Sample Morning Routine for Sleep Deprived Moms
When you’re a sleep deprived mom, it can be hard to make any decisions, let alone what to do for a morning routine. You may feel lost in trying to keep up with your day to day demands, you are most likely in a mom brain fog as you navigate your mornings and you really just have one goal… keep the tiny humans alive. But it doesn’t mean that routines don’t matter! Routines for moms are important!
I’ve been there and can relate! My daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was about 15 months old. I got so much luckier with my son who started around 5 months old. But having them both on different sleep patterns made me realize how much sleep impacts our well beings and our homes day to day.
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Why Sleep is Important for Moms and Babies
Obviously it’s key for us to get as much sleep as possible but we know that doesn’t always happen. Yes, my kids still sleep through the night but their toddler sleep issues still suck my rest! My 3.5 year old is in a “nightmare stage” where she wants to sleep in our bed almost every night and my 1.5 year old has his toddler molars come in which results in screaming almost every night.
On the nights that someone doesn’t sleep ‘normally’ (which in our home is 8pm bedtime and 6am wake up) I feel a huge difference. I snap more at the kids, I start my day feeling behind (because if they didn’t sleep through the night, I most likely hit my 4:30 am snooze alarm and slept in with them) and I’m super short tempered.
Sleep is key for our mental wellbeing and health as a mom. After my son, I struggled with Postpartum Anxiety and Depression and it was at a time when his sleep was the most inconsistent. From when he was 2 months – 4 months old, I found myself struggling. I wasn’t getting my basic needs met with sleep and it was taking a HUGE toll on my mental health.
When my kids’ sleep is interrupted they are super cranky the next day, hungrier than normal (one of our body’s coping mechanisms for being tired) and just not as pleasant to be around.
But we can’t predict our kids’ sleep patterns and, while we’d love for them to sleep like angels, we know that they don’t. So whether you’re a newborn mom who feels like a zombie and sleeping in 2 hours chunks if you can get them, a mom working out of the home and barely getting in sleep as you cram all of your home tasks into the night hours, or a mom who just isn’t getting the sleep you need, I want to give you some tips on creating a morning routine perfect for the sleep deprived mom. (If you need help with your baby sleep, go and grab the book Precious Little Sleep NOW! It’s a lifesaver!)
Need help getting you baby to sleep through the night? Check out the tips on my friend Jilly’s site by clicking the banner below!
Morning Routine Ideas for Sleep Deprived Moms
Even us tired moms need to have some sort of routine to keep our house going. And while I know you’re probably rolling your eyes at me even talking about a routine when you could fall asleep standing up in the shower, trust me when I say small tasks and habits you can add into your morning will make the rest of the day feel less overwhelming.
When I talk about creating a morning routine, note that I don’t mean a minute by minute schedule that you must always keep to. What I’m talking about are small habits you add into your morning that are predictable, help you get some time to take a breath when you need it, and create space and margin when you’re feeling exhausted.
Unfortunate as moms, we can’t always just let things go to the side because we’re tired. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to crawl in bed with my toddler during nap to get a snooze or pass out on my infant’s floor after they finally go to bed – but no matter how tired we are, some things just have to get done. Our kids need to eat, clothes need to be cleaned, and we need to take some time for self care.
Any of the suggestions I give in this post are to be adapted for you and your family. Include and involve all the other people living in your home into the morning routine and remember, mom doesn’t have to do all the chores! It’s so key to have good communication with your spouse and family and let them know when you’re struggling and where they can help. They aren’t mind readers so by saying the simple phrase “I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with things right now, do you think you could XYZ, I’d really appreciate” will go a long way.
When I was struggling with PPA/PPD I had so many moments where I refused to ask for help. I thought it made me look weak, I thought people would judge me or think I wasn’t a good mom, or it would just irritate my husband being ‘so needy’. Note that those are valid thoughts but not real. If you’re struggling, please go seek help and ask for what you need!
Sample Morning Routine for Sleep Deprived Moms of Infants and Toddlers
If your child is an infant, your morning may look much different than a mom of a toddler or preschool age child. They are less independent but also less mobile. I found the toughest age when I was exhausted was 14 months – 19 months (where I am now). This is where my son is in EVERYTHING but also can’t do much on his own. In the infant stage, babies are fascinated in swings, most love being in a baby carrier and honestly, just don’t do much!
So what could your morning look like?
If you roll out of bed with baby, take a few minutes for you. I suggest keeping a swing or bouncer (this is the swing we love!) in your bathroom so you can have some hands free time to brush your teeth and get dressed. Don’t underestimate the power of putting on clothes that aren’t pajamas!
While you’re doing this, turn on worship music, an audio book, podcast or something to get your mindset right. This could be some 90s dance music or using the YouVersion app to read the bible to you – find what gets you in a great mood and sets your soul up for success!
I listen to a TON of personal growth throughout my day and used to think it was so hard to find time to do it. Then I realized how easy it is to just hit pause, turn the TV off for background noise or listen in small chunks. Don’t feel like because you can’t sit and binge an audiobook for 3 hours those 5 minutes while you brush your teeth and wake up don’t matter – because they do! If you’ve never listened to an audiobook, give it a try! You can get a free 30 day trial + 2 free books with this link to Audible!
If you have a toddler, I really suggest aiming to get up even just 15 minutes before them. You can start tracking their sleep patterns and see what time they wake up on which days to have some sort of idea. For example, I know that my kids are typically up between 5:30-6 (I KNOW!!!) so even when I don’t get a great night sleep, I set my alarm for 5:15 to have at least that time alone. If you can’t get the alone time, still take that getting ready time for you and let them hang with you. I keep a basket of books in our bathroom for my kids to look at or play with while I get myself going.
Morning Basket for Kids
After I’ve taken even 5 minutes for me, it’s time to go down for breakfast. As much as you can, I suggest preparing breakfast ahead of time or at least having a plan. You can check out this chart I made with healthy toddler breakfast ideas and print it out so that breakfast can be a no brainer! The less you have to think and make decisions in the morning and when you’re tired, the better!
Having 2-3 breakfast options to rotate through makes it easy to get breakfast going and limit power struggles over what to eat. My kids get a protein and a carb for breakfast and I let them choose which ones they want. I’ll ask if they want sausage or yogurt first and then fruit or a waffle? This allows me to easily make things I know I already have and that are balanced for them.
While you’re getting breakfast going, this is a great time for morning basket or independent activities. If you have an infant, you can make sure you have a swing or pack and play in the kitchen (we seriously had one in every room — thank you hand me downs and consignment sales!) put on some worship music or Baby Einstein and get your breakfast going too. Hopefully you remember to put the coffee pot on the night before so you can get that brewing. (seriously… buy a coffee pot like this one. It has a timer and is amazing!)
This is a great time to get your baby his or her bottle or sit and nurse. While your baby is eating, you can check in with emails, read an ebook, or text and catch up with friends! I try to limit my mindless social media scrolling and if I didn’t assign my nursing sessions to a tasks, I would have probably just online shopped and compared myself to other moms on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to check out a morning routine specific for breastfeeding moms, click here!
If you have toddlers or preschool age children, you can put together a morning basket for them. We have a table in our kitchen and before I go to bed, I leave out an independent activity for them. My kids gravitate to this table and it keeps them busy while I wake up and get our morning going and cook any breakfast needed.
Don’t let morning basket be ‘another thing’ that you can’t keep up with though! As a sleep deprived mom, my biggest advice is to keep it simple! Morning basket is a tool you can use to help your mornings, not something else to keep up with!
So what do I leave in my morning basket or on the play table?
- Interactive Books
- Coloring Books or Stickers
- Magnet Tiles (get these from Picasso Tiles – they are half the price of the big name brand and we have two sets!)
- Peg Board
- Play Doh
Really any open ended toy item that they can have fun with on their own will work! This isn’t the time to do a new homeschool activity or teach them to read. This isn’t complicated Pinterest craft time or super messy play. This is a great time for them to have an activity they can use their imaginations with so that you can get tasks done.
Since implementing this the past few months, I’ve seen a drastic change in our mornings. I’m less stressed because they aren’t under my feet just asking for breakfast. They are becoming more patient with our morning pace (aka mom before coffee). They play together SO much better. It takes them more time in the morning to ask for the TV (which is a HUGE win in my book! I’m not anti-TV but I try to limit their screen time)
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Household chores, cleaning, and organization as a tired mom
After we’ve all ate, it’s a great time for morning chores. My kids know that our morning tasks have to get done before TV goes on so they are more willing to help out. The thing is though, at this toddler stage, I want to teach them and train them up but it often is MUCH easier for me to just do it on my own.
They each get a simple set of chores to do so that they have responsibility and, while they are doing those, I go upstairs and grab the laundry for the day and unload the dishwasher. Those are the only two home tasks I do in my morning routine. I find that a load a day makes putting laundry away less overwhelming and emptying my dishwasher first thing allows me to just fill it after each meal instead of letting it all pile in the sink until dinner.
What chores can toddlers do?
Don’t underestimate how much our tiny people can do! From a year old, My kids have been doing small tasks and chores and helping around the house!
Sample Chore Ideas:
- Putting laundry in hamper
- Dragging laundry basket to laundry room (this works if you have a small plastic basket like we do for their room)
- Putting laundry and detergent in
- Transferring laundry to dryer
- Giving dog biscuit (this is my youngest favorite chore and something he’s done since 12 months)
- Putting away some dishes
- Putting away toys
- Sweeping (which really isn’t sweeping but get your kids a baby broom and they’ll LOVE it)
- And more!
While my kids ‘sweep’ I get to do my chores and they are a part of the morning clean up! Try to keep those podcasts going while you do the routine so you can get you mind right! Putting on dance music can help wake you all up and just bring so much joy into the house!
By this time of the morning (it’s probably only 9am but feels like 5pm) I hope that you are patting yourself on the back with some of what you’ve accomplished. Remember mama, when you’re exhausted or having a tough day, you deserve grace since you’re doing your best! Don’t forget how powerful the small tasks can be and applaud yourself for taking a step!
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