How My Family Has Good Mornings
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?
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