I ran across this article on Business Insider on the routine of an HSBC bank executive. She gets up at 5:30 and has a very prioritized routine. I know it inspired a lot of people who read it.

It made me think, I too live a charmed life. While I’m not an executive investor on the west coast, I thought I’d share a little of my morning routine, picking one morning at random from last week. It’s intentional steps like the ones I take every morning that lead me to success. Maybe it’ll inspire you too!

1:40 AM - Change Ford’s (our three month old) diaper and hand him to my wife to eat.

He has been sleeping through the night but decided to grace us with his presence. Sweet little surprises like that really help get the day going.

4:15 AM - Go in and rock Ford with a pacifier in his mouth

He really missed us. Since he had literally just eaten not that long ago, we knew he wasn’t hungry. Ford furiously chewed on his pacifier while I listened to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. It takes about an hour but the combination of a pacifier and an NPR show eventually lull the little guy back to sleep.

5:15 AM - Go downstairs and make coffee

Because at this point, there’s really no reason to go back to bed. I open up the can of Kirkland’s dark roast coffee and scoop the aromatic grounds of deliciousness into a coffee filter. Sure, I could do a french press and have a “better quality” coffee morning. And it would certainly make for a better Instagram photo. But there’s something oddly satisfying about hitting a button and watching coffee appear. Plus I don’t want to wake up the sleeping kiddos with a coffee grinder.

5:25 AM - Unload the dishwasher

Because it needs to be done and I want to fill the time somehow waiting on the coffee to brew

5:30 AM - Go into Campbell (our two year old)’s room because she’s crying and I think something is wrong

There’s nothing wrong. But now she’s up.

5:35 AM - Greet my wife who comes downstairs and looks perplexed as to why Campbell is awake

Cam usually sleeps until at least 7, which is why it was a surprise to see her sitting at the counter eating eggs and watching “The Wheels on the Bus” so early in the morning. I just hand her a cup of coffee and shrug. We at least have coffee going for us.

6:30 AM - Ford wakes up raging.

He’s legit hungry. Good news is Megan has a bottle waiting for him. We were ready. Also somewhere in this hour we both get showers and ready for the day. I think. I really just assumed we bathed at some point.

6:31 AM - I reassure Campbell that I’m just going upstairs to get her baby brother and that she will be totally okay eating breakfast and watching TV without me for the next 45 seconds

6:45 AM - Megan and I realize it’s picture day at daycare

I’m holding Ford as we stand in front of the closet deciding what Cam and Ford should wear for pictures. Really, Megan is making the decision and I’m holding Ford because I’m not sure what else to do. I feel a strange warmth on my hand and inform Megan that I need to take Ford back upstairs to his room. Also that I likely need to find him an alternative outfit for picture day now.

6:50 AM - I realize that Ford’s not done mid-diaper change

I also contemplate throwing away a changing pad cover.

6:57 AM - Megan and I do our best NASCAR pit crew impersonation

This whole period of time is kind of a blur. Likely some combination of Megan and I tagging in and out with the each kid depending on the need of the moment and simultaneously getting ourselves ready. Also trading off yelling at the cat for chewing a phone charger cord and telling the dog to quit licking the baby’s toes.

7:45 AM - Get the kids’ coats on and put Ford in his car seat

Campbell is actually a great big sister and does a good job soothing her brother as I get the diaper bags packed.

7:47 AM - Go change my shirt again because the baby spit up.

7:50 AM - Take the kids to daycare.

I get Campbell to help me drop off her brother in his room because she’s a protective big sister and she feels like the only person qualified to take care of Ford is her.

8 AM - Catch up with family and friends

I don’t love commuting to Buckhead but it does give me time to catch up with family on the phone. That’s something me and that HSBC exec do have in common.

9 - 5 Work

5 PM - Drive home and catch up on a few podcasts

Mike Rowe’s “The Way I Heard It” is becoming a favorite of mine. That and Stuff You Should Know are great podcasts for learning random things - which I love doing. As an Enneagram 5, two things I love are quiet times and learning. The car ride home gives me a slice of both.

6 PM - Walk into the house and jump in helping Megan with the kiddos

Convincing Campbell that there are more things in life worth eating that blocks of cheese and sausage, taking terms bouncing Ford and fending away our dog from trying to take Campbell’s dinner.

6:45 PM - Negotiate bath time with a two year old

This is a two year old who truly believes that baths and bedtime are an overrated experience. Megan successfully sways Cam’s thinking into bath time being really fun. I don’t know how she does it. My wife is a magician.

7:20 PM - Read an assortment of books with Campbell

Our literature ranges from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to The Little Engine that Could to The Tickle Monster. We also take the pages to learn how to count, do our alphabet and learn colors.

7:45 PM - Dinner

Megan has likely pulled together something delicious and we take turns handing Ford back and forth to each other while we eat.

8:15 - Watch The Great British Baking Show

There’s nothing more soothing than this show. It’s a great way to unwind. We also eat chocolate chips straight out of the bag and drink milk while we watch it because we’re awesome.

9 PM - Bed

We swaddle up the baby, put him down, then go to sleep, praying for him to sleep until at least 6 this time.

Wrapping Up

Okay, so maybe this routine isn’t as Instagram-friendly as an HSBC exec’s is. It probably won’t grace any Medium posts or go viral. You probably won’t see any “Lessons Learned from this Middle Manager’s Morning Routine” listicles any time soon.

But it’s a real life. Our lives as a family of four. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.