Welcome to AM/PM, where Autostraddle team members share our morning and evening rituals.
Here are two truths about me: one, I do my best work from 8:30 am until about 1:00 pm. Two, I cannot work unless I’ve gotten all of the nervous need-to-move energy out of my body. Together these two things mean is that as soon as I’m out of bed in the morning, I don’t sit back down for at least two hours. What am I doing? Cleaning, mostly. Domesticity has a bad reputation, but homemaking, especially my morning routine, has made my life feel safer, happier, and cozier.
Around 6:00, I am awakened by the screams of one of my cats, Alexei. He is…obnoxious. I wake up, snuggle my love-deprived children, but do not get out of bed until around 6:45. I light a candle by my bed, go through a morning prayer and meditation ritual in bed, read something from the Bible, and then I get up.
I do my business and while I’m in the bathroom, I light a candle in there too for extra luxury, spray down the shower, hang up my rug, and clean off the bathroom sink area. I scoop all of of the litter boxes, vacuum the area around them, vacuum all the hardwood floors upstairs, and gather clothes that have accumulated all over my room and bathroom to put them in the washing machine (I start a load whenever it’s full).
I fill my cats’ water bowls and head downstairs to start coffee around 7:00. I also light another candle because I like lighting candles. While the coffee is brewing I fill my cats’ food bowls and either load or unload the dishwasher, depending on how much forethought I had the night before. Pro-tip, wash your dishes at night. Waking up to a clean kitchen is honestly? The most refreshing thing.
That’s what all of this is. My morning routine is a bunch of mindless tasks that make my house feel like a place where I can breathe. The goal of homemaking is to make your home a place where you and the people you love can feel comfortable. That’s what I’m doing.
After I finish the dishes, I eat breakfast and drink at least one too many cups of coffee, check the internet, and usually sweep the kitchen. Once I’m sufficiently caffeinated, I will probably smoke a bowl to be honest.
I get ready for the day around 7:40. I wear Certain-Dri because this state has reduced me to a sweaty mess, spray my hair with a mix of coconut oil, Hot Six oil, and water, and then wash my face with Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser (I’m obsessed). I don’t have a toner I love right now so I don’t use one (I KNOW). I moisturize with the Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer which I’ve done since I was 13 years old because I love the tingly feeling. I have had the same Oral-B electric toothbrush since I got braces in 3rd grade and I think that’s amazing. I just change the heads! I only use Colgate Total Advanced Whitening Toothpaste. Please do not bring Crest near these teeth. I take my meds with my first big glass of water each day.
I do my face/teeth/meds routine in my downstairs bathroom primarily because I have a plumbing issue with my upstairs sink and have had too much anxiety to file a maintenance request. But also it makes it easier to remember to wipe down the knobs, the mirror, and swipe the toilet.
By 8:15 most mornings, I have done a lot of housework without even thinking about it! And all those mindless tasks have calmed me down enough to be able to start my work day clear headed and ready to focus. I blow out my candles, smoke another bowl, and grab any bags of trash/cat litter and head out the door.
Domesticity is queer culture. It is taking a space, making it feel good for you, taking care of it, showing it love, and then letting that place show you love in return. I spend my mornings taking care of my house a little at a time, and in turn it’s a place where I and my guests feel free to be our whole selves.