Most definitely the hardest time of my day around here is mornings. Right now mornings most often go like this: sleep as long as the baby will let me, because I’ve stayed up way too late and then tended to her through the night. Finally get up when the baby is too fussy to keep in bed any longer, or when the kids are already up and making a mess, or when James needs help in the bathroom, or Miriam is yelling, “I need to be changed!” (if Paul hasn’t gotten to it first, saintly man that he is). Look around, extremely discouraged and frustrated that the house is a mess before I’ve even had coffee, there is stuff on the stove and counters so there isn’t room to cook breakfast (clean stuff, at least, thanks to saintly husband). Be grumpy and procrastinate while I drink coffee, nurse the baby, and catch up on the internets. Make breakfast too late. Run around trying to make myself, the house, and the children presentable. Usually yell at someone at some point. Have no time to think a thought to myself. Put laundry in. Finally sit us down to do preschool together at 10:30 or 11 am, while feeling frazzled and irritated with everyone.
I am not happy with this situation.
I think it is a good thing to take time off from normal routines after a baby comes. We’ve definitely done that, and I did it on purpose. But we’ve been back to much of a routine for a while now, doing preschool three days a week, with another day set aside for errands and another for nature walks or other outdoor activity. I like the schedule. Mornings for work and learning, afternoons for naps, quiet time, and catch up time for me. But mornings are a mess and I aim to change them up quite a bit. I’ve been pondering this for a while, but gained new inspiration from Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things. You see, Sarah and I gave birth at about the same time. The difference is that she gave birth to twins, a whole fifteen months after her last baby, and she is classically homeschooling three other children. That would be six kids, half of them babies, two of them twins that keep her up all night and she gets up at dawn to take care of it all.
Now, most of the time it does nothing helpful to compare ourselves to other mothers in other situations. But Sarah is doing just what I spend my days wondering how on earth I will ever do – homeschooling older kids when there are babies that need 24 hour attention. Looking at how my mornings are going now, that idea seems daunting indeed. I need to start laying down good habits now, so that, God willing, in another baby or two, when my older kids are ready for my full attention in learning at home, I don’t throw in the towel and send them all to school. And hire a nanny and a housekeeper. So rather than compare and be discouraged, I’m looking at her for inspiration for what I already knew I had to do – reclaim our mornings.
I have a plan, and I thought I’d outline it here as I implement it, and post on each part of the plan to keep myself accountable. Habits take time to form, and so I hope to add a little change each week. All of them are things I’ve already worked on implementing, but I need to work at consistency. So, here are my Big Ideas:
1. Begin at the End
2. Early to Bed, Early to Rise
3. Exercising with Babies Around
4. Pray, Think, and Prepare
5. Joyful Routines
I’ll come back in a few days and let you know how number one is going – Begin at the End.