Friday, August 7, 2015

Make Over Your Mornings {Game Recap}

Here are my immediate take-aways from week two of the Make Over Your Mornings eCourse! To read my thoughts on week one, go here.

Day 8: Create a realistic to-do list
Really good tips here about creating a to-do list you can actually accomplish in one day! No, this isn't about "getting it all done" it's about prioritizing and realistically assessing your season of life and going "all of these are good, but what is best right now?" I've been frustrated too many times by NOT accomplishing what I had laid out, and I think this will help me in the future.

Day 9: Set up your morning routine
Now everything is coming together - up till now Crystal had given us pieces of the puzzle ... now we get to start putting it together! 

Day 10: What are lies you are telling yourself?
This is actually an easy day for me, because this is something I've actually been working through recently. I found there were two areas I was beating myself up in.

1) Not being in shape. OK so I'm not terribly OUT of shape, but I could definitely use some trimming up. I was 5-10 pounds over my "normal" weight when I married. We had a honeymoon baby, 18 months later we added a son, 13 months after his birth we're expecting another. In between these pregnancies there was 10 pounds I didn't lose over my previous weight. 

Growing up I always heard that breastfeeding just makes that baby fat melt away. I don't doubt this is true for some people, but I think it depends on who you are. For me, I think the OPPOSITE is true. I think my body goes "you're breastfeeding! MUST HOARD FAT ... just in case"

As I started thinking about this I realized something - old books and such talk about a "matronly figure" (matron = mother). This always indicated curves or a little plumpness, softness, etc. For HUNDREDS of years, this was considered normal enough it got a term. This whole we're-super-skinny-and-moms things is a relatively new development. If you can pull that off I applaud you, I've largely come to terms with the fact that I'm not unhealthy, and it's ok that I'm not as thin as I once was.

Some days are easier than others. I remind myself though - I don't have this extra weight because I'm not eating right. I DO eat healthy, and while I don't exercise the way I used to, I definitely stay active with little ones around. 

2) I can do it all. By this I meant - I can keep my house in clean and in order (with a 2 year old and 6 mo old) during some disruptive home renovations and cook all my meals from scratch (knowing exactly what was the BEST deals of the week and using those to maximize our money). 

While I do struggle with food from time to time (since we moved last August I haven't gotten back into a good routine for baking our bread) I've never had a problem going "oh that frozen pizza is on a really good sale. Between what it would cost and my time it's the better deal this week" I'm all for making things myself, but eating something already prepped from time to time isn't going to kill us. 

My big struggle is really keeping everything clean. I always feel like I'm running two or three steps behind. Many times I feel frustrated because I JUST cleaned something only for it to get messed up or soiled again. When I ask myself how women of years gone by did it, I realized 5 things.

  1. Standards of cleanliness were different. You dusted, you swept, but disinfecting? sanitizing? Even if you knew about those things, the tools weren't available for home use. Unfortunately, this fact doesn't help us much.
  2. Bathrooms (if they existed) were generally outside. And were probably never cleaned. Double edged sword. I love my indoor bathroom, but cleaning it is seriously one of my least favorite chores.
  3. Meals were simpler. The need to be a gourmet-home chef didn't exist. You ate what was available ... and you probably didn't have a whole cabinet filled with herbs and spices from around the world to incorporate.
  4. Having help wasn't uncommon. Having a maid or family member who lived with you but helped take care of chores or the children was pretty common. 
  5. They had fewer things to care for. Their children didn't have a room or two with toys. They had a doll, a stuffed animal, maybe a top and some marbles, a baseball bat and glove, a few books if you were fortunate. We and our family and friends want our children to have the best of everything. This is good, but it can also be overwhelming. 

I've had to realize that I CAN'T do it all. I need help. Not everyone is blessed to have family they love and trust close by like I am. Sometimes I've just had to ask my mom if she can watch my kids so I can dedicate a day to really cleaning the house. Some things I just cannot do with the children around. She doesn't mind at all. And I bet you have friends who would love to help too - maybe take turns swapping children so you can both get a day to clean/shop/breathe! 

Day 11: Think about how you can incorporate nutrition and exercise.We eat fairly healthy at our house, so getting the right nutrition isn't of huge concern for me. Since we moved almost a year ago, though, having something already made for breakfast to simplify the mornings just hasn't happened. What spare time we have has been spent with family, or on renovating our house. We haven't come up with a good routine where I can have breakfast already ready to grab, like I used to do. Part of the problem is the layout of our kitchen - it just isn't conducive to bulk preparation. I'm hoping once we get our table and chairs painted and in the dining area this will provide the needed work space so I can get back into this really necessary habit. 

Exercise is harder for me. I mean, I have two kids who keep me on the move, but the one on the way means I can't start a new exercise program ... and it wouldn't even be good for my body at this point. We don't have a fence yet for our yard so we can't just go outside and run around. I do try and go on walks, but the process of loading and unloading the children from the double stroller is discouraging. Plus, I don't enjoy walking by myself (aka without another adult). When I'm visiting my parents we try and walk, or I try and go to friends' pools if I have an invitation, but I don't have something regular in place. The best I do is stretch, which is better than nothing, but not ideal. As I wrote about last week, I totally get the benefit of exercise, but this is a season where its hard to incorporate it.

Day 12: Eliminate Decision Fatigue
Even though I mentioned for Day 11 that I have issues with not having breakfast already prepared, this wasn't a decision fatigue issue. I was content with my saucer of cottage cheese and wheat germ. But, being pregnant, this isn't enough to kick start my day, and I haven't found a good, easy replacement yet that doesn't require bulk preparation. There's no way I'm going through the mess of making a batch of muffins without making a triple batch. If I have time to make one batch, it only adds marginal time to make two more. 

One of Crystal's suggestions is having a minimalist wardrobe. I don't embrace minimalism, but I have simplified my wardrobe over time. If it doesn't fit right, if I don't wear it, and if I don't really like the way it looks on me? I don't keep it (with some exceptions for transition pieces for pregnancy and postpartum). 

Chores, however, are something we really struggle with. We get the kitchen clean and sweep pretty much everyday, but we'll forget to vacuum. Or I'll suddenly realize that somehow cleaning our bathroom fell through the cracks. 

Before I was married, I had a system in place for doing my chores regularly, but with moving 3x in two years and adding 2 children with another on the way in the mix, and doing home renovations, it's been challenging, at best, to figure out something that really works for us. 

Day 13: Does Your Routine Need to be Tweaked?

Reality check: I haven't even created my routine yet. I know, I was supposed to do that several days ago, but with preparing to go out of town and being gone for several days, it just didn't happen. My goal is to finally sit down and talk with my husband before this weekend about what we can do. 

Day 14: Celebrate!

Crystal provides encouragement for sticking with the new routine and practical tips for reevaluation.

As I shared in Day 13, I haven't created my morning routine yet. BUT we have started implementing our before bed routine, and waking up and having those things already taken care of an cleaned is really empowering. Here are some benefits I'm already reaping:

  • I feel I can actually get something accomplished during the day, instead of feeling like I can't catch up.
  •  Also, while I don't have a morning routine in place, I have started charting out a week at a time listing what's for supper, if anything is happening that day (Are we going somewhere? Do I need to run an errand? Do we have company?) so I can be in the right frame of mind.
  • I list one thing I want to accomplish that day (eg, vacuum the house, mop the living room, prep the vegetables). I know. Ambitious, right? But at this point in life being pregnant with two little ones, anything more than that is overwhelming. Crystal talked about setting realistic goals, accomplishing one thing a day is realistic, and slowly makes progress. 
  • While we were out of town this past weekend, our baby slept until 8:30 every day. At home he had been waking up between 6:30-7:30! I thought about what the difference was, and it was that he had gone to bed later! My husband and I try to get to bed by 10, but usually it's at least 11. I just hadn't been getting enough sleep. Since we got back home, we've been putting him down later at night, and he's been sleeping later in the mornings! This means I get more sleep - sometimes I even wake up on my own! That's a lovely feeling. It's amazing how a simple little change like adjusting a bedtime affects my mood first thing. 

So while I haven't perfectly followed the tasks for each day and haven't truly made over my mornings yet, I'm already seeing benefit from what I have been able to implement. And honestly, I'm thinking I'll probably go through this course a second time, starting next week. I've had time to really put some thought in to this, so hopefully it'll be easier for me to make things actionable this time around. Have you tried to make over your mornings yet? What benefits have you seen?

Right now - through January 9 - you can grab this course for only $9! The price hasn't been this low since launch day!

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