I thrive on routines. Some people are able to just go with the flow and are okay with checking things off of their to do list whenever they get the chance. I am not one of those people. One of the things I’ve missed while on mat leave is following a set schedule and having structure in my life. Before I became a Mom, I had this idea in my head of how things would go but much like all new parents, I was naive. I thought that nap times would give me plenty of time to get things done – it doesn’t and I thought that my child would stick to a routine – she hasn’t. My daughter totally runs the house and operates according to her own agenda which leaves me feeling zero sense of control. Letting go of that control has been a real challenge and I’ve had to learn to relax. My biggest struggle with easing up on day time schedules is finding the time to get things done. On most days I feel like I’ve done so much yet have accomplished absolutely nothing. It never seem to fail that whenever I’m in a groove or in the middle of crushing my goals, my daughter decides to act up or wakes up early from a nap leaving me with no choice but to abort my mission. I often postpone my goals and plans for the weekend when my husbands home but those plans are often overshadowed by feelings of guilt. In my search for finding balance (if such a thing even exists) I’ve been sticking to a night time routine. This night time routine has allowed me to set time aside for myself, accomplish my goals and sets me up for a positive morning ahead.
Before we get started, I want to mention that it has taken me some time to get to this point in having a night time routine. When my daughter was first born, I was in bed by 6 pm, rarely made dinner (so there weren’t many dishes to clean), my house was a disaster and I was basically a semi functioning zombie. Those first few months of motherhood were a whirlwind and it’s taken me some time to get to this point of having some sort of night time routine. Now that my daughter is older I’ve developed this routine with three simple tasks and as someone who loves following a schedule – this has been very helpful for me. I’ve chosen to use the night hours to my advantage as I know that I have more time to accomplish my goals once my daughter is asleep. Remember that my daughter is still young and goes to bed early (7 pm) so this is my routine at the moment. As she grows older and goes to bed later, I know that this routine will have to be tweaked a bit. But as of right now, this is what works for me and my family and I hope you will find it useful too!
3. Me Time
Once I’ve put my daughter to sleep or before I go to bed, I give myself a pamper session. This looks different every night, but I always make sure to take at least 15 minutes to myself. I’ll either shower and put in a special hair treatment or lay in bed and put on a face mask. Whatever it is – it’s a moment of peace and quiet and my husband knows not to disturb me during this time. With a baby who is always on the go, I feel absolutely exhausted by the time 3 pm rolls around and my body and skin show it. I also don’t have a lot of extra money floating around for weekly manicures, facials or blow drys, so an at home mini spa is perfect for anyone on a budget. Pampering myself with something special relaxes me, makes me look alive and truly does make me feel better! Take some time to do something that you enjoy whether that be exercising, watching an episode of your favourite show, putting on a face mask or writing in your journal.. whatever it is.. take time for yourself!
2. Meal Prep
I’m still on mat leave so I don’t have to worry about making myself a lunch for work or to prepare dinner ahead of time just yet. But, when I do return to work, planning out my meals will be a huge help so that I’m not frantically rushing to find something to make for dinner. Making lunches and prepping dinner in the morning is way too hectic so doing this at night is best. I usually take out meat from the freezer for the next days dinner, put everything together in the crock pot if I’m making a slow cooker meal (still a little nervous to use it after watching This is Us though), cut and wash veggies and pack my lunch so that I can easily grab it and go in the morning. As a part of my night time routine, I also make sure that my Keurig is set up for my morning coffee and that my daughters morning bottle is prepped and ready to be warmed for when she wakes up. Doing little things like this at night will help ease your already busy morning! They might seem like little tasks and it may even seem like a waste of time to wash and cut your broccoli the night before, but when dinner time comes, I guarantee that you’ll be happy you got that out of the way! If the thought of prepping dinner the night before sound like a big mess, why not prep a few things in the evening when you’re already in the kitchen putting your current dinner together. Chances are the kitchen is already a mess and you’re probably waiting for something to cook. So why not take that as an opportunity to chop up some extra fruit and veg or add something extra in the oven/stove top
As if our mornings aren’t busy enough, the last thing I want to do is wake up to a pile of dirty dishes in the sink or to have to put dishes away that were left on the drying rack. Our mornings are often unpredictable so waking up to a clean home is refreshing and gives you the opportunity to put your energy and time elsewhere in the morning! I won’t go to bed until every dish and toy has been put away, my counters are wiped down and sometimes I’ll even make sure that my floors are swept. This might sound a little obsessive to some of you, but believe me when I tell you that it sets me up for a positive morning. It has made such a difference and I look forward to waking up early so that I can enjoy a clean home. It’s also very satisfying to know that your house was tidy for longer than an minute because let’s be honest… kids can destroy your house in .5 seconds!! So tidy the house at night and wake up to a spotless home with one less thing to worry about in the morning!!
By setting time aside to complete these three things, I have a sense of accomplishment and love that I can follow a routine without any interruptions. Some nights are a little longer than others but for the most part, I’m in bed by 9:30 pm at the latest and can rest easy knowing that I’ve taken some time for myself and that my house is tidy and ready for my crazy morning ahead.