But First, I’m Mama

It’s 6:23 a.m. and I hear little feet shuffling downstairs toward the living room. Almost every morning, the day starts somewhere around this time, with the kids popping on the TV for cartoons or going to the playroom. Since I’ve had night-time parenting for years straight, it usually means my husband gets up and manages the early morning parenting (i.e., dozing on the couch while the kids hop around beside him) so that I can get a solid hour of uninterrupted sleep before I start the day.

Once I’m up, it’s time for chores (usually dishes and straightening up the whole main level to start the day fresh), coffee, and breakfast for anyone that hasn’t already grabbed cereal. If I can remember, I try to feed myself, too. Then, more dishes, nursing the baby, and homeschool.
Notice what didn’t make it into my morning routine? Writing.

Find the Best Routine for You

Just because writing doesn’t have a tendency to show up in my morning routine, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a priority to me. It is. I show up for it when I’ve carved out the time to write. But for me, there are a couple of things that factor into my decision to cut writing (mostly, see point 4 below) out of my morning routine.

1) I’m a Night Owl
As it turns out, I’ve never been a morning person and my body’s natural circadian rhythms mean a bump of energy right around 8 at night. Not only do I feel more aware and clear-headed at this time, I’m also more creative. Put that together with the fact that the kids are (usually) asleep by this time, and it works out to be the best time of day for me to get writing done.

2) I’m NOT a Morning Person
This goes hand-in-hand with the point above, but I have encountered some people (like my oldest daughter) who seem to be wide awake no matter what time they are up. In the morning, it always feels like my brain is slogging through mud. I prefer a slow, quiet morning (as much as that’s possible with five kids), so I try to keep the important things for later in the morning and the day.

3) First, I’m Mama.
I can set whatever routine I want, but at the end of the day, full-time stay at home mom is also part of my titles. I’m a writer and a photographer, too–but me doing either of those things doesn’t require my full-time attention in a way that results in the well-being of other people. My kids left to their own devices, on the other hand?

Have you seen how quickly a group of toddlers can destroy a room?

Also, they get *brilliant* ideas on the regular. Like–“let’s all jump from the coffee table to the couch and keep pushing the table further and further to see how far we can jump!” Or–“let’s dance on the window ledges of our bedrooms on the second floor!”

And it’s not just that I want my kids to survive until the next morning. I happen to be interested in getting to know and spend time with them. And since I’m homeschooling this year, I’m also responsible for their education. Everything else can wait, if needed.

4) Sneaking Writing into My Morning is a Bonus
Just because I don’t schedule writing into my morning, it doesn’t mean I never get to do it. My laptop is usually on the counter at any given point in the day and if the kids are playing well together and the chores are done and the baby is sleeping (aka, if the stars align)–then maybe I can sneak some writing in. Like this blog post, as it so happens.

And, my friends, there are few things as satisfactory as accomplishing something you weren’t expecting to.

What things do you factor in when you set your writing routine? Send me a message or drop me a line in the comments!