Ashley Brown is the creator and owner of Routine and Things. She’s joining me today to talk about how to set up a nighttime routine, specifically if you have little kids or if you feel like nighttime is your only time to be productive. This conversation is so good and so helpful! Let’s jump in!
In This Episode Allie and Ashley Discuss:
Three steps for creating a nighttime routine
What to do when you feel like nighttime is the only time to be productive
Mentioned in this Episode:
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Mom life. We’re surrounded by the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. We’re supposed to get through it. Survive. Cling on by the last little thread. And at the same time, Carpe Diem—enjoy every moment because it’s going to go by so fast. The typical mom culture that sends us all kinds of mixed, typically negative messages. We shouldn’t take care of ourselves; it’s selfish. The more ragged you run yourself, the bigger your badge of honor. But also, ditch your mom bod and work out. Don’t yell. Make more money. Show up. Be better, but not at the expense of time with your kids. I am putting a hard stop to all of this. While being a mom, running a business, and whatever else you might have going on is hard, it is a lot and there’s lots of giving of yourself, the idea that motherhood means living a joyless, nonstop-hustle-with-zero-balance kind of life, where you give and give and give and never take, needs to stop.
I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime (at least most days). Stop the mom guilt and shame game. Stop cleaning up after your kids’ childhood and start being present for it. I want to help you thrive in work, home and life. I believe in John 10:10 that we are called to living an abundant life and I know moms are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, some business and life hacks, spirituality and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
Hi friends! Welcome to another episode of The Purpose Show podcast. Today we are diving into a question that I get asked basically every day and it’s about routines. We’re talking about a nighttime routine and even more specifically a nighttime routine that truly serves you.
I decided to bring someone else on for this episode. I’ve been following Ashley Brown for a few months on Instagram and noticing the way she speaks about routines and the way she teaches. I just really appreciate her.
She has a lot of different routines and resources on routines that really help moms. But I specifically noticed that her routines are not always rooted in just productivity for the sake of productivity. It’s very much about making sure that you, as the mom, are taken care of. Then creating routines that increase productivity from there.
That’s where I’m at, but it’s difficult for me to find other people who are about the same things. It’s always about getting everything done before the next day and that is just exhausting. You need to do that, but you also need to take care of yourself.
Ashley is the creator and owner of Routine and Things. She is a Southern girl who loves God, iced lattes, and Target. She’s a mom of two. She’s also a nurse educator and self-proclaimed routine queen.
I am so excited to have Ashley on the show today. Please give her a warm welcome. Take a screenshot of this episode. Tag us both on social media. We would love to see that you were listening.
We would also love to see your new nighttime routine if you want to share it with us. So journal, take some notes, plan it out, and let me see it when you’re done!
And if you feel so led, would you please go on iTunes and leave a review of The Purpose Show for me? Reviews fuel podcasters. It is literally make or break. So, so helpful.
I’m actually going to be doing a giveaway of a free course of your choosing for everyone who leaves a review on the podcast this month. Please go to iTunes, search ‘The Purpose Show’ or if you’re listening on iTunes, it’s very easy to find right now because you’re literally on it. Leave me a review. That would be so, so helpful.
I love you guys and I appreciate your words so much. Let’s welcome Ashley to The Purpose Show.
ALLIE: Hi Ashley. Thank you so much for joining me!
ASHLEY: Hi Allie! Thank you for having me. I’m so happy to be here.
ALLIE: Yeah. So happy to learn from you.
I want to talk to you today about everything routines, specifically nighttime routines and bedtime routines as it relates to moms with kids. And I think even specifically moms with younger kids. How old are your kids?
ASHLEY: My girls are 3 and 1, so they’re babies.
ALLIE: Okay. Yeah. My daughter Bella is turning 12 this weekend and then I’ve got a 10-year-old, an 8-year-old, and a 6-year-old.
They’re all just a little older and it gets easier and it gets different. They put themselves to bed. They know the routine. It just changes and gets so much easier in terms of routines.
I guess I have been out of that loop for a while. I’m not in that season where I need routines because everything is on me. The kids can carry themselves in a lot of ways, you know?
I want you to take the floor. Tell us all the things. I know from experience that bedtime routine is more important than anything else because it really sets up the day.
So, let’s focus mostly on that. I would love for you to teach us your ways. Teach us how you do it and how you make it simple for other moms.
ASHLEY: I love nighttime routines. You can call it a bedtime routine. That’s what I call it.
I think that it is such a beautiful thing to adopt in your life. I really feel like a bedtime routine is even more important than a morning routine. I know some people are going to be like, “What?!’
I really do feel that way because your bedtime really preps you for your morning. It really sets you up in a way so that in the morning you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Especially if you get a good night’s sleep, and having a bedtime routine can really do this.
I know that many people struggle with bedtime routines. I have heard from so many bedtime rebels about how they want to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep but they just feel like they need to stay up. I know for moms, specifically, certain things really hinder us from going to bed at a time that will allow us to get the amount of rest that we need for ourselves.
Like I said, I have daughters ages 3 and 1 and one factor that doesn’t play into my bedtime routine or affect my bedtime routine is my children going to bed late. But I know that this is something that really hinders other moms from getting to bed at a time they would like to and getting adequate sleep, because their children go to bed late.
If you’re listening right now and that’s the case for you, getting your children to bed earlier will help you to establish a bedtime routine where you can get enough rest and you can feel more refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning.
One way that I do that personally in my life is if I see they’re creeping into 8:00/8:30 (because they usually go to bed by 7:15/7:30 every night), I will get them back to 7:30 little by little. If I’m trying to get them back to 7:30 I’ll just inch back 15 minutes until I get back to that time every single night.
You can take it little by little. You don’t have to get them on a 7:30 schedule by next week. It can be over a month’s timeframe that you try to get them to an earlier bedtime. Don’t rush yourself in this process. But one thing that can really help you in establishing a really good bedtime routine is by getting your children to bed at an earlier time so that you have time for yourself.
Another thing that I noticed years ago is that I felt like nighttime was my time. Nighttime was the only time I got to be by myself. I would stay up late bingeing shows. I would stay up late doing things that I felt like I wasn’t able to do within my day or even within my week. There were certain times of the week where I would just stay up super late because I thought, “Oh, it’s my time and the children are asleep.”
But that can affect you, right? That really starts to wear you down once you continue to go to bed later and later and later and you’re not getting adequate rest. And so, can you try to carve out time for yourself to do things?
Whether that’s five minutes or fifteen minutes or an hour. Can you start to carve out time in your life to do things that take care of you so that you’re not waiting until the nighttime to actually do those things? That is a really huge thing for us as moms.
When it comes to your bedtime routine, I would say the first step of this is to really assess what’s going on. That’s the first and foremost step. What is the issue with your bedtime routine?
What is causing you to not go to bed at a certain time that you would like to? What’s causing you to not sleep well at night? What is the issue?
This is going to be really helpful. Because instead of you having to overhaul everything you’re doing at night, you can just assess what’s going wrong and then tweak what that is instead of having to create an entirely new routine, unless that’s something that you want to do.
I would say first assess your current bedtime routine. It’s fine for you to do things for yourself but if that is causing you to go to bed super late then maybe think about other times in your day that you could care for yourself, whether it’s 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or whatever.
Something that I would hear from a lot of moms is that they play catch up at night. Doing that at night would really hinder them from going to bed at a certain time. So if that’s the case, maybe even before you start your bedtime routine, you could start to think about, “What am I cleaning at night and how can I do this in a more effective and efficient way?”
Start with a cleaning routine, a kitchen routine, or something like that if you’re always late cleaning the kitchen. How can you do things in a more efficient, effective way so that you don’t feel as if nighttime is your cleaning time?
I know when I used to clean at night, I would be up for another hour because I’ve been pumping myself up. My heart is racing. My energy level is up. I wouldn’t go to bed at a decent hour because I’m cleaning at night.
ALLIE: Yeah, it’s like a workout.
ASHLEY: Exactly. It’s like a workout and we all know how that feels when you get yourself so pumped up you can’t even come down and it’s 11:00 pm.
Assessing your current routine is really, really important. That’s the first step. After that, it’s all about creating a routine for you.
I really feel like you have to create a routine that aligns with who you are. My routine is not going to look like your routine. Your routine is not going to look like your best friend’s routine because we are different people. It’s important that your routine fits who you are and your specific needs.
But I will say that there are three areas that you can consider when you are creating your bedtime routine: putting in actions that allow you to rest your mind, your body and your soul. I’m going to give you an example just from my personal routine.
My bedtime routine right now looks like this. I take a shower. I do my skincare. I journal. I pray. And then I meditate. Those are usually the five steps in my bedtime routine.
ALLIE: You’re bedroom routine is like enlightened!
ASHLEY: What I love about it is that it has those three components. It rests my mind, my body and my soul.
The shower is for my body. You can do so many things to rest your body. You can stretch with your bedtime routine. I know some people like to drink tea before they go to bed. That can rest your body in a way. In some type of way add an action in your routine that rests your body.
And then in terms of my mind, the reason why I have so many mental things in my routine like journaling and meditation is because I used to have really bad racing thoughts when I would go to sleep. My mind would just keep going and going and going.
Journaling for me has really been impactful for my life and meditation because it eases my mind and it gets my mind to slow down. So that’s why I do those two things.
ALLIE: I feel like the way that a lot of moms think about bedtime routine or any routine of any kind, really, is to be super productive. And I love that you’re saying that your bedtime routine is about you. It’s about your whole being.
It’s about your mental health, your emotional health, your physical health, and unwinding, and taking care of yourself. That time that you give yourself, you’re going to wake up and feel so much more energized and be so much more able to be an awesome mom, get work done, and be productive because you didn’t do that the night before. I love that.
ASHLEY: That’s the thing about this. It’s not so much about being productive. I think productivity is great, but I feel like we harp on it so much to the point where it’s even hard for us to rest as moms.
That’s something that I have struggled with for so long—being able to rest. I’m still trying to more and more and more factor rest into my day because I am so used to just getting things done. But I think rest is productivity to be perfectly honest.
I really love putting things that just relax my mind, my body and my soul. I’m a huge God girl, so that’s prayer for me, but it can be whatever helps you connect deeper to yourself. Something for your soul.
Something inward based. Which I think is so beautiful for you as a mom, because we can’t lose sight of ourselves. We need to always be reconnecting with ourselves on a daily basis because it can help us to experience more joy, more ease in life and be happier.
The second step is really just creating that routine.
The last and final step is to keep it going. Depending on how long you want to keep it going, your routine can be for a month, it can be for three months. It just depends on you and how your life looks. Sometimes you will need to revamp, but just keep it going.
I know that so many people struggle with maintaining routines, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. If you create your routine in a way that really meets you where you are, that is for your current lifestyle, that aligns with who you are and how you flow naturally, it’s going to be a little bit easier for you to maintain it.
But if you feel as if you are doing your routine and you have not been able to keep it up, or you’re not finding that you’re able to keep it up, then I feel like the following two things can be really helpful.
The first thing is to recognize what is stopping you from continuing your routine. One huge thing that I’ve found is that I will sometimes sabotage my own progress in ways that I now know but back then I didn’t realize.
If you’re seeing that you’re getting distracted, like by your phone (I’m raising my hand) when you are going to bed, that could be a way that you are sabotaging yourself in continuing your routine. Maybe think about ways you can disconnect from your phone before you go to bed. Start to think about those things that you do.
Even TV can be something that does this. I’ve just binged the whole season of Bridgerton in one night. It was ridiculous.
I went to bed at 2:00 AM. It was the weekend. It was so good and I’m glued to the TV, right?
That is a way that we can sabotage ourselves and hinder our progress if we are doing things that feel easy to us, but we know we have this other goal that we want to accomplish and to maintain. Think about the ways you sabotage your bedtime routine and start to call yourself out and fix that. That can be really helpful.
Then the second thing I want to say is that acknowledgement of your routine is really helpful as well. When you’re starting your routine, constantly acknowledge the benefit that your routine is adding to your life. What this does is it sends a message to your brain that this is important to you.
When your brain registers something as important to you, you are more likely to keep it going. So that can be a really huge, mental tool that you can use when it comes to you maintaining your routine. Those are really the three steps: assess your routine, create your routine, maintain it.
ALLIE: I hear from a lot of moms who just want things to get lighter and they’re just struggling because they’re working two or three jobs. They’re a single mom. They’ve got a spouse that’s working all the time. They’re so busy during the day that the evening is their only time to catch up or meal prep.
As an example, I had a mom the other day message me and tell me that she had a son with special needs and she had to make all this really crazy food for him and her evenings were all about cooking and meal prepping for him. She’s a lawyer so she’s working all day and she’s exhausted and the nighttime is her time that she has to do those things.
I mean, there’s delegation for sure, if it’s in your budget. But if it’s not, what do you say to people who the nighttime is when they get home and they have to catch up on the housework and they need that peace time. Where does it go? What would you say to that?
ASHLEY: That’s a really good question. I would say if the nighttime is your only time to get things done for your home, that’s perfectly fine. But can you carve out time for you in some type of way throughout your day?
That could be at night or even in the morning. But if that’s your only time and you’re like, “I need to do the laundry at nighttime,” can you in some type of way make that more efficient and effective?
How effective or efficient can you make that routine of meal prep? Can you do it in a way where it takes you two hours and you’re done? Use your instant pot, use your air fryer, and use those things that are really going to help you get those things done quicker and easier. Can you fix meals that are quick instead of meals that take a long time to cook?
Think about ways that you can make those things that you’re doing at night more efficient for you, so that you at least have time to wind down and really ease into your night and ease into your sleep. I know that for some women that is the case so I’m glad you brought that up because sometimes we can’t not do those things.
And I know sometimes I even have to do those things, but I’m always thinking, “Am I doing this in the most efficient way? Is there an easier way that I could be doing this that will give me back time in my night or time in my day?”
ALLIE: Yeah, that’s really good.
Sometimes we even have to have a little bit more of a long-term plan. With your current lifestyle ask yourself, “Is this even sustainable? Can I raise my kids for the entirety of me raising them like this? Can I go three years like this?”
Eventually, if you’ve got too much going on and you’re putting so much pressure on yourself, and every single night of the week you’re having to be productive when you were just productive for 10 hours during the day, I think that’s how people get sick and have those mental health issues.
I feel like if you’re not okay, try to have a longer term plan to come out of that. Get a different job. Hire a mommy’s helper or college student who can come over and help you or something.
Yes, routines for now, but you know sometimes I think we just overlook it and decide that we have to push through and it’s just not sustainable.
ASHLEY: Yeah. I totally agree. I totally agree. I think that you do have to ask that question of, “Is this sustainable?”
If you’re feeling like you are just pushing through that is a huge, huge red flag that maybe something needs to change in your life. And like you said, asking for help is huge for us as moms. It takes a village for us to raise our children and it’s really important that we don’t shy away from that.
A lot of us will just not ask for help or we feel like we can’t outsource, even though we might have the money. We feel like, “Oh no, I should be able to do this.”
If you’re able to, either delegate, ask for help, or outsource. Do those things that are going to be really beneficial for you. And even just family too.
Many of us have family around that we don’t utilize and they are there waiting and are happy to help. We will continue to do things and be in that same unhealthy routine of doing everything ourselves, instead of actually bringing in a healthy routine where we are asking for help and getting assistance with what we need.
ALLIE: Yeah, absolutely.
Okay, if we get an established bedtime routine and that’s feeling good, what does your morning look like? Because your bedtime routine is so peaceful, I feel like it’s just life-giving, what is your morning like? Do you get up early and get productive right away? What does that look like for you?
ASHLEY: Let me describe what type of person I am. I’m a morning person, but I’m like a 9:00 a.m. morning person. I have to ease into my morning, little by little.
Even my husband will tell you, “Don’t talk to Ashley at a certain time in the morning,” because I’m probably going to look at you with a really crazy looking face. That’s how I am, because I have to ease into it.
So my morning routine is really me getting up and I’m still super tired. I will sit up. I will raise my shades because I have a window right by my bed. I’ll raise the shades and look outside.
My daughters are starting to wake up. I leave them there. They’re starting to wake up and make their little noises because I do not get up earlier than my girls, except sometimes. But most of the time I do not get up way earlier than them but by maybe 10 minutes.
What I’ve been doing currently though, which has been really beautiful, is I’ve been meditating in the morning. I’ve been meditating in the morning and that might be while they’re making their little noise, singing their little song, whatever they’re doing and I’m just listening to it, trying to get my mind and my body woken up.
I will squeeze myself in the morning to wake my body up. I’m that type of person where I need a lot of stimulation to get me up in the morning.
My morning routine doesn’t really look like much. It’s really just that. Trying to get my mind stimulated with meditation. I will pray in the morning, give myself a massage, stretch a little bit and that’s really it.
Then I’d go ahead and get to the bathroom and start brushing my teeth, washing my face. That’s how I start my morning. I don’t need to do a lot in the morning.
Once I start work though, that’s when I really have a work routine and that’s when I start planning my day and things like that. My morning routine is very basic. Very simple.
ALLIE: Yeah. Mine is similar. I don’t know why, but I just thought you were gonna say a bunch of ‘jump right into it’ things.
But yeah, you’re right. I’m a morning person, but I’m like a 9:00 a.m. morning person too. I get going and I need to wake up slow. I need to enjoy my coffee and connect with God.
I do a grounding meditation in the morning. And then once I get up and get going though, I’m a fireball all day. My work routine, my homeschool routine with my kids, my day is strong.
That’s so interesting. I love that you kind of begin the day with what feels good, what brings you peace and then you’re productive in the middle.
ASHLEY: Yes, that’s me for sure.
ALLIE: This feels very doable and very simple.
I know that there are so many resources that you have created for these women, for moms that need help. I feel like you help people get specific for their lives and help them create their own routines. Is there a resource that you want to share or somewhere you want to send listeners to connect with you and work with you?
You’re so good at that and everything on your site feels very, very life-giving. So tell us all about what you do and how they can get help from you.
ASHLEY: Yes. Everything is at routineandthings.com. We have products there that can help you with different types of routines—children, cleaning, cooking, planning routines, et cetera.
But then also I have a really great workbook. It’s called The Rock Your Routine Workbook, and this will help you create a routine step-by-step that aligns with you and flows with your natural rhythm. It really meets your specific needs for the current season of life that you are in. So that’s really great.
And I do workshops from time to time as well. Maybe you might be going on the site at a time where I’m doing a workshop and if so, that’s a really beautiful experience because you get hands on with me.
You’re able to ask me questions. You’re able to dive into and create your routine while you’re in the workshop. So those are things that I do as well.
So, if you’re looking for anything routine-specific, routineandthings.com is definitely where you can find those things. I’m all about helping you create routines for you, not for anybody else, but for you. For your family specifically.
ALLIE: You are amazing. Thank you for the way that you speak. I think a lot of times we do over complicate planning our days and our routines, but you just speak to the point and you have this air about you that makes it feel like, “Oh, even if things are crazy, even if I’m running a business and I have all these kids, or I’m working all day and then I have to meal prep at night, it’s okay. Everything will be figured out.”
I really love that about you. Thank you.
ASHLEY: Thank you so much, Allie.
I do want to share if you want to follow more with me and get to know me more, because I would love to get to know any of you more, you can follow me at routineandthings on Instagram. I am there. I’m always there for you. You can pop into my DM’s.
I’m here to support you in any way that you need, especially when it involves getting your routines together for your life. Because you’re doing the best you can as a mom and I want for you to understand that and to know that. And if you want to improve your life, you have the power to do that. I’m here to help you with that.
ALLIE: I love that so much. Thank you for your time. We will link to all your resources and I need to bring you on the Facebook community for a live stream or something. You are amazing.
ASHLEY: Thank you so much. Definitely make sure to reach out because I am here.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me! In case you didn’t know, there’s actually an exclusive community that’s been created solely for the purpose of continuing discussions around The Purpose Show episodes. It’s designed to get you to actually take action and make the positive changes that we talk about here. I want you to go and be a part of it. To do that, go to alliecasazza.com/facebookgroup.
Thank you so much for tuning in! If you’d like to learn more about me, how I can help you, how you can implement all these things and more into your life to make it simpler, better, and more abundant, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, online courses, programs, and other resources to help you create the life you really want.
I am always rooting for you, friend! See you next time! I’m Allie Casazza and this is The Purpose Show.
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