If you ask anyone who knows me well, they’ll tell you that I’m not exactly a morning person. I’m grateful that my dad, who used to wake me for school every morning, does not know how to comment on blogs or facebook because he would have A LOT to say on the subject. And frankly, I would not come off looking so great. But a lot has changed over the years and one of the major shifts that has occurred since having Avi is my morning routine.
I used to be that person who woke up at the very last possible moment. I’d snooze for 45 minutes and with each press of the button, I’d convince myself that I didn’t need to shower that morning, didn’t need to eat breakfast, or didn’t need to put on a full face of makeup. I squeezed out every last minute of sleep I could get. Of course, once Avi was born everything about my sleep schedule changed. Even after we hired our sleep coach and Avi started sleeping through the night, he was still an early riser - getting up anywhere between 5-6am most mornings. And of course, I needed to pump, so I would get up at 5am and get myself ready for the day before I had to take care of Avi.
As this continued, I noticed something interesting - I started to enjoy these mornings. I enjoyed the quiet time before everyone else woke up and I enjoyed the time to myself. It was a great feeling to be done with my own tasks so that I could be present with Avi for what I called ‘our special morning time’. So even after I stopped pumping, I continued to wake up at 5am so that I could workout and take care of my own stuff before Avi awoke.
Slowly, the rhythm of my day began to adjust to this new schedule. I no longer had to force myself to go to sleep early because I was actually tired and ready for bed. Shockingly, I began to think of myself as a morning person.
Several months ago though, my entire schedule started to change as I went from working full-time to part-time at my office job. I’m a creature of habit and as such, many of my behaviors are connected to and dependent on other behaviors. For example, I needed to be at work at from 8am-4pm and therefore; my day was always planned around those hours. If working out was going to be a priority for me, then it had to happen at 5am. I had no trouble getting up that early because it was aligned with the rest of the day. But once that 8-4 schedule started to shift, my other habits started to shift too. Before I knew it, I was waking up at 5:30am. And once I left my old job completely, my wake-up time shifted to 6am. At first it worked because Avi had started waking up later, as well - between 6:30-7am.
For several weeks, I fell into a routine of waking up at 6am, having a cup of tea, a morning meditation, and creating my to-do list for the day. Avi would wake up around 6:30am, and we would start our day together. My workouts moved to 8am, after drop off (since I no longer needed to be at the office). It was lovely. But then something happened. I don’t know what it was or what caused the change, but Avi started to wake up earlier again. He threw off my entire morning routine and I started getting annoyed.
So this is where I am now. Avi has been getting up consistently between 5:45-6am for about 3 weeks now and it’s completely messed up my mornings. Instead of having my nice slow start to the day, I feel thrown in and I’m struggling to bounce back. I keep trying to get him to sleep later - I’ve tried putting him to bed earlier and putting him to bed later. I’ve tried messing with his nap time. But nothing seems to work. And every morning is the same - I wake up to the sounds of Avi crying over the monitor and I start my day in a bad mood.
And this morning, it hit me. I may not be in control of Avi’s wake-up time, but I do have some control in this situation. If I require a slow and quiet start to the day, then I need to create it for myself. And it’s up to me if that type of morning is worth the extra 30 minutes of sleep. For months, I woke up up 5am and I made it work. I even enjoyed it. But it was tough for me to keep that habit when the foundation of my days (my 8-4 schedule) changed. But this is my new normal and so I need to decide what will work for me. I can wake up earlier and regain my slow morning or I can keep things how they are. But if I go that route, I need to make peace with the fact that my mornings will be unpredictable. I can’t allow myself to be in a bad mood every time it doesn’t go the way I want it to.
My gut tells me to start my mornings earlier. That my body will adjust to the new timing and that my mind and nerves will thank me for it. The more I tell myself this, the more I know that it’s true. And maybe by the time I post this, I’ll have willed my fingers to change the time on my alarm.