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How My Family Has Good Mornings

How My Family Has Good Mornings

By Rachel Meeks

In our family culture, we place importance on good mornings. This does not mean we are good at mornings.

No, most mornings catch me not ready and not fully awake. My bed is warm and my pillow soft.

So many mothering columns talk about the beauty and importance of getting those minutes of alone time before the kids wake up, and I couldn’t agree more, in theory. Minutes is true. I get about two of them before the kids wake up as well. They’re light sleepers, and they’ve always woken up early.

Most days I try to stay in bed a little longer, knowing that as soon as I move they will wake up as well. If I stay in bed longer, then there is a chance they will sleep longer too. This was true when I had a nursing baby next to me, and now when our two year old climbs into our bed sometime around five. I’d wake up and need to stretch or go to the bathroom, but instead I would tell myself, “Just don’t move. Don’t move anything or you’ll wake him. Just lie perfectly still.” I memorize what it feels like to have kids sleeping on both sides of me, to be the middle of a kid sandwich, and save that memory for later.

Even from their own bedrooms they’ll hear any sound and get out of bed. The little kids wake up with no grogginess and feel perfectly refreshed. If you could put that in a pill form and bottle it, you’d make a fortune. It doesn’t seem to matter that it’s still dark outside. They silently creep into my room and over to my side of the bed, wearing their cute footie pajamas and standing a few inches from my face. “Mama, can I have a snack?”

“It’s still dark. Go back to bed.”

“I’m hungry, Mommy. Mommy? Mommy?”

I’m not at my best this early in the morning, and it’s hard to be instantly on demand. Kids, help mommy get her coffee before you start asking for things.

Sometimes my husband tries to have a conversation with me while I’m still asleep in bed and my eyes are closed. Later he’ll wonder why I don’t know what he said.

“We talked about it.” he’ll say.

“Was I awake?”

“I talked to you and you answered me.”

“Yes, but did you wake me up first? Because I can’t be responsible for the things we talked about while I was unconscious.” He doesn’t understand after eight years because he is a light sleeper.

The good news about having kids who wake up early is that we rarely run late, except for that one day (it was the third day of school) when we all woke up late for some reason and had five minutes to get ready. We did our best to pretend we weren’t rushing as we both worked to get our daughter dressed and fed in that short amount of time. Instead of her usual scrambled eggs for breakfast, she had cheese. “Am I late?” she asked.

“No, but let’s hurry.” I want to send my daughter off to school all bright and shiny, without worries.

Trying to have good mornings doesn’t mean we have worked out the right morning routine. We work on keeping pleasant attitudes, and faking it when needed. Sometimes when I do something wrong, or if the adults get angry, we wait until after 8 a.m. to talk about it. Sometimes just waiting or keeping my mouth shut will diffuse an argument in the first place.

My family will face struggles during the day, but while the day is still fresh and new, we can stay positive. That will put them in the best possible position to face the rest of the day.

One day we’ll have our morning routine all figured out, the kinks smoothed out and the snooze alarm never pushed, but I’m not going to wait for that to happen before I enjoy good mornings.

What makes a good morning for you?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

About the Author

Rachel Meeks

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to b...

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to be a parent when you’re not surrounded by a ton of stuff.)

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  • Amanda @ The Scacchi House

    February 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    My husband makes the mornings much easier for me. He gets up at the same time I do, even though he doesn’t have to go anywhere. He makes my coffee and lunch and helps get the baby ready. I couldn’t do it without him!

  • Suzanne

    February 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    The crux of this article is right on about keeping a pleasant attitude and acting as if when I don’t have one.  Thanks, Rachel.

  • Jamey from Zehlahlum Family

    February 8, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Great article. I always think about how much I could get done if I got up before my children, but just like you the earlier I get up the earlier they get up and then what’s the point? So many articles though make me feel like I’m not doing it right because I’m not up before my kids. We’re still up early and there will be plenty of mornings without my kids later on…much later, thank goodness. 

  • Brenda

    February 8, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I could have written this myself… every detail. Have you been spying on our family?? 🙂
    Thanks for the attitude reminder. A lot of times I leave that out of the equation.

  • Erica {let why lead}

    February 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    My husband is too busy getting ready for work to help with the kids, which is a struggle, but I do find a positive attitude is key. My kids respond SO much better to a cheerful mom. (Even if Mom is totally faking it because they are instantly demanding things! 🙂 

  • KIm @ Extra Organized

    February 8, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I can’t bring myself to get out of bed before the kids either, no matter how many times I read this is the best time of day to have some quiet time and be productive. It just doesn’t work for me! It helps that my hubby is a morning person and he starts getting the kids organized while I slowly wake up, and I make up for it by usually being the one to put the kids to bed in the evenings. We have also taught our children (ages 9 and 7) how to get their own breakfast so that once a week we can get up a little later if we want to.

  • Victoria

    February 9, 2012 at 4:40 am

    I love the honesty in this article – totally real, thank you Rachel. And that you don’t offer a solution – I too usually wake up with a 2 year old beside me, and cannot get up for some quiet becuase it woudld no longer be quiet!! But as you remind us genly with your memorising – it will not be forever! “One day” we will get up early, have quiet time, get ready for the day…and then be wondering where our children are!

  • Adrienne

    February 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you for this! I was half expecting a “how-to” about how to turn yourself into a morning person and was pleasantly surprised! Thanks for the reminder that the most important thing is trying to keep a good attitude.

  • Marie

    February 10, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for being honest! One thing that has helped me is to have a bedtime 1 hr. after the kids go to bed at 8p.m. The computer is off, and hubby and I put on some music and spend 10 mins. tidying the kitchen, discussing tomorrow, and doing our evening routines. We bring a tray of hot tea into our bedroom and are in bed by 9p.m. reading until around 10p.m. or whenever we drift off.

    If we remember to put a thick tea cozy on our teapot, the tea is still somewhat warm in the morning, so we can have a cup of tea in bed. Luxurious!

    This has made our mornings so much better.

  • Jennifer

    February 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I have a love/hate relationship with mornings. I kind of hate that I’m awake, but love cuddling my two kiddos. I find that mornings run a lot more smoothly if I’ve made pancakes the night before (to be re-heated in the toaster oven). 

  • Rachel

    February 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I am absolutely not a morning person, but I learned to get up a full hour before my kids so I could deal with the fact that another day had come whether I was ready or not. A shower, getting dressed, and a pot of coffee at the ready allows me to greet my kids with a much more cheerful attitude than just rolling out of bed and still trying to pry my eyelids open. It doesn’t work for everyone though, I know. I have a son who is a very light sleeper and he and I have a deal worked out. If it’s before five o’clock when he wakes up, he can crawl in bed and snuggle with me for a bit, but if it’s after five he knows he has to go back to bed and wait for me to come get him at seven. It took a while for him to realize he wasn’t being punished (setting a few books and puzzles on his bed helped) and he is very patient now until I am ready for the day.

  • Heather

    February 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    My brother and I learned VERY early on that Mornings Are Quiet Time until coffee has been consumed. In our family, the simple utterance of, “Coffee” has long been a mostly-polite way of communicating, “I am not awake yet, and you are overwhelming my senses.” “Tea” and “Cocoa” work as well, but Coffee is the gold standard that means “I love you but Shut Up until I speak to you” even if it’s not sleepiness that is the issue.

    I was never an easy kid to wake up, though. I remember plenty of mornings (or after nap-times) that someone would talk to me and I would simply stare at them, speechless, at most a nod or shake of the head if they were appropriate. Often my dad would just look at me and say, “Coffee?” and I would nod and be given space until I was ready to be awake and interactive. Actually, I’m still the same way most mornings, but now I actually get my coffee when I demand it ;).