Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Oh, mornings! Although I'm an early riser by nature, when I worked as a teacher, and as a full-time mom, there are some mornings when I'm not quite ready to jump full force into life.

I can remember the first sumer Nick and I were married: both of us on summer break from our jobs. Although I took a class, and Nick did work about 8h a day, most of our time was flexibly ours. 8am waking felt early and late all at the same time (it would for you, if you were a teacher!).

Time as a parent has a strange semi-scheduled quality. Structure happens, but only appointments or classes are by the clock. The essentials of everyday bend to children's capacity, and this parent's capacity! Things that don't get "done" in a day, may not be that important... meriting dropping or postponing.

But once a rhythm gets going, it can be hard to change my perspective. My time is "my" time. Somehow, Nick wakes at 5 or 5:30am every day and either bikes to campus to work out, or drives early to study. He's gone within a half hour of waking. Since I'm now providing childcare to a young toddler, I've started waking 1h earlier (than I have since Evan was a newborn)... but wouldn't it happen that both kids wake 1h earlier, too! Nick and I have gone over every possibility: he's too loud going out the side door with his bike? The upstairs neighbors wake and start moving around at that time? Room needs to be darker in this summer light? Earlier bedtime? Harder play in the late evening? More filling dinner? Writing it out makes it sound more dire than the conversation is around our house. Earlier is mostly fine, since both 2 year old Evan and 4 year old Abigail are dressed, fed, and playing by the time little L arrives at 7am.

Really, the problem are my expectations. Going to bed 30-60 min earlier in order to wake 30-60 earlier means my time is filled with different tasks. Am I willing to trade 30 min of reading or talking to Nick for 30 min of unloading the dishwasher and getting snacks and lunch ready for the day free of kids under feet? Nope.

Is it ok to not give the kids my full attention, requesting that they find and put on or take off their clothes, while unloading the dishwasher? Probably! The catch is, they know my attention is divided and it's the skirmishes that sap energy just when the day needs to get a move on.

Maybe the morning we go camping this weekend will be ok? Nick hopes so... :-)

Father's Day "Good morning" hug.
We had guests and shared a room with our kids.

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