Today I was late to work. Like, really late. We made it out the door on time but I missed before-school care. And when this happens, the kids have to walk to class with their parent. That set me back. Then there was snow on the roads, a freight train, and an accident that really set me back. When all was said and done, I walked into my school about 30 minutes late. Which embarrasses me because quite honestly, I’m an adult and should be able to better manage my time, right?
Although there were many factors outside of my control this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I could’ve done differently. I didn’t like the way I felt about being late (or that it wasn’t even the first time this had happened). Feeling rushed and out of control really throws me off my game and that never sits well with me.
I’ve worked really hard at this very problem this school year, in fact. In years past, I didn’t necessarily have a game plan and we survived but it was hectic. Without a routine, I inevitably forgot to do things, was running late, or losing my patience. So instead of repeating that again this year, I set out to make sure I’m ready for the day before the kids are up. This approach has given me a sense of control and the organization needed to manage getting two kids out the door by myself without feeling rushed or frustrated. Today is clear evidence that my process isn’t perfect. But, in the days I have followed my proactive morning plan, I’ve felt so much better and today was a good way to be reminded of that.
Now, while we may have actually made it out the door on time (but in the very last minute of ‘on time’), the full, honest disclosure is that there’s a reason we were not out the door earlier. That takes us back to what happened the night before. Our 3-year-old, who is notoriously a fantastic sleeper, is having a heck of a time at night. As in, we were out of bed no less than 8 times last night in attempts to calm her. It all finally resulted in her crawling into bed with us. Normally, this is an absolute no-go in our house, but sometimes you have to know your limits, do what’s for the good of the family at that moment, and problem solve before the next night. So with all of that, I turned off my alarm and we all tried to get some sleep.
Maybe it helped her, but I know that I was exhausted when I woke up around 5. And even though that’s the time I am up every day, I just couldn’t make getting out of bed happen. I was spent. The worst part of it all is the distinct awareness I have that similar mornings are to come. I’m five years into this and I know that whether there are issues with sleep, sick kids, or my own worry–there’s no doubt that I will have other days when I’m going to feel too tired to get up.
Today was just the reminder I needed: my routine won’t always happen, but it is never in the family’s best interest to bypass the routine altogether. Moving forward, I’m going to try an emergency routine with a focus on self-care. I’m allowing myself an extra half hour of sleep. After that, I’m committed to getting up and spending 15 minutes on getting going so that there is a physical or mental jumpstart to my day. This might be a quick yoga flow (I really like Alo’s YouTube channel, there are some super quick flows that are easy to follow) or guided meditation (I just bookmarked Headspace’s ‘Waking Up’ meditation). After that, I should have about 15 minutes for some tea while I listen to the news or an audiobook. At that point, I should be back on track with my usual routine of getting ready around 6AM.
I think the hardest of all will be harnessing the mental willpower to make it happen. (Because let’s be honest, there is little harder than getting out of bed when you’re exhausted.) My son and I talk a lot about personal mantras that set our intentions for our day; this seems like the perfect opportunity to have one ready to go. Saying to myself, I am awake. I am energized. I am ready for today, has a lot of power in making the seemingly impossible of having a successful start a reality.
When it comes to parenting, we have to give ourselves the room to understand that even our best intentions will fall short. We have to be okay with that in the moment. Using it as an opportunity to reflect and move forward with a backup plan is a great way to model for our kids that continuous problem-solving, refining their processes, reflecting, and learning is what successful adults do.
Turning my internal dialog into a reflective conversation is an authentic way to model setting realistic expectations for everyone in the family.
I even made it a point during our drive to school today to share my thinking about how my morning was going with my 5-year-old son. Turning my internal dialog into a reflective conversation is an authentic way to model setting realistic expectations for everyone in the family. An added bonus is that when I do this, my son is more attune to what is challenging for me. He is often more helpful in both making an effort to follow his morning routine and also encourages me to keep working at my own plan. It’s a real win-win that’s simple, meaningful, and what ultimately makes the difficult mornings moving forward a little bit easier to deal with.
What do you do in the mornings when getting out of bed seems near impossible? What are your tips for easier and calmer mornings? Comment below–I am always looking for new ideas to incorporate into my own day and learning from you is a great way to start!
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Mom life is complex,
but it doesn't have to be complicated.
LET'S SIMPLIFY THINGS.