Time is the great equalizer, that's what my mom always said. People might have different resources when it comes to money, health, family, friendships, but we all have the same amount of time. This must be why it's so fascinating to learn how other people use their time, particularly how their day begins.
Lately, my mornings go somewhat like this:
Somewhere between 6 and 6:30 am I wake up to the sound of my little boy crying our or Classical MPR. There's no sleeping in around here. Now that he shares a room with his sister, they can often entertain themselves until 7:00 am. Both are such roosters that I have made a little rule that they need to stay in their room until 7:00.
I don't mean to be mean and selfish, but I need a little quiet time to myself. Morning is really the only time I have to read and write, and I am not an early bird. Every single time I have tried to get up before the kids, they wake up too and I end up disappointed and frustrated. My kids have a sixth sense about this.
I try to rouse myself by brushing my teeth, turning on a lamp, and opening the curtains (if it's light out). I get back in bed sitting up this time, arrange pillows, and try to read or write until 7:30. Most of the time, this is all paper. No smart phone, no laptop. Paper books, paper journal, paper notepad to jot down to-do items that I can bring downstairs with me.
In the meantime, my husband gets up and paves the way for the day. At 7:00 the little ones come in to cuddle with me or keep dad company in the bathroom. My five year old talks his ear off while he shaves!
A child in each arm, my little ones ride The Daddy Train to the breakfast table. He feeds them their favorite cereal: Archer Farms strawberry and blueberry granola, pink for the girl and blue for the boy. The French roast, French pressed coffee routine begins.
The older kids are usually up doing their morning chores (empty dishwasher, feed cats, start laundry, dust) by the time my husband starts his morning conference calls from home. I force myself out of bed to shower and dress. Before leaving my room I make the bed. I head downstairs, grateful for the gift of time my husband and children give me.
I need this - afternoons no longer have a quiet time (for me, anyway) and at night I am too tired. If I am not tired and stay up late trying to read, write, or get things done, I am too wired to sleep.
Ideally I am down by 8:00 am and we begin breakfast. Sometimes the kids help - making toast, oatmeal, or even eggs. Sometimes we eat and pray together before dad goes to work. If the daily cleaning (mudroom, kitchen, floors, bathrooms) is not yet done, we tackle this after breakfast. I steal a few minutes to check email while I sip coffee and we all kiss Dad good-bye.
I used to spend time with the little ones first, filling their tanks, but now they go off and play. I like getting to the big kids before they are off doing their independent work. We read about the saint of the day, do 24 Family Ways, Lingua Angelica, and Logic of English. Depending on the day, we rotate Classic Tunes and Tales, History of Architecture, art time, and Friday Fairy Tales. I've found this is a prime time to pull out something from the Shirley's Craft box to get the 5 yo used to being with us at the table.
Of course, this Together Time happens when there are no other interruptions: in-home speech for the 3 year old, out of home speech for 4th grader, orthodontist, or other appointments. Too often Together Time ends up on the chopping block.
After Together Time we do the laundry shuffle, a diaper change, and other assorted tasks like taking meat out of the freezer to thaw. Sometimes there's time before lunch to gather the little ones on the sofa and to read and do kindergarten books. Other times (honestly) there's not.
I try to drop whatever it is I am doing about 11:30 to make lunch so we can eat around noon and the kids can go outside afterwards, but in reality this happens somewhere between 11:30 and 1:30. Sometimes I eat while I am prepping lunch so that I can read aloud during lunch, sometimes we listen to a Sparkle Story, and other times we just gab. My kids have an affinity for sitting around the table gabbing. Do yours?
To be continued . . .