I have never been a morning person. Not even a little bit. I have always wanted to be able to get up and watch the sunrise while reading the paper, drinking my coffee and breathing in that morning air. My mornings have always looked more like rolling out of bed, begrudgingly getting into the shower, downing a pot of coffee, and avoiding speaking to people for fear of them hating me. It actually became a long-running joke with my husband’s family. When I started going to their cabin with them, they caught their first glimpse of me in the morning. My normally chatty and opinionated self was nowhere to be seen. In her place was my morning persona, coffee guzzling and mute.
Having Eliza changed my morning routine but not my morning persona. For the first year, I woke up with Eliza and tried to fight through my normal crabbiness so as to not induce panic in my child. I still guzzled the coffee, perhaps even faster, trying to get to my normalcy at a quicker pace. I turned on movies and hid in the kitchen to get my peace and quiet and attempt to wake up. Safe to say, this was a terrible plan. No plan at all, actually. I can’t remember the tipping point but I assume that it involved tears, stress and maybe some hair pulling. I hit a point where I knew that I needed to start my day off in a different way; a way that was going to set me up with a positive attitude and make me a more available and active mom to Eliza.
It was pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to change my attitude first thing in the morning. It just wasn’t possible. No amount of coffee or chocolate was going to be able to sweeten my disposition. As much as it pained me, my only alternative was to get the process started earlier. I decided that I would start getting up with my husband (or just after) and create a routine that would allow me to have some alone-time before Eliza woke up. The first week was difficult and sporadic but I noticed immediately a change in me on the days that I did start my day and activity early. By the time Eliza was awake I was so much more settled and, dare I say, cheery. Poor Greg still got to see the dark side of me since we started waking up together, but better him than Eliza. Sorry Babe!
Most days, my morning routine usually ends up looking like this:
- Yoga- I moved my daily yoga session to first thing in the morning. I practice yoga on my little mint-colored mat for about 30-45 minutes each morning. This is my savior. The breathing, meditation and challenge that it gives me is perfect for me to learn to steady myself and harness my type A personality. I am no yoga expert but some of these sequences are what I used in the beginning to practice yoga at home instead of in a class. I wanted the freedom to be able to take my mat outside when it was nice out and not be stuck in front of the tv. Now that I have been practicing consistently at home for a year or so, I no longer use them but they provided me with a great place to start.
- Coffee, Coffee, Coffee- I still drink my warm, Doma coffee every morning with a touch of half-&-half. I don’t think I could ever give up this moment. Some things are just too sacred to interfere with. My coffee is one of those things.
- I Write- Getting up early has allowed me so much more time and freedom to write. I am able to brainstorm or research of just let some words flow out of me before the reality of the day sets in. I have found this to be incredibly therapeutic and grounding. It has allowed me to do something I love that is completely for myself. It prepares me for my role of mom, where time for me is extremely limited.
- Get Crap Done- Finally, only after I have done the other things and if Eliza is still sleeping, I will start on some necessary tasks for the day. I will make my to do list, grocery list, pay bills, answer emails, put in some laundry, etc. I try to complete anything that is difficult to do while Eliza is awake; things that take my undivided attention and aren’t very action-filled. She can help me do dishes, or put away clothes so I save those kinds of things for last.
This change to my day has made a drastic impact on my daily outlook. I am not a go-with-the-flow kind of gal, so having a set routine that I complete every morning helps me to set my day off on the right path and to get my brain in the right head space to tackle the hectic pace and never-ending improvisation that is the rest of my waking day. MEB