May 8, 2023

The demands of a morning routine

 I recently happened to learn about the morning routine of a famous male motivational speaker. It went like this:

"I wake up at 4:30 AM, drink a glass of warm water, meditate for 30 minutes, read for 30 minutes, step out for my tennis practice for the next 1 hour, come home and get ready, have breakfast, read newspapers and hit my home office at 9:30 AM"

It would certainly be a different version of a morning routine if it were told from the voice of a woman, more so by a mother.

The first thing most mothers do as soon as they wake up is to directly step into the kitchen and prepare breakfast and lunch, along with tea/coffee or other morning drinks as needed.

As the family size increases, more work gets added to meet the varied food demands of everyone.

For some (like me), we can't just hit the pedal as soon as we wake up. We prefer to have a few minutes for ourselves and then get started with our daily responsibilities.

If there are young kids who go to school, it is also up to the mothers to wake them up gently by cuddling, having a soft chit-chat and getting them ready before the school bus/van arrives. This routine by itself takes a good amount of time and can't be rushed.

Along with these tasks, there is also laundry work, cleaning after cooking, packing lunch boxes and all those tiny little tasks that can't be ignored.

As part of self-care routines, mothers also try to sneak in their exercise schedule - a quick run / Yoga practice / visit to the nearby gym. Since the exercise schedule is best done on an empty stomach and before other priorities claim our time, most of us see to it that the exercise routine is done and dusted in the morning hours.

Now that Vitamin-D deficiency is rising, we also try to get our daily dose of morning sunlight.

If the mother also works for an employer and had to go to a physical office location, it adds even more complexity to the whole morning routine. To beat the traffic, compromises are made, self-care routines are skipped and tasks get rushed.

These are not exaggerations, but the common reality as seen in most urban Indian households.

Many mothers are doing a brilliant job of managing these challenges through proper planning, waking up early, maintaining a regular schedule and most importantly, having a clear understanding of their priorities. But not every day is the same and not all mothers are robots who can execute at the same efficiency all days of the year.

Unexpected health issues of self or other family members, weather conditions, unpredictable traffic that leads to school bus delays and many other factors can derail a well-planned morning routine.

Morning routines are crucial as it sets the tone of the day. At the same time, let's not get too fixated on sticking to our morning routines. Let's accept that there are days when things don't go as per our plan. Let's be compassionate towards ourselves and not get into self-criticism mode.

P.S. Thoughts and reflections from last Fri when I woke up at 8:30 AM after a migraine attack the previous night.

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