Silence. Alone time. Coffee. Prayers. Mindless thoughts. Exercise.
All the things a mama craves at some point of her day (or maybe not, that’s my short list). As a mother of two little ladies it’s nearly impossible to even use the restroom without a barge through the bathroom door and being handed a crayon, or having a child dance in the shower with her toothbrush.
I JUST WANT ME TIME.
Doing whatever it may be, but doing it alone. Because quite frankly, I deserve it, I want it, and I NEED it. We all need our own time. When I work at the hospital, or when I am managing mom duties, I don’t count this as me time. It’s time I’m serving another population and meeting their needs. For real people. I love my husband and lil girlies, but I WANNA BE ALONE SOME DAYS (whew, I said it).
Insert my newest mission. Mantra perhaps. I will own my mornings. Yes. Own them. I was up extremely early one day a couple months ago, not by choice, but by the choice of my breast-loving 17 month old at the time, and caved. There was no point in going back to bed. I perused the internet with no specific goal, and came across the phrase, “I will own my mornings.” I stopped in my tracks. Yes. I want that! I want to own that! I have always been a morning person vs night owl, and love the thought (goal perhaps?) of consistently being up before the other humans in my home. The reality of my stage in motherhood has not always allowed for this, but the women in me pressurizing myself says otherwise.
At that moment I decided the heck with it, I am owning my mornings and I will MAKE it happen.
I have other mama friends who want that phrase to be their mama-mantra also, and I am here to tell you, just do it. Succeed and fail at it along the way, and you will be even cooler. It has been that one simple phrase has led me through two months of living it out, succeeding and failing. I am here to tell you that I rock this new mantra of mine, and I constantly fail at it. And it is ok.
So, while the thought of owning my mornings seems glamorous and glorious, I am here to actually give you some practical recommendations on how you can do so as well – if it be of any interest to you (because, quite frankly, sometime sleep trumps anything). Keep in mind mamas, I get it, not everyone has the ‘luxury’ of even entertaining the idea of owning your mornings. I have been there, and I am there many times as it is, BUT even if you attempt to own one morning a week the results will be awesome! Don’t be fooled in believing you have to be supermom in the morning, be up with your cape on ready to take on the world at 4:45am (eventhough I am sure some of you actually do this!). You can simply set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier then usual, and make it a HABIT to wake when it rings in your ear – knowing that some days you will simply hit snooze.
The following list is just a few ways I have personally chosen to make use out of the extra time I make for myself in the morning.
#1 EXERCISE – my top choice by far. I make it a goal to be up before the birds and exercise at least 3 or 4 times a week during this time. This has either involved walking with a mama walking buddy, hitting the 6am boot camp at my gym, or walking solo. Even if I sleep in a tad longer than I want (uhhemm, like today) I still make it a goal to get a good 30minute power walk in before the husband is up and thus the littles are running circles around the kitchen. If I can get my Fit Bit to register at least 3k steps before 7am, at the minimum, I am a happy camper. Exercising in the morning has it’s benefits as well, besides being able to just do it without little people to work around. Sweat first thing in the morning is not only a proven way to rev your metabolism, but can help with sleep later in the evening, and is overall a great way to start the day for your brain and peace of mind. I purposely don’t have headphones when I walk solo, and I try to stay off of my phone, instead I just watch the world and listen. Hoping no one notices my dirty hair and lack of makeup as I’m power walking around the bend.
#2 SIT & SAVOR – that’s right. Just chill out. Brew my coffee (or even have it on a timer to be brewed before I get up), light a candle, open the patio door (when it’s not as humid as hades out) and just be. I have a small sunroom where I can sit on my couch and look at the sunrise. Or I will choose to sit outside on the patio and pray the bugs don’t eat me alive. Either way, I’m just soaking in the morning goodness. I love nature, and I love what our creator has provided for us, and so many times I go about my day just oblivious to the beauty of our earth. So sit mama, savor whatever floats your boat, read your trash magazine, drink your java, and eat your breakfast in peace and quiet. Whether it is 1 hour or 15 minutes before your house awakes, just take advantage of it. Sit and savor.
#3 PRAY & READ – I need my alone time with God. I have a wonderful devotional that I have read through one time, and am on round two currently. It is great. All about the ups, downs, humor and craziness that motherhood has to offer. Reading one very short chapter a day (I am talking like 2 pages, they are short and perfect!) first thing in the morning has helped me focus and refocus over and over. If you have a devotional, meditations, Bible study, journaling, or just reading in general you cherish and cannot find time to do, I encourage you to wake up 30 minutes earlier and just do it. I have many books I want to read, and maybe (insert ZERO) I have actually read from front to back. I NEED to wake up 30 minutes earlier than usual, put in those contacts and brush the crazy whirly hairs away from my eyes, sit and read. Maybe just one chapter or a few chapters, but just read. This is one of my yearly New Years Resolutions that I always fail at (hence why I despise NY Resolutions), but hope to begin accomplishing as I continue to attempt to own these mornings of mine.
#4 CREATE – yup. Create. Dinner is usually what I create. You can create anything though. I love to cook, and I love to have my daugher help, but sometimes it’s nice to get rolling before dawn and say “Dinner is done!” prior to my husband’s 7:30am alarm. Now, don’t be fooled, I dont go for gourmet 5 star meals on mornings I decide to prep dinner before I am done with cup of coffee #1. These are ususally the days I am thinking crockpot, marinade, or chop. Here are a few of my favorite easy, healthy, and go to side dishes and meals that can be prepped early in the morning and have little to no follow up care required – Memphis Style Pulled Pork , Chopped Cucumber Caprese Salad , Baked Chicken Breasts (I will make in am and then chop up for salad or reheat later), and our very favorite Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad (make the chicken the night before).
#5 PLAN – Grocery lists. The agenda for the day. Menu for the week. Following up to business emails. Plan. Sometimes I need alone time, that is not nap time, to just start my day in planning mode. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I can get some planning done, not to mention it can help the day be smoother when I get some of these goodies accomplished early in my day. A secondary activity I will ususally do when I am in morning plan mode is throw in a load of laundry. Check. Laundry load #1 off my list. Whatever ‘planning’ means for you, embrace it and conquer it, even if it is just 15minutes of whatever task you are trying to plan out. Do it!
My dear mamas, I get it, some of you are reading this shaking your head like “Heck no she didnt just say that like it’s sooo easy” and others are raising their hands shouting “Halleluiah, I am not alone!”
Owning our mornings is a process. It’s a test. It’s a trial.
How do you own your mornings, my early rising mamas? To those of you who don’t, but want to do so, what is your idea of morning ownership? Share! We all can benefit!