Being a mother of two toddlers means my days are complicated, messy, distraction-filled, fun, exuberant, disorderly, chaotic… which makes it really challenging - nigh unto impossible - to focus on Jesus, stay patient and loving, plus have an organized productive day, if I wake up with them.
The solution? Get up before they do. Get up to worship, pray, journal, exercise and plan before the troops charge in. Which means... I have to go to bed earlier, because I LOVE (and need) my sleep. To feel rested, I really need at least 8 hours of sleep in America and 9 hours in Central Asia (because life is just that much harder). Glad that I know this about myself… too bad I also love to stay up late and work on projects or click on just one more wonderful blog, which means I’m always groggy in the mornings, which is why I’ve labelled myself “NOT a morning person”. The thing is, I’m not sure that’s exactly true-- I have this sneaking suspicion it’s a bit of a cop-out. And these are desperate times.
One Month (March 1-31, 2011) of Maximizing My Mornings.
IN BED BY 9PM, LIGHTS OUT BY 9:30PM, UP BY 6AM (or earlier).
NO EXCUSES. NO EXCEPTIONS. JUST DO IT.
Me, a self-proclaimed NON-morning-person and mother of two preschoolers.
6:00 up, journal 3 pages stream-of-consciousness (a strategy for unblocking creativity from a book I’m going through)
6:15 exercise 20 minutes to a video (my only option right now since it’s below freezing outside), while listening to worship songs.
[IF DESPERATE, do Kat’s 5-min exercise plan: 10 push-ups, roll over and do 10 bicycle crunches, stand up for 10 squats (about a minute). Repeat 5 times! DO SOMETHING to exercise every day. That's what forms the habit.]
6:35(ish) Read the Bible chapters for the day from John Kohlenberger's chronological Read Through the Bible in a Year book; journal one thought and one prayer for application. Pray for my children and my husband using Kat’s monthly prayer guides.
6:50 Spend the last 10 minutes looking over the day, choosing a dinner plan, writing to-do lists. Commit the day to Jesus.
(The goal is to push back that 6:00am wake-up time by 5 or 10 minutes each week, so that by the end of the month I’m at ::gasp:: 5:30AM?????!!!)
I haven’t consulted my husband about this yet… what about movie date nights?
(Start the movie RIGHT after the kids go down at 7:30 - leave the dishes - as long as the movie is 2 hours or less, I can still be in bed with lights out by 9:30.)
What about late night phone calls with my mother?
(Call her in the mornings, chaotic kids and all-- keep it short and sweet.)
What about my overflowing email inbox?
(Leave it! The important emails will get dealt with, and a bit of invisible disorganization for a month isn’t going to kill you.)
What if I miss a morning? What if I ::gulp:: FAIL?
(Just keep going. Start over. Go to bed early that night. Do your 5 minutes of exercise anyway, whatever time it is. Get your kids to do it with you. Don’t get discouraged… What's that saying? Rome wasn't built in a year? Well, a habit isn't built in a day.)
NO EXCUSES. NO EXCEPTIONS. JUST DO IT.
How’s it going? Terribly. I went to bed an hour late (10pm) last night because I was getting ready for this morning. Great. Then Will had a screaming fit at 1:00am (wet his bed and was half asleep), and woke Ben up who also started screaming. Great. Then Will was up again at 4:00am to pee and couldn’t manage his pants. (My husband’s out of town this week so I’m on day and night shifts.) So… we are all cranky and tired, I didn’t get up until the boys woke me up after 7:00am!!! Fantastic Day 1, right? Really setting the standard.
BUT I did manage to do my journalling while the boys played in their room before breakfast; I did my Bible reading and praying while finishing my pancake after they left the table; AND and I did a whopping half of Kat’s 5-min exercise routine (that was all my poor pathetic muscles could handle! Sheesh!) in my bathrobe. Which I’m still sitting in. But it’s SOMETHING, right?
So. Nap this afternoon (can’t wait). Early bed tonight. Try again tomorrow. The going is the way. Right?
Most of these ideas came from Kat @ Inspired to Action. Here are some of my favorite things she is offering:
Link to a Mother's Prayer Calendar: Praying for Your Children