Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working Mom Wednesday: Selfish at 5 am

Now that I'm back at work, I may try to do some Working Mom Wednesday posts again. This week, I want to tell you how much I love my morning routine, and how it has been essential for my sanity in the mornings.

Blogger/author Jon Acuff talks about being "selfish at 5 am." For him, this was about getting up to write early in the morning because he dreamed of being an author but had a day job and a family that made it tough to write at any other time of day. He now encourages this in his (third or fourth!) book, Quitter, which is about pursuing your dream job while keeping your day job.

I'm not looking to change careers, but I have discovered the joy of being selfish at 5 am. Well, not 5, but 5:30. I tried practicing my intended routine once while still on maternity leave, and was back in bed by 6:15. 5:00 may be too early for me, but 5:30 has worked out well, enabling me not just to get myself and the girls ready so that we can all get out the door by 7:30, but to have some "me" time as well, that I'm typically too exhausted to enjoy by the time the kids are asleep in the evenings, the kitchen is cleaned up, bottles prepared for the next day, etc.

My alarm goes off at 5:15, because I love hitting snooze a few times (who doesn't?) but I try to get out of bed by 5:30 and shower immediately. I come downstairs to enjoy a cup of coffee, which has just finished brewing from the auto-timed start at 5:30, and putter around on the computer for a while. Yesterday, I worked on Kate's birthday party decorations a little, but usually I just spend this "me" time checking email, blogs, etc. I head back upstairs by 6:30 or so to finish getting myself ready and get everybody else up. If Claire hasn't woken up in the night, then her waking is a variable in this morning routine (as it was this morning, since she slept from 9:30pm to 5:30am—woo hoo!) and sometimes I hit snooze a few more times than I should, but if at all possible, I still try to steal away to have a little time to myself before the craziness of the day begins.

Sure, it's hard to get up earlier than I would naturally, but as I read recently in Girl on Top: Turning Dating Rules into Career Success (just couldn't resist that title!), "I'm tired at seven, and I'm tired at six. So why not get up at six?" It's true. Left to my own devices, I would probably sleep until 8:30 or so. But I never have that luxury, so if I'm going to artificially wake myself anyway, why not do it at a time that brings peace and satisfaction to my mornings? Plus, I have a number of go-to "wake up songs" in my head that I can sing and dance to in the shower to shake the sleep from my eyes (Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" and The Pointer Sisters' "Jump for My Love" are two favorites, as is Matt's once-annoying, super-chipper cell phone alarm, "pa pa POW Good Morning, POW Good morning, pa pa POW, it's a beautiful day!")

I've always wanted to be one of those people who rises at 4am to study, do a devotion, practice flute, actually eat breakfast, etc. (these examples reflect a particular person I knew in college!) and 4am just wouldn't be smart when I don't get to bed until 10:30 or 11—it's important to get 7-8 hours of sleep, if possible—but this new routine works for me and makes me a happier person and a better mom, I think. Like Matt says in his pre-sermon prayer each week, "Lord make us masters of ourselves so that we can be the servants of others." Being disciplined with my wake-up time and morning routine gives me the serenity I need to care for my family in the mornings in a calmer and more loving way.

Now on with my day!
pa pa POW pa pow pa POW good morning... it's a beautiful day!

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