What is your morning routine?
For the past two years (basically since my kids started consistently sleeping through the night), I’ve set my alarm for 6 or 6:15am.
If it’s my turn to work out (my husband and I rotate) then I’ll go to the gym or run outside. If it’s his turn, I’ll usually stay in bed and go through emails and read on my phone until 7:00am. I used to think I would spend that hour writing and thinking big thoughts but my brain doesn’t function that early. Or rather, it functions just enough to delete and respond to emails efficiently.
Between 7 and 7:30am I get myself ready (shower, get dressed, use dry shampoo ‘cause I’m lazy), and then at 7:30am it’s time to rouse the kids, get them dressed/fed, and out the door by 8:10am. We have a three block walk to school which is a total luxury. Most days I’ll then jump on the subway headed for Manhattan and WNYC. On Fridays, I work from home.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
I was never an early riser before kids, and then when they were little I just tried to sleep whenever they slept. Why on earth would I set an alarm when I was so perpetually exhausted?!
Now that we are on more of a schedule, I’ve decided I like accomplishing something before having to deal with all the hectic details of getting out the door for school. Also, I’ve realized I love the empty streets of early morning and seeing the sun rise. It is a magical moment that you can get for free every single morning! It feels like a reset every time I experience it and righteous all day long.
What time do you go to sleep?
I feel sheepish saying that it seems to be earlier and earlier. I try to brush my teeth with my kids around 7:30pm. If I’m in bed reading by 9:00pm, I’m supremely happy. Lights out is usually around 10:00pm.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
If I’m going to work out, I set out my clothes, headphones, and coffee money. I’m super distracted and forgetful in the morning so I also write myself notes like “Don’t forget to pack charger!” or “Healthy snacks!”
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I use my phone and yes, I hit snooze. I wish I popped up out of bed, fresh as a daisy, but alas, I enjoy just three more minutes of cozy time.
Once in a while I’ll surrender and just reset the alarm for an hour later.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
First thing in the morning is the only time of day that I’m not hungry. So I feel like I need to take advantage of it! Plus, I take my thyroid medicine first thing and technically you’re not supposed to eat for thirty minutes afterwards.
If I eat with my kids, I’ll make oatmeal or a Greek yogurt parfait. If I wait until I get to work, I’ll pick up oatmeal at the food court downstairs (made with almond milk with blueberries, chia, flax, and shredded coconut on top). I’ve been trying to lay off the bagels, cereal, and toast, but like to save eggs for lunch or dinner. The post-40 metabolism slowdown is real. I’m aiming for more protein than ever before.
Do you have a morning workout routine?
Once a week I see a personal trainer and I’ve got the biceps to prove it. My body was a noodle after two kids and now (thanks to Nick), my back pain is gone. I have two jogging loops I do. They both are about 3-4 miles and end at my favorite coffee shop (which also has a big pitcher of water on the counter).
I also try to get to Mommy Bootcamp (don’t let the name fool you) once a week.
Do you have a morning meditation routine?
Alas, I have no official practice but I do try to space out once a day. Usually after the kids are put to bed. I can tell I’m really stressed when I skip the spacing out and head directly for Pinterest.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
If it’s my husband’s turn to work out, I’ll usually stay in bed and go through emails until 7:00am.
Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?
I’ve been testing out some hypnosis apps before bed. I’m not sure they are actually hypnotizing me but I have woken up in the morning with my earbuds still in and feeling pretty well rested.
In the morning, I usually read the New York Times app (it just keeps getting better) and email. I used to go straight for Twitter but I noticed it started me off on an anxious note, already feeling like I was missing something.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
Yes, mainly for the New York Times app and email.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
I try to drink a bunch of water then a cup of decaf tea before I get to coffee. Because I love coffee, but want to hydrate first. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it’s a complete fail and the coffee starts right away. It depends on how poorly I slept and how much time I have to linger.
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
It’s pretty much the same except the jogging ends at Whole Foods or the farmers market. Sometimes my husband or I will let the other sleep in, which means about 8:00am. Parenting has changed weekends forever.
On days you’re not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?
Omg, I love when I’m away for work. I keep the same routine but don’t have to rush to get the kids ready. Just taking care of myself feels so easy and calm. It makes me greedy for more time alone!
Photo of Manoush by Amy Pearl.