Ouch! Some mornings it hurts, especially after being at a birth late the night before or after people in my house have been awake multiple times at night to use the bathroom and need my assistance (this includes the dog, the only difference is she goes outside and no matter how late I put her out before I head to bed, she comes to ME at night, nobody else!).
This morning I had that familiar pull coming from deep within my pillow, my toes snug into their cozy wool socks, my body wrapped around the down comforter and the thought that I could eek out just a few more minutes.
Here’s the thing, though. For me that is so counterproductive. I become crabby and not a fun morning mama if I try to “stay in bed” while others are attempting to rouse me for the day. If I try to “lay there” for one more minute or hour, it results in everyone falling apart. However, if I just get up when I am needed, there is less squabbling, a happier husband, and, if I include myself in the category of being needed, I will get up early, for me.
Waking early insures that I will get most of my work done for the day in less than 3 hours. So what if we eat breakfast at 9? I lay out trail mix for my girls in the morning so I don’t feel guilty about their likely blood sugar crash happening an hour after they wake. Who cares if I workout in my pajamas downstairs and don’t get dressed until after I shower around 10 a.m. Believe me, most of this schedule is counter intuitive to who I am.
On one hand, it truly is the benefit of homeschooling. It doesn’t matter when we have breakfast as long as we have an established rhythm we move to. It doesn’t matter if we keep our pajamas on until mid morning when we’re ready for our school work.
What does matter is that when I calendar my work to happen between the hours of 6-9 a.m., almost everything gets done. I am more calm throughout the day, I am more present for my girls and I don’t keep checking my email only to allow messages to fall through the cracks because though I am checking them I don’t always get to return them at the same time.
The opposite is what happens if I don’t do my work in the morning. I am cranky and irritable, stressing about when and how I’m going to fit MY work in to the day around feeding and schooling people in our home, not to mention the tasks of caring for our people and home.
So I have scheduled myself to work Monday through Friday from 6-9 a.m. where I am totally focused (minus the four year old coming in and out of her room). Weekends I typically get an extra hour of sleep.
One thing I have learned about myself since having children is that I don’t need as much sleep as most people, UNLESS I am seriously deprived after missing a full night due to a birth or someone is sick and I’m up all night caring for them, or I’ve had a deadline I’ve allowed to run my world and it’s gone late into the night too often. 90% of the time I am good with around 6.5 hours per night. If I go more than that, I actually feel more tired and slow. The thing that has struck me is that it’s more about the quality of sleep I get versus how much.
Maybe someday I can go back to waking up to get my workout done right away in the morning, but for now that comes around 10 a.m. and in my pj’s and everyone’s happier for it…it’s just that some days I would rather be sleeping.
Nichi Hirsch Kuechle supports moms during pregnancy, birth, postpartum and beyond as a Parent Coach, Craniosacral Therapist and Birth/Postpartum Doula in Minneapolis. She publishes a weekly e-zine called Natural Family, which offers tips, ideas and resources for growing healthy babies. She also teaches a variety of live and virtual workshops. You can get Nichi’s New Parent Tool Kit, for free, by going to: http://www.MyHealthyBeginning.com.