How Do You Start the Day?

How Do You Start the Day?

Just a while back I was watching a video discussing morning routines. A sentence got stuck in my brain, playing in a loop, just like last week, when I got the “Wheels on the bus” chorus stuck in my brain cells.

I wake up FOR my kids vs. I wake up TO my kids.

I knew a thing or two about that.

This is how my morning looked like almost three years ago:
Wake-up when my (then only) kid was calling me out from her crib. This was anything between 5:30 AM and 6:30 AM. I stumbled to the kitchen, fixed a bottle, gave it to her then proceeded with changing the diaper and choosing her clothes. I would brush my teeth and get dressed myself, spending five foggy minutes in front of the fridge debating what should we have for breakfast. Each time I would return to my classic “oats and raisins” and dismiss the eggs or toast due to the obvious extra work required.
I would put on an episode of Dora for my daughter so I would have some quiet and brain capacity to jump start my day with a cup of tea. Then feed her in front of the TV to avoid the dragging, delaying and complaining about my choice of breakfast.
When we were done eating, I would prepare something for her lunch box and walk to the day care.
Once I was back home, I cleaned up, got another tea and finally considered starting my work. It would be 11 before I could even function, but by then I had to start thinking about what to cook for lunch and dinner, do some shopping and pick her up from daycare.
My days were messy, I felt messy and exhausted. ALL THE TIME!
The mornings felt overwhelming, I wanted silence but I had a toddler, I didn’t want to prepare breakfast, be tired, nor have my cup of tea so late.

My morning routine is different these days.

In the past three years, we tripled the number of kids we have, changed countries once again, and it became too much to just “roll with the punches.” I had to change my mind about mornings, nights and what it meant to recharge and have “me time.”
I didn’t want to wake up early. I lived my entire life thriving on a night owl schedule. Before I had kids, I worked as a flight attendant. Night flights, irregular sleeping patterns, unpredictable schedules, hotel beds. I loved it! I could sleep anytime, anywhere, as long as 14 hours at a time. I was a sleep champion.
But to convince myself that my habits were sustainable with a small child to care for was an illusion.

Looking back, I was staying up late, watching TV, reading or spending time with my husband because I was operating from a “victim” mode. I saw my days as a constant “Look at what I am doing for THEM.”
I could live off canned sardines and tomatoes, but my family required cooking (which I hated). I HAD TO do it.
I could sleep until 10 AM but small children naturally wake up at 6 AM. I HAD TO do it.
So when the kid was finally asleep, I no longer HAD TO do anything. It was finally all about me again. So I did what I wanted to do, without interruptions or distractions.

But this meant I was taking care of my needs LAST.

The change didn’t come because I realized what was going on. It was an accident actually.
When the twins were born, I was waking up to feed them in the night. I had a really hard time going back to sleep again. Some days, instead of tossing, turning and massaging the thought that I only have two hours until the older one is up, I would just wake up, brew my tea and marvel at the fact that the house is silent. Those were the best days. I was tired, but I could catch a nap later.

I was finally taking care of my own needs FIRST rather than LAST.

That’s when I realized I had to change some of my habits and become intentional about how I spend the first hours of my day.

This had a magical impact on my family.
I was taking care of my own needs first and so when the kids were finally awake, I could welcome them into my already awesome day.
The time I spend with my husband became intentional and quality focused, rather than watching TV together in the night (there is nothing wrong with that if that’s your choice of activity and you really enjoy it).
I became extremely productive because apparently, people just focus better in the morning *doh*!

So today, even if there is nothing different in how you spend your morning, I would like to invite you to consider how life would look like if you took care of yourself FIRST rather than LAST.

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Do you wake up FOR your kids or do you wake up TO your kids?

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