I posted a rant recently on Instagram about how productive moms are. It’s a superpower that comes with the job, it seems.
It makes sense: at all times, you are in charge of multiple tiny humans whose very lives depend on you being on your game. You have a limited number of hours each day to keep everyone afloat. At a certain point, moms just have to rise above normal levels of productivity and become robots. I don’t make the rules.
Anyway, the rant–which Tyler said came off braggy but I think every mom out there agrees with me–got me thinking.
My own productivity hinges on my daily routines: little “rituals” and disciplines that make each day feel special and important but (more importantly) center me.
I’ve talked a lot about my morning routine being the absolute crux on which my day’s success hinges.
What I haven’t talked about very much is my nighttime routine. And I’m not talking about my nighttime skincare routine, although it is a brief bullet on this list and if you want more info you can read about that here. No, the purpose of today’s post is all about the hours between 8:30pm and 10:30pm, which basically look the exact same each evening.
I read somewhere that the key to a successful morning is a regimented evening, and that always stuck with me. The idea here is that you get your “act together” each evening to ensure a couple of things: that you get a good night’s sleep and that you wake up with all your ducks in a row, so to speak, ready to tackle your morning routine.
Now, if this sounds borderline militant/sociopathic to you, I agree, but hear me out: if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my twenties, it’s that a consistent routine is the key to freedom. Discipline allows you to be creative and clear-headed because you’ve built in the practices that serve your body and brain on a daily basis.
There’s a reason the most successful people in the world keep to a regimented daily routine, and I believe that this concept applies to us “normals” too. Being a mom is hard! The greatest gift I can give myself AND my kids is a consistent routine, one that allows me to be present and mindful throughout the day.
And although any mother in the world knows that it’s anything but that, I think it’s a helpful mindset switch.
If I know that I need to be “on” from the hours of 7am-7pm (or later if I have a newborn!), I can plan my evenings and mornings around that. I can use the evening to recharge and get my life in order and the mornings to get centered and in a good head space for the day ahead. I am a completely different mom and person since I’ve implemented this concept.
As someone who takes a LONG time to fall asleep at night, a lot of the stuff on this list is geared towards helping me wind down naturally. Good sleep is imperative, and I need all the help I can get.
And while this post seems geared towards moms/stay-at-home-moms because that’s what I am, there’s value in the concept for everyone, I believe. I think of the messy way I used to live in college and when I was first starting out in the working world– it gives me the heebie-jeebies, lol. A consistent daily routine would have made a night-and-day difference.
And, OF COURSE, this routine doesn’t happen sometimes. As with everything in life, we do our best and let it go when we can’t make it happen.
There I go again with another rant, lol.
Tyler and I usually wait to eat dinner until we get the girls down. And I know, okay, we are supposed to eat dinner as a family. I hear you. But frankly, feeding the girls dinner is chaotic enough as it is. It sounds nice to sit down and eat as a family, but when it comes down to it, I’d rather just focus on them and then be able to eat my food in peace once they go down for the night. I know we should work on this–maybe a goal for next year?
We usually get the girls down by 7:15pm or so and then eat dinner and watch a show together. It’s cozy and fun and one of my favorite parts of the day.
BUT. We try to turn the TV off by 8:30pm at the latest. If we wait any later to get off the couch, the rest of this list is moot. Untenable. For a while, I remember setting an alarm to remind us to get moving but now we kind of just naturally know when it’s time to cut ourselves off.
I try to pick up the house while the girls are in the bath, maniacally buzzing around the house like a cartoon character or something. But sometimes, that doesn’t happen, so I’ll tidy up while Tyler washes the dishes after dinner. I, unsurprisingly, love to wake up to a clean house. It just sets the tone for the day, what can I say?
Next is–you guessed it–my skincare routine. I wrote all about that here so I’ll spare you the details today. Check out this post for my product lineup.
This may sound strange, but I like to rinse my feet off at night, lol. I’ll do this only if I don’t need to take a full shower because I’ve taken one earlier in the day. But no matter what, I need my feet to be clean when I get into bed. SUE ME.
(Yeah, reading that back, it sounds insane, but I’m gonna leave it in because I want to paint a full picture).
After I’m all oiled up, I lay backwards in bed and put my feet up on the wall (another reason to have clean feet!).
I first learned about this little ritual in college. I had flown to China for this summer mission program–my very first overseas flight–and my feet swelled up like CRAZY. And I couldn’t get my shoes on, lol, and I was horrified. My roommate, who was a wealth of knowledge and an instant role model to me, taught me to lay down with my feet up on a wall to get the blood flowing. It worked almost instantly. I incorporated the practice into my travel routine, and in recent years, I’ve started doing it almost every night.
This “inversion” pose promotes circulation and helps release tension in your back, neck, and legs. Like drinking a huge glass of lemon-and-pink-salt water or taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood, putting your legs up for 20 minutes is one of those instant destressors, an easy tactic to employ when you need to center yourself.
I like to do this each night while I’m reading (more on that below) because it helps my body relax and unwind before I go to sleep.
As with any health practice, do your own research, but this article lays out the basics if you’re interested in the science behind this practice.
Is there anything more cozy than a mug of tea in bed at night? Tyler and I have had tea in bed together nearly every night of our marriage. My favorite is this cinnamon/cardamon one, and Tyler likes this elderberry lemon balm one.
We always add a spoonful of magnesium powder too. Magnesium is known to reduce muscle tension, aid in digestion, and promote relaxation. It’s a very important mineral that most of us are deficient in, I’ve learned.
The past few months, we’ve been using this Magnesi-Om powder from Moon Juice. I like this formula because it contains three types of magnesium as well as L-Theanine. I’ve noticed my sleep has improved a ton since using this brand–it’s kind of like melatonin but without the buck-wild dreams.This powder is berry flavored and tastes SO good with my cinnamon tea. Just trust me.
I get questions a lot about how I read so much. And I think this post answers that in a roundabout way. I have my whole night set up to give me a lot of time to read before it’s time to go to sleep. I end up reading for an hour (or longer) every night which is how I get through so many books.
My new thing is that I read one chapter of nonfiction before I dive into whatever fiction book I’m reading. Just one! I find that this helps me synthesize the information better than reading a bunch of chapters at once anyway.
This is hard, but I TRY to stay off of my phone at night. Once I’m in bed, I plug it in on the side of my nightstand–this makes it more of a nuisance to reach back and access it, so I only do so if I really feel compelled to check IG one last time.
The research is clear: blue light impairs our sleep, so I try to limit screens as much as possible once I’ve begun my “wind down.” Some nights are harder than others, of course, like if I’m wrapping up my newsletter or a blog post, etc., but I do my best.
It’s a pre-weekend pick me up: just a little note with links to the latest blog posts, what I’m reading lately, and products I’m obsessed with. Think of it as a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning--you know?