When I wake up in the morning, I jump out of bed with boundless energy. I run 8 miles—even in below zero temperatures. I drink a gluten-free, dairy-free, kale, lime, and cucumber smoothie. I meditate 20 minutes. My skin is clear and fresh, no new wrinkles or dark under eye circles appear back at me when I look in the mirror. No one interrupts me while I am in the shower to ask a question or stick out their tongue at me. My hair dries perfectly, and I fit into the skinny clothes in my closet. I joyfully aid my children in their morning routine, never raising my voice. I am mindfully engaged in everything around me, never once checking my phone. I get my kids to school with no whining, and I commute to work on traffic-free roads, never once cursing out my fellow drivers. Every morning is like this: perfect and wonderful.
That’s the morning a lot of people in our Instagram-ready world want you to think they have. The truth is far from this positive picture I’ve painted, yet so many of us (me include) aspire to have moments, days, and lives that are always perfect and wonderful.
When my dear blogging group agreed to celebrate #NaBloPoMo by selecting a topic to write about (we bloggers live large, people!), we chose our morning and evening routines—what we do when we wake up in the morning and what we do before we go to sleep at night. These routines may not be the most exciting parts of our lives, but they are the foundations of our days and provide insight into who we are and what we value.
Back to my morning… the truth is I probably wake up in one of two ways: tired because I was up late the night before working on Red Shutters or taking care of something for my family, or crowded due to the arrival of a child (or children) who got up too early and crept into our bed for a few minutes of cuddles before the day starts. I’d chose being crowded any day. There are days, of course, when I am both tired and crowded—that shouldn’t be a surprise; that’s life.
Once I’m out of bed, the day is off like a rocket. Shower, dress, and breakfast for the kids and me, as my husband leaves for work super early so he can manage kid pick-up at the end of the day. Then, the kids get dressed, which is always fun. Sometimes, they are cooperative and select their outfits themselves; other times, it’s an Olympic battle of wills, primarily with my daughter who has expectations about what to wear and how her hair should be styled that are not clearly articulated (i.e., she disagrees with whatever I chose for her to wear and how I put in her pony tails). In the end, we get clothes on—my criteria is that they are dressed age-appropriately and according to the season; I don’t care how many rainbow stripes of polka dots they have on—and then proceed to our front door where shoes and coats are considered and hopefully put on with little fuss. I’d love to say I never yell during the mornings, but, well, I can’t. I have been known to shout about shoes; my kids, on occasion, find listening to me to be optional. We’re all working on this.
Backpacks are picked up, and we’re off. We walk to school each day, only a rainstorm will cause me to drive my kids. We walk even in snowy and icy conditions. It’s good exercise and I like the extra time with my son and daughter. We are accompanied regularly by neighborhood kids, which I find connects us closer to the people around us and creates a greater sense of community. I appreciate that so much. The walk takes about 10 minutes, and we usually get to school a few minutes early. The kids play, and I chat with other parents. The bell rings, and the kids are off. I walk back home to get into my car and drive to the office. I listen to a book while I drive, put on makeup at stoplights (I know, what a bad habit!), and arrive to the office about 45 minutes later.
Jump ahead hours later, and I am at home, getting ready for bed. I will have already cleaned up the kitchen, straightened up the house, made school lunches, and packed backpacks and my bag for the next day. The dishwasher is probably running and there may even be a load of clothes in the dryer. The last thing I do every day is read before I sleep. I try to stay off my phone in the last hour before bed, though having the Kindle app on my phone makes that hard. So unless the book I’m reading on the Kindle is an I-cannot-put-this-down read, I look at a “real” book or magazine before sleep.
My nighttime routine works very well for me, and I see that each of my kids has adopted the same habit of reading before lights out. It’s a way of cycling down from the day, and I need that time to still myself. My morning routine, however, could be better. I could incorporate exercise or some sort of meditative time to center me better, perhaps give me some much-needed calm. I could just sleep more. There’s so much could have, would have, should have in life, though. I can’t spend too much time complaining when I, after all, am the one who could change it—if I really wanted to.
Now go visit my friends’ blogs to see their posts, too:
- Cheryl of Busy Since Birth
- Danielle of Another Version
- Lisa of Squared Mommy
- Melissa of A Wide Line
- Phyllis of Napkin Hoarder