What Happened When I Lost My Morning Practice

What happened when I lost my morning practice

Over these five years of motherhood, I became a morning person. I was a hard-core night owl in my 20s. It was an awesome ride! But it became unsustainable when I discovered that children operate on an early morning program. These days, morning silence is a required ingredient, so I can function properly and be the mother I want to be.

My biggest fear in parenting is that I will be preoccupied with everything, but what is actually happening. One who regularly snaps and tells the kids just how busy life is and how much sacrifice is included, but misses seeing them (really seeing them) as they grow and transform. One that will say to other moms “enjoy every moment, it goes so fast” because I enjoyed almost none of it.

You might have noticed how little I wrote on the topic of morning habits and productivity in these past months. And that is because I temporarily lost my morning practice.

This summer vacation, we over-scheduled visitors, activities, and togetherness.
I became more flexible with many things, and my kids and I renegotiated some boundaries related to time and schedule, such as bedtime, nap times and personal time. We moved bedtime to 8 PM instead of our 7 PM during school months. Nap times were also moved and were sometimes skipped (we quickly concluded that we are definitely not ready to skip naps) and my oldest daughter came to get me as soon as she opened her eyes in the morning, which sometimes was 6 AM.
And in the whirl of so many changes, I somehow forgot to prioritize my morning. Actually, I forgot to prioritize myself. I know this sounds silly, but this shift affected how I feel about myself and how I feel about motherhood. Let me explain.

I initially woke up earlier, but having visitors in the house meant I didn’t have the physical space to do my morning routine.
Instead of sitting down to meditate, I went outside for an attempted walking meditation. While it was relaxing and refreshing to walk, it wasn’t as grounding. My soul grew uneasy.
Because I was out for a walk, I couldn’t write in the morning. I scribbled some brain dump on my phone during my walk, but the flow wasn’t there. My brain slowly got clogged.
Then I started staying up later in the night, as it was the only time I had without kids and wake up when everybody else was waking up and just roll with the punches.

And what happened next was nothing sort of extraordinary to witness:
My enjoyment of my kids decreased. Life temporarily became a selfless act of sacrifice towards what others needed or wanted me to do.
It had nothing to do with them, with something they did, the amount of complaining, crying or sibling tension. It wasn’t them. It was me.
I couldn’t fully enjoy my kids because I didn’t offer myself the courtesy of enjoying my own company.
I wasn’t able to fully connect with them because I wasn’t taking the time to connect with myself.
My time with them was not full and present because I was losing my ability to enjoy the present moment.
I became tense, and I started nagging, wanting to control what they did. This is my tendency when I feel my own life is out of control.

Daily life became chores, other people’s desires, schedule, and agenda.

And now, looking back, from the mental space of getting my morning practice back on track, I realize how fragile it all is. The reserves of mindfulness and patience I built with daily repetition will only last for a little while. I realize I must contribute to the bucket every single day. Without fail. I must renew my commitment to be the mother I want to be. I must prioritize my self-care and well-being so I can care and offer happy memories to my children. Every single morning.
It’s been an amazing summer. This lesson alone has been an important call to humbleness and intention.

Here is what goes on my reminder list:

  • I need stillness and quietness, and I will seek it every day.
  • I require daily expression of creativity.
  • Sleep schedules can’t be negotiated.
  • One person’s individual happiness will contribute to the happiness of the family. One person’s individual unhappiness will add to the collective unhappiness of the family. Support individual pursuit of happiness, for each child and each adult in the household.
  • Boundaries are essential to implementing desires.


Now, that I’m back to taking care of myself first, I am also back on the floor, playing with my kids, in the park, chasing and playing, rather than looking at them from the side. We spent the rainy day yesterday doing puzzles and building lego rooms for each stuffed animal that lives in our house. I was in it, and I enjoyed it. And it was like rediscovering something dear that I lost, but I found back.

How has your summer been?


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