As I sit in front of my computer, bleary eyed at 5:30 in the morning with a large coffee beside me, I attempt to start my day.
I’ve never been a morning person. Like ever. Even as a child, I remember choosing sleep over Saturday morning cartoons sometimes because my bed was just so comfortable. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom. Call it teen angst, but I was a little bit of a wild flower when I was a teen and sleep was one of my favorite past times. Fast forward to adult hood and as I entered the workforce, I remember the hardest thing for me to adjust to was the early wake up call to get to the office by 8am! That meant waking up at 6:30am to get ready, have breakfast, and drive through traffic. I can’t tell you how many times I cut it so close to being late or arrived minutes after my start time. I’m just not a morning person. Not only am I not a morning person, but I need like 8-9 hours of sleep to be able to function during the day. Or so I thought.
When I had my son, my first born, I had the first taste of what sleep deprivation was. I remember getting up for the feedings every hour was painful! What was harder was the fact that I went back to work 3 months after giving birth so I was juggling the baby, sleep deprived and adjusting back to work life. That was hard. But it didn’t last long. 6 months maybe and he started sleeping longer throughout the night. My husband also helped a ton and would often let me sleep while he tended to the baby.
When I had my daughter, my second and last child, I had forgotten what sleep deprivation was like and reality hit me again. Except this time, she was a lot more needy than my son. She wakes up more, cries more, requires more attention. Maybe its a girl thing?! This time around I am fortunate to not have to go back to work and I stay home with her so on a positive note, I didn’t have to get up in the morning, get ready and be alert for an office full of people. I just had to be alert for her and my son.
At first, this is how our days went…(and it was a s*** show):
7:30 – be woken up by the kids, lay around in bed for a while
8:00 – get up and get ready while trying to get the kids ready (impossible)
8:30 – rush to get their breakfast ready, get Gabe’s lunch ready, feed them and be ready to leave
9:00 – drop off Gabe at school
9:30 – make and eat my breakfast, clean up
10:00 – find some sort of activity that would make Emilia engaged and/or tired for her nap
11:00 – attempt to put Emilia down for her nap
12:00 – give up on the trying to put Emilia down for her nap
12:30 – make lunch and feed Emilia, scarf down my food in the process
1:00 – clean up and try and calm a fussy and tired baby
2:00 – pick up Gabe from school
2:30 – give the kids a snack
3:00 – attempt to put Emilia down for her nap again
3:00 – Emilia is finally asleep. I would lay down with her and fall asleep while Gabe watched TV.
4:00 – Rowell would come home and the angels would sing!
I cannot tell you how unproductive my days were. It was literally a cluster (you know what) from the moment we woke up to the time Rowell came home.
One day, I had enough. I decided that we cannot live like this. The kids need structure and a schedule. I need my sanity back. And most importantly, I need to set a good example for my kids of what a healthy home environment is like.
I decided that in order for me to have a productive day, get the things that I need to do done, that I had to get up at the crack of dawn and start my day hours before they get up. Was it hard to get up at 5:00am all of a sudden? Hell, no! It was painful. But getting off the bed was the hardest part. Once I was up and showered (and caffeinated, lets be honest) I felt good. Ready to tackle the day!
Now, our days go something like this and it has done wonders for my psyche and the kids overall well-being:
5:00 – I get up and shower
5:30 – head downstairs and spend a few moments with Rowell before he heads to work. Have my coffee while I write down my goals for the day and the “I must do” list and the “would be nice if I can get around to it” list. I’ve also started a gratitude journal where each morning I list 3 things I’m grateful for. This has changed my life. I will write a post about this soon
6:00 – I tackle my emails, pay bills, and work on my blog
7:00 – have my 2nd cup of coffee, continue working on the blog or edit some pictures
7:30 – prepare breakfast for myself and the kids, prepare Gabe’s lunch
8:00 – wake kids up and get them washed up and dressed for the day
8:20 – eat breakfast and feed the kids, clean up
9:00 – drop off Gabe at school
9:15 – run errands with Emilia (usually we do a little grocery shopping) and/or take her to the park
10:30 – come back home and give Emilia a snack and a bath
11:00 – take Emilia out for a walk, baby reading time at the library or do an activity with her at home depending on the weather
12:00 – prepare lunch
12:30 – eat lunch with Emilia
1:00 – clean up while Emilia watches Sesame Street (Elmo is her fave)
1:45 – pick up Gabe from school
2:10 – give Gabe a snack and have him do a quiet activity (he loves to draw)
2:15 – put Emilia down for her nap (by this time, she is exhausted and goes down easily)
2:30 – spend some quiet time with Gabe. I usually work do some work around the house, catch up on blog posts or start prepping for dinner while Gabe draws or does his homework)
4:00 – Rowell comes home and he is welcomed by a happy and calm household (not chaotic like my previous schedule)
Once Rowell gets home, he’ll take over watching the kids, play with them, give them a bath, etc…while I make dinner, clean up, and finish up my to-do list. This is usually also the time I’ll so some more writing on the blog or catch up on my favorite shows.
I spent my whole life thinking that I wasn’t a morning person, but I was wrong. There is no such thing. You can be whatever you choose to be. I chose not to be a morning person, and therefore I wasn’t. I really believe that our mind is our strongest muscle. The more we tell ourselves we can’t do something, the more we wont do it. But it takes one moment to realize this and it will change your life forever.
Now I wake up early even on the weekends. I sleep in a little (don’t get me wrong) but now my sleeping in is waking up at 7:00am instead of 10:00am. It feels amazing to wake up with the sun and to hear the birds chirping when its still dark out. I know it sounds cheesy but it really changes your entire mood and outlook on life.
If you are struggling to have a more productive day, you can change that. Take a look at whats not working and determine what you need to do to fix it. Change is never easy, but once you make the decision to do it and take that first step, its smooth sailing from there.
The hardest part is taking that first step.