have a strong coffee
Susie Jones, mum of a six-year-old and owner of Mildred Jones Fine Jewellery says: “I wake at around 6 am, and my other half brings me in an espresso, so my day starts well. Our son usually wakes around 6 am or 6:15 am and is a thousand volts from there on in! I read a blog on my phone in bed, and drink my coffee while he gets his uniform on. We then go downstairs, and I prep his breakfast, which involves cutting up fruit and veg and either giving him an egg. It could definitely be less work, but he barely eats at school, so I want to ensure he has a good breakfast.
We say bye to my other half at around 7:20 am, and I go upstairs to fold laundry and hang the fresh laundry (which I put on the night before). Then I get washed, dressed and put makeup on. I listen to podcasts while doing all of this. I head back downstairs at about 8 am to remind my son to eat, then we do his medicine, teeth, hair, shoes, coat, bag, toy, etc. On a good day, I’ll also ensure I have the food I’ll need during the day. In theory, we head out at 8:30 am, pick anything up from Sainsbury’s, and then head to school. In reality, we are often racing out of the door at 8:50 though!”
We plan for the day ahead
Karen Lisa Laing, mum of two (aged seven and four) owner of Fit School, says: “The alarm goes off at 6.30 am most mornings. On Fridays, I sometimes allow myself a lie in until 7 am. I usually snuggle for ten minutes, have a think and come to. Then I drink a glass of water before making a cup of tea and a slice of toast and marmalade. This is my treat before the children get up at around 7 am. At the moment in the mornings, I focus on feeding the children and getting them off to their relative schools. For two days a week that’s nursery by 7.30 am and back to breakfast club at school by 7.45 am. I find first thing I’m good to plan and work. That’s why I don’t generally do my exercise until later in the morning. Mornings are also different depending on class schedules.”
We get children up and ready to go (whatever it takes)
Alice Sheridan, London painter and mum of two (aged 13 and 16), says: “The alarm goes off at 6:30 am – my 13-year-old is up early. At 6:40 am I head downstairs to cook breakfast for her and have my first cup of tea. At 7 am, I go back upstairs to wake my 16-year-old, and I head into the shower. My 13-year-old leaves at 7:10 am, and I get dressed. At 7:20 am I wake 16-your-old again and do my make up. I go downstairs at 7:30 am for his breakfast and mine and unload the dishwasher. At 7:40 am I yell again asking my son where he is, I browse Facebook and ten minutes later I yell again. He usually arrives in a hurry and races out the door at 8:05. At that point, I have a hot tea, walk the dog and wonder why I only manage to start my day at 10.30 am when I’ve been up for hours already. Miracle morning in my dreams!”
We feed a small army
All our collective respect and admiration goes to Lucille Whiting, a mum of five (aged 12, 10, six, four and 16 months) and owner of Sophia Alexander, Fingerprint Jewellery says: “I get all the breakfast things prepared the night before and laid out for the children. We’re up at 6.30 am. I feed the baby and grab a coffee while the other four children eat breakfast. Then I start on five lots of teeth and hair brushing, I help people get dressed and pack school bags. At 8.15 am I finally get myself dressed. I put makeup on, get my hair done, and we leave at 8.25 am to walk to school. I get breakfast when I get home.”
Did you just read that? I only have three children, and I’ve never ever done the school run with hair and makeup done. And neither I can comprehend how Lucille makes it sound so easy! Oh, and while we’re on the topic of managing life with a large family, you may enjoy these posts too:
What does having three children (or more) really look like? (Part One)
What does having three children (or more) really look like? (Part Two)
We take our children to school
Ruth Chubb, mum of three girls (aged nine, seven and three) and owner of the Three Bears Cookery Club says: “My TV comes on at 6.45 am, followed by my alarm at 7 am. I snooze until 7.30 am, spend five minutes checking my notifications on my phone before waking my children up. I have a shower, continually ask the older children to get ready for school and then help the youngest one get dressed, which usually ends up with me chasing her around the house! Finally, we emerge downstairs about 8.15 am for breakfast and packed-lunch prep. We’re off to school by 8.45 am. After school, my little one and I recover from the morning madness in front of Fireman Sam while I have a cup of coffee before we start our day!”
While we’re on the school run theme, you may also enjoy this post: School run – how to deal with the most stressful time of a parent’s day.
Two separate school runs, anyone?
Kim Willis, owner of Save Your Time, says: “I’m up 7 am, and I empty the dishwasher while the kettle is boiling. Nothing like a timer to do a task! I make tea, check the children are up, have a shower, feed the dog and leave the house at 7.40 am with one child and walk 1/2 mile up a very steep hill to where the school bus picks up my child for secondary school. I walk back down, have breakfast at 8 am, open the laptop to check my emails and schedule any urgent content. Then I chase my other child to get ready and make his packed lunch. We leave the house at 8.40 am, walk up the hill (again), and the bus arrives. I walk (sometimes run) back down, have a decaf coffee and put the laptop on by 9 am.”
We head out to work
Victoria Hatton, an Autism Specialist Teacher and mum of two (aged two and ten), who shares her wisdom on Starlight and Stories says: “I get et up at 6 am on a teaching morning and at 6.30 am on a non-teaching morning (unless the two-year-old wakes up earlier). On a teaching morning, I’m out of the house by 6:20 am (I eat breakfast in the car and listen to a podcast) and in work for 7.30 am, where I do any prep for the day before our morning meeting at 8.30 am. My Other Half has the children on those mornings. On a non-teaching day, I get up, feed the youngest (and myself), then wake my ten-year-old around 7.30 am when the Other Half heads out to work. We’re out of the house at 8:30 am to get my eldest to school for t 8.30 am”.
We practice gratitude
Emma Langton, Life Coach and mum of two daughters says: “The alarm goes off at 6:40 am and then 6:50 am. I get up and shower. My husband brings me hot water and lemon and then he leaves for work. I think about things I’m grateful for while I’m brushing my teeth. Then I wake my 14-year-old up and leave the room before the groaning starts. We have another daughter, but she’s in a special needs residence. I dry or just straighten my hair, check that my daughter is up and try to smile through stomping and complaints. I pet the dog briefly as the stomping upsets him!
Then I get dressed, head downstairs, and then check that my daughter is still moving! My bedroom is in the loft, so I’m up and down a flight of stairs to check in on my daughter. That gets my body moving! I make myself a coffee, my daughter a tea, and we eat our breakfast together. I then take the dog out for a wee. My daughter leaves at 7:45 am, and I take the dog for a walk or run for an hour. I’m back at home at 9 am at the latest. Then I feed the dog and get to my desk for 9:15 am with my second and final coffee for the day.”
We take care of others first
Silvia Del Corso, SEO Specialist and Digital Marketing Expert of Pink SEO Marketing and mum of two (aged ten and six) says: “My morning revolves around taking care of others. I wake up on time to get my children ready for school, I prepare breakfast for the whole family, and we all sit down to have it together. This is something that I truly love. Then, as soon as they’ve gone, it’s time for me. I get myself ready for the day ahead, whether I’m working from home or heading out to meet clients somewhere. Music is my powerful ally in this phase – inspiring, energising, and uplifting. And I’m ready to face a new day!”
We get up when our bodies are ready
Kathryn King of Kathryn King Designs says: “I’m so not a morning person! Getting up is the most stressful part of my day and always has been – even when I was little! My alarm goes off at 9.00 am, and I snooze it once or twice. My husband is usually up by then – we both work from home and don’t have children. I make us both tea, and we have a chat about what’s on today. Then I start on my to-do list in my studio (converted garage). I try to fit in some meditation and drink about 10 more cups of tea before lunchtime! I would love to get up earlier, prepare for the day better and have more time. But my schedule always slides back into this rhythm.”
Magdalena Marsden, owner of Wow Thank you, says: “I’m not a morning person, so on a day when I don’t have to get up for a particular reason (like running workshops, when I get up at 7 am), I don’t put my alarm on. I wake up at any time between 9 am and 11 am and have a strong cup of tea with milk first. Then I start to work – usually, that’s writing blog posts or something that doesn’t involve people (no social media or e-mails). I usually have several cups of tea while I do this. When I finish my first big chunk of work, I treat myself to breakfast (usually greek yoghurt with homemade granola, fruit, and honey). By 1 pm I’m ready to face the world. I have a shower and get up! My excuse (well sort of) is that if Mr.Churchill could run a whole country from his bed, sure I can run my little empire!”
Did you see how different people’s morning routines are?
Whether you read through this post word by word or skimmed through it, I hope that what you take away from it is that there are as many different morning routines as there are people! Some of us have similar routines. Some of us have a similar amount of children of similar ages, but we’re all different. (And what really stands out to me is that no matter how early people are up in the morning, everyone leaves for the school run ‘in a mad dash’!)
Secretly (or not so much), most of us probably think there’s room for improvement in our routines, but the bottom line is that we all try to find what works for us right now, at the stage of life we’re in. We do what works for us or what we need to do – for our bodies, our jobs, and our families. And that’s ok, right?
So tell us, what’s YOUR morning routine?