A few days ago Forbes.com ran an article with the eye-catching headline, “The Morning Routines of 12 Women Leaders.” The point of the piece was to show the not-so-famous women of America how the more-famous women of America kick off their days with routine as a way to reduce stress. As I began to read, I thought, “Great! I could definitely learn something to improve my morning routine.”
Eh, it didn’t quite work out.
As I read about the various CEOs and TV personalities, I found myself feeling … worse. As in—more stressed out. The accounts of their mornings didn’t feel real, and they didn’t read like any women I know who have busy careers. Well, except for two or three (In full disclosure, Sharon Epperson is a good friend, and her morning sounded just right).
The more I read, the more it dawned on me that this article exemplified the exact reason so many women hate so many other women. Stay-at-home moms judge working moms (and visa versa). Women working the grind judge highly successful CEO women.
Many of the successful women profiled in the article seem to take a certain sadistic pleasure in displaying how absolutely amazing they are. I mean, they’re able to juggle all elements of their busy careers while still making time for highly specialized yoga, green smoothies, and working out seven days a week.
At 4:45 am, one woman says she does, “an hour or so of third or fourth series ashtanga yoga.” By 6 she’s prepared her kids their breakfast of green milk—made from almond milk with coconut water, banana and steamed baby spinach. Another healthy leader makes her fair trade coffee and has a vegan Zen Bakery muffin. Bravo!
Two other women start the morning with prayer and intentions for their day. Among the many who have time to work out seven days a week, one heads down to the home gym for an exercise session while watching Squawk Box (I didn’t know what this was. So I looked it up. As stated on the Squawk Box webpage “Squawk Box is the ultimate ‘pre-market’ morning news and talk program, where the biggest names in business and politics tell their most important stories.” Now you know.)
Another leader wakes at 6:43, doesn’t snooze but has time to “pull on John Eshaya sweatpants and clogs.” Those sweats cost $110. Glad she got the plug in.
You know what I was hoping for? Truly hoping for? Humanity and humility. I get that the article was prepped to show how their morning routines reduce stress and set them on the course to be successful. But real-life demands—such as tired and overworked parents, a toddler temper tantrum, a sick dog, a misplaced permission slip, or a late babysitter—usually set the stage for a much different routine.
So in response to this piece, I would like to start a new trend. Every woman (leader or otherwise) should write their real morning routine, warts and all.
Here is my morning routine …
• 6:40—Alarm goes off. Snooze
• 6:48—Alarm goes and I begrudgingly get up. I am not a morning person (although I would like to be)
• 7:00—I head downstairs in my husband’s free running shirt from a long-ago race and the free sweatpants my mom got five years ago on Virgin airlines.
• 7:03—Make the first of many cups of tea for the morning while also checking my email and Facebook.
• 7:05—I yell up to remind the kids they are late (This happens almost every morning).
• 7:08—I put a bowl and spoon in my daughter’s spot for her several bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios. I make a plate of whole-wheat waffles, berries, and juice for my son.
• 7:10—I make a predictable lunch of cheese, bread, granola bar, and dried apples for my daughter and a healthy lunch and snack for my son. Inevitable complaints ensue.
• 7:15—I ask the husband if he can take the dog out because I’m lazy and it is a little chilly in the morning. He complains, but ultimately does so.
• 7:25—I rush my son to finish his breakfast so he can use the bathroom before we leave the house.
• 7:28—I run around the house barking questions and orders. “Did you refill your water bottle?” “Pick up your dirty socks and put them in the laundry!” “Do you have your gym shorts?” “Get your shoes on!”
• 7:33—My husband takes my son to school. As they leave we realize they are running late again and we will probably get that call from the principal telling us our son was not in line on time.
• 7:45—I put on my very worn clogs and drive my daughter to the school bus in my pajamas that almost look like regular clothes but, well, aren’t.
• 7:55—I sit down with what is probably my fourth cup of tea, eat a roll from Costco with my favorite almond butter with maple and begin my workday.
It’s weird how Forbes didn’t give me a call.
What is your morning like? Share your morning on Facebook, Twitter, your blog or tell a friend.