This is Jen from grace for single parents where your parenting and God’s grace collide. Hi Chanelle. I’m so glad to have you on the podcast today.
Thank you so much. Glad to be here.
You’re going to talk to us today about creating a morning routine and why that is so important for us. And could you tell us a little bit, a little bit about yourself?
Definitely. So I am a mom of five. They go in age from 16, all the way down to three and a, the first four were close, really close together. We had four and six years and then a long gap and then a surprise baby. Number five, I am married, my husband and I have been married for 19 years. And I know that most of you are single moms. And so just know that even though I am married, I am coming at this with a perspective of, of the single moms side of it. I live in Southern California.
I love chocolate like chocolate. Oh my gosh, chocolate and me are close every day. And I love going outside and walking. So yeah, that’s a little about me. And I guess I should say I’m also a podcaster. I host the moms who know podcasts. I’m an author of a book called parenting with purpose as well as several children’s books.
Can you tell us why a morning routine is so important?
Yeah, definitely. So for me, I mentioned that I had my kids really close together and so we had a six year old and a newborn and I had two kids in between and I was just exhausted really to the point that I wasn’t taking care of myself at all. And I would find myself grumpy and really emotional. So when one of the kids would start crying, I couldn’t handle it. I would start crying.
It was just everyone, you know, the children and myself as well, just, we’re not handling things well. And so I got to a point where I noticed some physical symptoms and so I went to the doctor and he tested me for a lot of different things and came back and he said, your cortisol, which is your stress hormone is through the roof. And you need to find a way to calm down and to really, you know, figure this out and to get a little less stressed, because what you’re doing is not sustainable and you’re going to burn out. And I felt at that point, like I already was burning out. And so I thought, okay, well, what can I realistically do? My I, my husband worked outside the home and I was home full time with the kids. And I felt like, well, there’s, I’m the one, like I’m here with the kids.
There’s nothing I can, how can I possibly take time for myself? Like I didn’t see how that can happen. So I decided that I would start getting up before my kids got up in the morning and start a morning routine. And what I started with was just yoga. And it was a simple yin yoga practice, which yin yoga is. It’s not a really a workout yoga. It’s a stretch yoga. You hold each pose for maybe five to 10 minutes and you breathe really deep. And it was just really to relax and have time alone. But what I noticed just from that simple start of a morning routine was that later in the day, when everything was falling apart, like kids were needing me. I wasn’t falling apart. And you know, that dinner hour, which is crazy, I think for all of us when the kids are whining and you’re trying to make dinner, that I could just handle a little bit better. And so that really was the start for me of getting a morning routine and it’s expanded over the years, but it has expanded because I noticed that even doing a little made a big difference, and I thought, okay, this is something that I have to keep up. And this is something that really is working for me
When you started getting it before the kids, it sounds like they were super young. . How did that work for you? Was it consistent because how did you wake up before the kids?
Yes. So my, at this point, my youngest was sleeping through the night and when I’ve coached women on creating a morning routine, I always say, if you’re not getting sleep, if you, you know, your kids are waking up in the night, it is not time for you to start a morning routine you’re in survival mode and you just need to survive and get all the sleep that you can. But once your kids are sleeping through the night and you kind of have a better idea of what they’re going to do, then that becomes possible. And that’s how it was for me. So my son was sleeping through the night and I could get up. I knew what time they would get up. And I would get up just a little bit before now. I, and this is years later, I’m like 10, I’ve been doing this maybe eight to 10 years.
And now I get up about an hour and a half before my kids. Just because I like that time with five noisy kids running around, I like the time alone. And it’s, it’s really important to me to have that. And I, I just like to do certain things, do work things, just get some things out of the way in the morning. But yeah, just starting off really small with, you know, even 10 minutes before, you know, your kids are going to get up. If your kids are kind of erratic and you don’t know exactly what time they’re going to get up, sometimes it can feel really like, what’s the point, right? Oh, I’m going to try to do this yoga. And then as soon as I try, my baby is going to wake up and that can feel really. But the truth is when, even if we just get in a few minutes, when we start our day intentionally, the way we want to, rather than with a baby crying or a toddler, you know, in our face, it makes it sets a real, it sets the tone for the day and we just feel so much better throughout the day.
What things do you suggest that we add into our morning routine?
Oh, okay. I love this question. I’ll tell you what my morning routine is now. And then I’ll talk about you know, what a morning routine can look like for other people. So for me, I wake up, I say, my prayers, I go to the bathroom, I brush my teeth and then I go out to a certain place. And this is something that I’ve learned about habits. So as much as you can, you want to create an environment that supports your habits. So I go to the same spot in the couch, under the coffee table is my journal. And I start the morning by journaling out. I have questions that are already written right there, and I write the answers and that usually takes less than five minutes. And then I go into the office.
I have a YouTube playlist, all ready to go. And I do the first video in my playlist, and it’s a yoga video. And I have varying links in there. But most of the ones that I have, I try to stick to around 20, 25 minutes, some are a little longer, some are a little shorter and, you know, I can adjust by the day. If I know I’m running late, then I go down and find a 15 minute one, even if it’s not the next in the queue. And then I do a short meditation. I have the same thing, a YouTube playlist, all set up and ready to go. And then I come out and I sit in this place, another place where all my study materials are, I read scriptures. I, I journal my thoughts about those. And then when I’m done there, I come into my home office and I work on my writing.
And I have different things that I’m working on at different times. So right now I’m currently working on a book. And so I have a goal, a word goal that I want to do every single day. And so I come in and I write a certain amount of words. And then at that point, it’s time to go get the kids up and do the, you know, the mom thing and have my breakfast. And I have the same breakfast every day and I get them their breakfast. And then we’re, we’re doing the things that most of us are probably doing. But before I ever did any of the, you know, lunch and brush your teeth and get out the door and all those things for the kids, I’m doing these things for myself. So as I talked to other women what I always say is my self care routine that works for me my morning routine.
And that’s something that’s super important to me, but what you need to do to figure out your morning routine is say, what do I need in my morning? Like, what things am I missing throughout the day? Or if I had time to myself, what do I always think? Like, Oh, I wish I could. Now some of those things are going to be harder to do in the morning, but some of them are actually possible. I know people who feel like I just wish I had time to connect with friends or with my mom. And so they, in their morning routine do a Marco polo and leave a, a tired faced video for their friends. And that’s a way that they can communicate cause they find it hard to do throughout the day. Maybe they go for a run and that can also be hard if you are, you know, home alone with the kids.
So maybe you need a treadmill or something at that point. So you can do it in the house. Maybe it’s not exercise at all. Maybe it’s to get a cup of, you know, herbal tea or whatever your drink is and just sit and enjoy it without anyone asking you for anything. And as we know, as a mom, like that’s a luxury to just sit in the quiet. And so even if it’s simple don’t write that off and don’t think, Oh, that’s not good enough. That’s not a big enough thing. Like that will still make you feel so good that you took that time for yourself. And the, the thing that will help you to get there is to ask yourself, and how often do we do this, ask yourself, what is it then I really need, what do I need? And then find a way to make that happen preferably in the morning when you know that there aren’t as many demands on your time.
Great advice. Yeah. And did you say you’re in Southern California? So you have beautiful weather year round, right?
Yeah. So I am lucky we can go out. I go for walks all the time, but I usually do my walks later in the day where I bring my preschooler. So it’s a little warmer and he’s in the stroller and yeah, that’s not usually part of my early morning work.
Okay. Because I was going to say that one of the things I love to do every morning, especially when the weather’s nice, I’m in Kansas, so it’s fluctuates. But about four, five months during the year, I re it really helps me get up because I can go out on my back porch. And then I like to do my devotions out there before the kids wake up and just sit out there when the sun comes up. But I always have a really hard time getting back into that when the winter comes, because there’s no going outside and in Kansas. So I always have a really hard time getting back into my morning routine.
Yeah. That makes sense. And that brings up another point, which is in the winter. Sometimes it’s dark and it can be hard for people to get up, you know, regardless of if they have a beautiful sunrise routine or not. And one of the things that has been really helpful for me is instead of waking up to a traditional, blaring, horrible sounding alarm is to use a wake up light. I love it. If you haven’t used one before they come on about a half an hour before you need to be awake and then the light just grows brighter and brighter. And it’s amazing because it’s like waking up to the sun and you wake up gradually. And it’s a really nice feeling. And after that half an hour, if you still are not awake, it will do a sound, but they’re usually still a little more pleasant of, of a sound. So that can be helpful in those winter months.
I’ll have to check that out. Yeah. Do you recommend starting everything all at once? Let’s say I have a list of like five or six things that I want for my morning routine, or just start adding things slowly. Like maybe just take one thing and do that for a while because how long do we really, You need to do it before our habits start to get into place. Okay.
This is so something that I love. I love, I get really excited. You can probably tell about habits. They’re so fun to me because when you create a habit and then you do it consistently, I mean, habits have so much power to just change our lives. They run on autopilot that morning routine that I talked about that I do, I’m doing consistently every single day. And that’s so amazing if we really can get in a habit. So when you’re thinking about your morning routine, you want to think about how can I create habits? And it works different for different people. I’m not gonna necessarily, it’s not prescriptive that, you know, you have to only start with one thing and then go to two things and then three, not necessarily, but what you want to do is give yourself permission to do a little and have that count.
So often people say, okay, I want to start this new habit. And so I want to go running for, you know, every day for an example, I want to go running. And so I’m going to run five miles. And then what happens is maybe the first day, they’re all excited and they go running five miles. But the next day they’re kind of tired and they really are not quite as excited. And they push themselves and maybe they run five miles, but the next day they’re like, Hmm, I don’t, I don’t have five miles on me today. So I’m not going to do it at all. And I think that we can see that if we can go the other direction and we can say, you know what, on my best day, I’m going to run five miles. Great. Like I’m going to shoot for that.
But if I’m tired and if it doesn’t work out, you know that I can do five miles, I’m still going to at least go around the block. And that is enough. And I’m going to celebrate that. And really that has been one of the keys to my success of keeping up this morning routine every day for all these years. Because even if we’re going on vacation that morning and we’re leaving, you know, at 6:00 AM or 5:00 AM, we’ve even left before I still do my morning routine, it’s a really abbreviated version. I get up, I ride a line, we’re leaving for vacation today. In my journal, I do a couple of yoga. I do my meditation. I read a verse of scripture. I write a sentence that might take me, you know, five or 10 minutes, but I am cementing in the habit. So to get back to your original question, how do we start?
The thing that you want to do is do the same thing in the same way every day, and then allow yourself a range within those activities. So if you want to, you know, have these five activities that you do every morning, that’s fine. You can start with all of them, but you want to take as many choices out of your morning as you can. You want to write it down to begin with, okay, I am going to first go in my bathroom and I’m going to brush my teeth and I’m going to, you know, you want a specific as you can, I’m going to do that. And then I’m going to sit on this certain cushion of the couch and I’m going to pull out my journal and you want it that specific exactly what you’re going to do in exactly what order. Because another thing that happens is confusion.
We go, okay, wait, what was I supposed to do now? Was I going to write in my journal? Or was I going to do yoga? Or you’re not sure. And you’re questioning and you’re wondering, and it trips you up. And then you think, Oh, maybe I’ll do that later. And it’s just confusion. So as much as possible, create the one habit links into the next links into the next. And that keeps you going every day, because you don’t have to question. You don’t have to wonder you’re you’re, it’s like your brain is just leading you on to that because you’ve already cemented in what comes next.
Okay. Makes sense. So, do you have any last words that you want to say to anyone who is trying to figure out how to start their morning routine?
Yes. Okay. So the thing that I would say, especially to moms who are really trying to figure this whole thing out, how do I go from, you know, how do I go figure out even how to be a single mom? Self care is probably not the first thing that you think of. You’re thinking of your kids. You’re thinking of your finances. You’re thinking of a lot of other things, but the truth is we absolutely need to take care of ourselves. And I think another thing that happens if, if you’ve become a single mom through divorce there are self worth issues. A lot of times, as you’re going through this hard transition time, so know that you are absolutely worth taking care of and know that you’re the only one who can take care of yourself. It’s called self care for a reason. No one else can do this for you. And no one is going to know what you need, you know, what you need. And it’s up to you to find a way to get that. And even if it’s tiny, start small, be okay with that, but take care of yourself because you are absolutely worth it.
Great. Thank you. And where can listeners find you?
The best place is moms who know podcast. You can listen to that anywhere where you listen to podcasts, or you can listen to that on my website, moms who know podcast.com.