Note: In October, I’m doing a month-long treatise on habits. All of the posts will be found here if you’d like to read them in order.
I’m in a grumpy mood and feeling stressed, and it’s 8:41 A.M. on a Sunday. I’ve had my cafe au lait, and the hubz is cooking breakfast. What could be wrong about this scenario?
I slept in.
After establishing the habit of arising early, I find that sleeping in just ain’t worth it.
I justified my staying in bed until 7:30 this morning this way:
- The baby had a rough night last night. She usually sleeps well, but she’s cutting eyeteeth or molars or something, and woke up frequently to nurse, and generally kicked and thrashed around.
- We had a very active day, and I was dog-tired and sore by 9. We walked over 2 miles to the library (and I held the above mentioned tot most of the way, as well as chased her around the library preventing her from wreaking havoc amongst the shelves), we went to the park and did our jungle “gym” exercise routine, as well as playing on the playground, where I practice my pull-ups and have to “spot” the tot so she doesn’t fall from the various structures (I’m far from a helicopter parent, but this playground is not designed for little ones).
- I’ve had this niggling soreness/numbness/tingling in the middle of my back that I can’t seem to shake. I’ve tried stretching and massage but I can’t get rid of it.
- I burned the soles of my feet Friday walking on hot asphalt. When your feet hurt, you hurt all over.
But again – even though these are perfectly legit reasons for sleeping in, the sleep just isn’t worth what I miss out on.
“Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure – that of being Salvador Dali”. – Salvador Dali
I have a feeling that Dali meant something entirely different when he made that statement than I mean when I say: in the morning, I get to be Carrie. Just Carrie.
When I wake up with my children, I am immediately “ON”. If you don’t have kids, imagine it this way: having your boss awaken you in the morning, first thing, and dumping your workload in your lap before you’ve showered, had coffee, and gone through whatever rituals you do to wake up.
This reminds me of a story my mother often tells. When she and my dad first married, he was a police officer. She describes watching him go through the ritual of showering, shaving and putting on his uniform and hat. As he did so, she would notice with fascination that he would become a policeman while he dressed. His entire demeanor subtly shifted from loving, gentle father and husband to… Atlanta COP.
Missing out on my ritual this morning means I’m unprepared to be the best mom (and wife, even) that I can be.
Because when I get up early, I get my writing done, which means it doesn’t distract and niggle at the back of my brain all day. I can be more present with my kids. When I get up early I check a few things off my to-do list immediately, and feel a sense of accomplishment that boosts my confidence all day. When I get up early, I have time for movement – even though I don’t exercise in the morning, getting a jump-start gives me more time so I don’t procrastinate later.
For me, this habit is going to be a life-long routine.
Do you get up early? What benefits do you most enjoy?