The Reason You DON'T Need a Morning Routine

Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Every blog post, article, or magazine out there touts how self-care should absolutely include getting up early and having a 'morning routine' that includes things like getting up earlier, doing some journaling, getting in a workout, meditating. I admire the ambition of this, but honestly...does life work out like this for most moms? It hasn't really for me. Here's why I gave up on a morning routine, and you may want to as well.

{Photo credit: Devin Avery,}

The Myth of Having a Quiet 'Pre-Morning'

I have four kids. That's a lot to be outnumbered by. Granted, the oldest doesn't live at home anymore, she's in college. But the other three are middle school age and younger.

That means three different circadian clocks that may or may not be up when I'm up. Or that may or may not wake up when they hear the creak of me trying to sneak past their room first thing in the morning.

This means that I'm never truly alone with this mythical 'morning quietness and bliss' to do whatever I want. Any type of meditation would include a 7-year-old walking the entire bottom floor of our house trying to talk to anything she thinks she may get an answer out of. She literally makes noise just to hear herself make noise.

Those Darn Needy Animals. And People.

The second issue, apart from the kids, is the cat that loses his mind any time he sees movement inside first thing in the mornings. He just won't stop. He's not hungry. He wants somebody's attention.

The dog is just as bad, she has to shake and groan and make this weird high-pitched wale when she yawns. But they're animals--they don't get that meditation requires quiet.

The third thing is my husband. God love him, he can't sleep. Ever. But he won't get out of bed until I get up and attempt to have a morning routine alone. That's his internal 'cue' to come talk to me while I'm in the middle of something.

I know it sounds like I'm complaining, but I'm really not. I've just learned that being the mom means I have a lot of stuff and people revolving around me. And in my own words to my pre-hormonal 11-year old, "perception depends on you, and you should take the chance to be thankful when you get down on yourself".

(Thanks, Wise Me.)

The Question to Ask: Does My Energy Level Support This?

I've learned through the years to pay attention to my own energy levels throughout the day. Not just the physical ones, but also the mental ones. I've never been an early bird, nor have I felt 'able' to get up on my own. (I actually do have a legit cortisol problem, but that's a different story).

So when I wake up and finally get coffee, I feel like my mental energy is super strong from that point until about 10 am. Physically I could make myself do a workout whenever. But since I need a boost around 2-3 pm (good ole' cortisol bottoming out again), I use that time to do a workout and get a snack.

As far as meditation or journaling, I feel slower after lunch, so I meditate to clear my mind to get going for another work burst right after eating around noon. Journaling gets reserved for right before bed. And I don't actually journal every night.

{Photo credit: Fotografierende,}

I save that for when my mind is super active or I'm upset about something. I know that sounds silly, but I think through things I'm grateful for and don't feel the need to write every little thing down.

But writing things out seems to help me work out things that are troubling me. That's when I journal before bed.

Does Your Sleep Type Support a 'Morning Routine'?

And lastly, a super important part of even bothering with an official 'morning routine' is actually thinking through your sleep type. The proverbial early bird is up before everyone else, but as mentioned before--this may not guarantee a quiet time in the morning for a routine, although it does give a better chance of it happening.

Night owls seem to be shifted to earlier birds once having kids, but some people still stay up later and get up when the house comes alive in the morning instead of getting to sleep in a little. Being exhausted from too little sleep does not lend to a productive morning routine.

And the middle birds (like me) that don't naturally stay up late or get up early probably will struggle with the earlier times as well.

So I think the better question is: Does your life season support a morning routine? If your kids are older and you can get that peace first thing in the morning, maybe you do create a morning routine. If not, I think it's putting a lot of pressure on working moms to say that they need one when it may be near impossible to create the environment that would support a peaceful and productive mind-set in this way.

All that being said, I don't feel bad for not having an official 'morning routine'. I think the main point of suggesting or trying it is to make sure you're making the habit of self-care in some way every day:

  • Exercise
  • Take time to eat healthy
  • Clear your mind
  • Grow your mind
  • Grow your patience

But do it the way that fits your life and your energy through the day. Otherwise, if you're constantly fighting to fit those things into what some writer that doesn't even know your life has deemed 'the answer' to you having self-care daily, whose self-care is it really?

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My mission is to always find the magic middle where healthy + efficient merge. As a nutrition specialist and certified health coach with a master of science in nutrition, I firmly believe in nourishing the body, mind, and spirit with proper food, rest, movement, and stress management. My mission is to teach people how those CORE 4 things work together, how to do them on the daily, then put them on autopilot.

Montgomery, TX

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