Good morning, friends.
As I sit here to write, it’s 6:20 and the house is quiet because the kids are still asleep. I’ve had some time to read my Bible and pray. Now I’m listening to David Nevue on Pandora and have drunk half a cup of coffee while it was still hot. I have the curtains slightly open so I can watch it get light outside in the next half hour (my favorite!), and the house is so quiet. Things are feeling luxurious this morning.
Because here’s the thing: I love mornings like this. They are what make getting up at 5:30 worth it. But do they generally go this smoothly? No, no they don’t.
Often Chloe will wake up several times starting at about 5:10. We’re working on helping her learn to go back to sleep in bed until at least 6:00. She loves to get up and go back to sleep on me on the couch, though, as soon as she wakes up that first time. Depending on how much noise I make with her, Dustin usually wakes up between 6:30 and 7:00.
Both kids wake up ready and asking for breakfast, and often both want to snuggle at once with me (though they’re never okay with it being at the same time!). Sometimes dirty diapers and pull-ups are among the first early morning tasks of the day.
All this to say, I’ve discovered that the first thirty minutes of my day can really set the tone for the whole morning. For a long time I’d sleep in as long as possible until I was finally woken up by the kids, and then be thrown into meeting the needs of the moment (aforementioned diapers and breakfasts) as I was still just barely waking up and looking longingly at the coffeepot.
I’d been longing for a little consistency in my mornings, but wasn’t sure how to accomplish that when I have kids that wake up at a different time every day, can never count on getting a full night’s sleep before it’s time to get up, and never thought I could be one of those people who got up at 5:30 to get things done.
My daughter waking up super early has turned into a blessing in disguise because it’s really trained my body to wake up shortly after 5:00 every day. That was the first step. From there, I had to find some rhythms to incorporate into my morning to bring it some consistency, even if it wasn’t going to be exactly the same every day.
I say rhythms instead of a schedule, and maybe it’s all semantics, but I love schedules and tend to get discouraged if I can’t closely stick by them or I get behind. Creating a rhythm and pattern gives me freedom to have things change a little bit, but still have consistency within an inconsistent schedule.
Here are a few rhythms that have helped me to have a consistent morning even when feeling like I’m on an inconsistent schedule.
1. Get up before the kids. This means, for me, getting up no later than 5:30. This is really hard some days and doesn’t always happen, but having even a couple minutes to grab some coffee by myself before anything else makes a big difference and helps put me in a better frame of mind for meeting my kids’ needs as soon as they wake up.
2. Get up at the same time every day. I never thought it would feel fairly doable to get up as early as I do (And I know 5:30 would feel like sleeping in to some of you!), but the more I’ve gotten into that rhythm, the easier it has become. And the more time that goes past that I get to see how life-giving it is for me to to stick with it, I’m encouraged each morning to follow through and actually get up.
3. Prep your coffee the night before. Or tea, or breakfast, or lemon water. Whatever it is that gets you going in the morning, may I suggest doing a little prep work the night before on it? We make a big ol’ pot of drip coffee every morning, but have it set up the night before to brew at 5:00. That way, when I get up I can look forward to just pouring my cup of coffee and drinking, not having to get up and stumble around the kitchen while I try to measure out grounds while I’m half awake.
4. Have a plan for the first 30 minutes of your morning. As I mentioned before, the first 30 minutes of my day can set the whole tone for my morning. This includes what you’ll do and where you’ll do it. If I do my morning Bible reading on the couch, I fall back asleep, so I have to do it in the chair in our living room. The exact timing sometimes varies but I know that each morning I’m going to pour my cup of coffee, sit in the glider, read my Bible and pray, and then do some blog work. This may look a little different each morning depending on if kids are awake or sleeping on me or whatever else changes in the morning, but I’ve at least set a tone for the day and I know where I’ll be that first half hour.
5. A missed day doesn’t mean a ruined rhythm. If I’m trying to create a strict schedule and I sleep in on one day or one day one of the kids wakes up at 4:30, it’s easy to feel defeated and like the schedule just won’t work for my life. If I’m just creating a rhythm or routine that will guide most of my days and be my default, it frees me to have days that don’t quiet fit my ideal because I know I can get right back to it the next day.
And one more thought, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short time of being a mother it’s that kids enter a new phase or stage at a surprisingly frequent rate, especially these first several years. From newborn to one year old, their ability to and need for sleep seems to always be changing.
I’m learning to not fight this, but to create new rhythms when I need to, and to still try to stick by these guiding principles for my mornings. So for the phase I’m in, this works. I get that it might not for everyone. I have another baby due in a few months and am fully aware that I’ll probably need to find some new rhythms for the morning, and maybe I’ll need to go a few months with none. But I’ve found what works for right now. I’d love to hear what’s working for your morning’s right now!