There’s a lot of well-meaning productivity advice divorced moms get that, quite frankly, leaves them feeling more lost and misunderstood. Why? Much of this advice comes from people who don’t have children or who have a lot more support at home.
That’s why routines like the Miracle Morning just don’t work for most moms—especially most divorced moms. With many mothers already getting less sleep than what doctors recommend, any method that starts off with cutting your sleep further should raise an eyebrow.
Does any of this sound familiar? When constructing a morning routine for productivity, moms are told to wake up early, exercise, meditate, read a book, hydrate, eat a healthy breakfast, do a gratitude practice, plan their day, and get ready—all before the kids take over the house.
This advice is great for someone who either has a lot of help or who doesn’t have kids at all (and who actually wants to do all of those things first thing in the morning). But when this morning routine takes a minimum of two hours every day and you’re already trying to figure out how to cram everything in as is, this advice is simply unrealistic.
To be frank, I find this advice aggravating and cruel because it sends moms the message that no matter how hard they try, they’re the failure because a “productive” morning routine is something they “should” do and they can’t make it work.
Fortunately, there is another way. The point of this Miracle Morning-type advice is to help you make the most of your day. The good news is there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to productivity or success, and you can find the solution that works best for you during this phase of life.
Structuring your day as a divorced mom
The keys to getting the most out of your day are paying attention to when your energy is great, matching activities to your energy as best you can, and getting realistic about when your circumstances allow you to do certain activities.
Start by getting clear on how your energy typically works during each part of your day. Are you a morning person or does it take you a couple of cups of coffee to get going? Do you get the afternoon slump after lunch or is that actually when you get in your flow? Do you have a lot of energy on Monday and are zonked by Friday? Get clear on how your energy regularly operates.
Then, ask yourself what activities and tasks are a good match for those high-energy and dwindling-energy time periods. Just because everyone tells you to start your morning off with gratitude doesn’t mean you have to ignore that motivation you have to do something else. For example, if you feel motivated to work when you wake up, then feel free to work and save your gratitude practice for a before-bed exercise.
Similarly, if you keep blowing off working out in the morning, consider letting yourself do whatever you crave at that time, like prepping meals or reading the paper, and instead work out at lunchtime three days a week—which would actually help with that afternoon slump you may experience.
In short, work with your energy and motivation—not against it just because some male productivity expert with a spouse at home told you that’s how you have to operate to be successful.
Now, your childcare situation may not allow for you to fit the activities you want to fit into your best energy windows perfectly. And that’s okay. Just do the best you can, and tap into your creativity to make it happen versus trying to cram yourself into some rigid model someone else told you to follow.
Similarly, know that your energy levels and obviously your availability, because activities will shift with life phases. So, if something works for you for the next six months and then stops working, just rethink your energy and schedule to make a shift.
Pick the activities you want to do and fit them into your life where they most easily fit and match your energy. Also, start small—one at a time—and once you make these activities a practice, you can add in more. Or don’t! Which brings us to our next point…
There’s no such thing as failing
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for success or productivity. Just because someone else’s system or process didn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you. It simply means you haven’t found what works for you just yet. So if you find yourself struggling to stick to a routine or you’re doing well for a while only to get thrown off track, remember this is about you finding a way to make yourself feel good. It’s not about finding a reason to be disappointed in yourself. If something’s not making you feel good about yourself, stop.
In short, use Miracle Morning-type advice for inspiration for ideas or practices that you may enjoy. Incorporate what you want and what works for you, and discard the rest. Work with—not against—your energy and motivation to start your day and continue it with intention in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. Beware of anyone peddling a one-size-fits-all productivity/success formula, and tap into your creativity to find space for the activities that truly bring you joy.