The FIRST STEP in taking back control of your life starts, quite literally, with your first step of the day… Your first step out of bed.
Are your mornings typically a time to grab a cup of coffee, review your plan for the day, and spend some rejuvenating time in God’s word? Or are they harried, blurry-eyed, must-please-the-starving-and-demanding-toddler mornings with no semblance of peace or order?
I’ll be honest. These past few months, while I’ve been sick in the mornings, have been filled with more of the latter. It’s been enough to remind me that having a bad start to the day makes having a bad day much more likely. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible to have a good day with a rough start. It just means you’re starting off at a disadvantage. After all, it’s much easier to MAINTAIN a peaceful, joyful, and prepared attitude than it is to REGAIN it once it’s been lost.
FIRST NEW LIFE RESOLUTION: Wake Up Before the Kids Do
How much before? Well, it depends on a combination of factors.
When do your little ones wake up?
If they’re already waking up at dawn and you’re not naturally a morning person anyway, perhaps a 10-minute head-start might be enough to read through a few psalms, look over your to-do-list, and get your heart and head prepared for the day.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that most kids can be trained to sleep in later than dawn if you want them to. We rely on a combination of thick bedroom curtains and consistent training (6am wake-ups are treated as middle of the night wake-ups around here) to get them to sleep in until at least 8am. Of course, they also go to bed around 8-9 pm, so if you’re putting yours down earlier than that, you may have to pick and choose between extra evening or morning time. Preschoolers can be taught to stay in bed and quietly look at books if they need less sleep than the babies.
Just how much of a morning person ARE you?
If your answer is “not at all”, start with that 10 minutes and work your way to more as you feel comfortable. If the answer (like me) is “Those are the most productive hours of my day!” then see how much you can get away with. Try an hour, or even two! Personally, I have found my 2-hour headstart mornings tend to be some of the most accomplished all month long.
Here are some examples of what you can accomplish in two focused, child-free hours (all before breakfast!):
- Drink Coffee while you Read your Bible, Memorize Scripture, and Pray for Friends & Family
- Take a Peaceful Shower, Do Hair/Makeup
- Check Your Email or Write a Blog Post (Be careful not to get sucked into the cyber world and waste those 2 hours!)
- Read Chapter Book (or favorite blog) on a subject you’ve been wanting to learn more about
- Unload the Dishwasher
- Start the Laundry
- Prepare Breakfast, including setting all the dishes out
- Look over the Day’s Itinerary, including child-training goals or self-resolutions
- Spend alone time with your husband before he leaves for work, drink coffee with him in bed or on the porch, and chat a little (with your hair/makeup done and without the kids around, flirting with your favorite man will come much more naturally. What a great way to send him off for the day!)
How’s that for a relaxing start to the day?
Is a two-hours headstart out of the question? How about aiming for half of those goals? Wouldn’t that still be a better start than rolling off your pillow to the day’s demands?
Now, for those die-hard night people, try this for experimentation. What on that list can be accomplished before bedtime the night before? Probably everything but the hair/makeup and Scripture time. Yes, you can read the Bible at night, but it doesn’t set you up for the new day’s demands the same way that reading it the morning of will. Most everything on that list can be done the night before (as long as you’re sure to do it!). So night people, use that nocturnal energy to prep tomorrow’s breakfast, look over today’s goals, start the laundry and empty the dishwasher. Get that kitchen into a state that will make you happy and relaxed the moment you walk into it with your little ones. The point is, have a plan and be prepared. Don’t let your mornings take you by surprise. It will make a world of difference.
Whatever time your ‘morning routine’ happens, remember that a PREPARED mother is a more PEACEFUL mother. Let’s just face it. Our lives, filled with emotional toddlers and peanut butter and jelly stains, need all the extra peace it can get.