The ideal morning
My ideal morning begins with waking up and carrying out morning tasks without thinking about them. I wake up, get my coffee, and check in with my family. I don’t check e-mail, I don’t check Facebook. I get out of bed and try to be present in the moment and just “be”.
The difficult part of trying to be present is I am operating around chaos. There are dirty dishes in the sink, legos everywhere, and clutter from allowing myself to “live” in my home.
I am also not alone in my morning. I have a husband, six-year old son, and a black lab. There are two scenarios with my son when I wake up. (1) He is dressed and playing on his own; or (2) he sees that I am awake and starts his barrage of questions and/or requests for things he needs. If I am on my game, I will say “I need to get my coffee first and then I’ll be back”. This gives me a few minutes to myself and makes a statement that I will care for myself first. When I am not on my game, I get drawn into his needs and he reminds me that (1) we don’t have food for breakfast, or (2) there isn’t anything healthy to eat for breakfast so he is going to eat candy. Or there are no socks that match and I can’t remember if it’s a cold lunch day.
The dog just wants to eat. What I learned in puppy training class is if you don’t eat before the dog, you are not seen as the alpha dog. I don’t, therefore, feed him right when I wake up. Even though it would be easier. As I move about the house, he is right on my heels wondering when it will be his turn.
My husband is less complicated. The stressful parts of our morning together is sharing a box-sized kitchen, single bathroom and coordinating the morning so when he is ready to go to work our son is ready to go with him.
There are many activities that I could get done in the mornings. I could get up early and workout for the day. I could run a load of laundry each morning so there are clean clothes for when we want them. I could make a hot breakfast for everyone and feel June Cleaver-like. I could pick up the main floor of the house so when I return from work, there isn’t a mess waiting for me.
I use to do all of those things, not at the same stage of my life, but I did them and I felt more efficient in the morning. Like I had accomplished something before the day got started. Now I chose to be at a different stage in my life. I want to feel rested when I get up in the morning and I want to be ready to hit the ground running when I start my work day. I drink coffee because I enjoy it, not because I cannot function without it.
It is really easy to spend time in the morning doing mindless tasks before you leave for work. This may work for most people. For me, it starts to siphon the energy I need for my day, including the energy I would like to have after work when I get home and reunite with my family.
When I make a decision to do less in the morning, my day as a whole is more satisfying.
I have implemented a few shortcuts to make more mornings automated. I keep a stash of lunches and snacks at work so packing my lunch isn’t an issue. I have a style of work clothes that I wear which makes it easy to select my outfit. Super casual = jeans, cotton shirt and scarf; casual = cotton or sweater dress with leggings and boots; or business = dress with scarf or necklace, pantyhose and my standard pair of dress shoes.
I do my best to streamline other morning necessities. I prepare the coffee the night before and have it brew before I wake up. I buy clothes that I know my son will wear – swishy pants, neon colored shirts and fun socks. No buttons, zippers or strings. Cold lunch days are Lunchables® or the hummus/pretzel packs - hopefully I can find the ice pack and the lunchbox.
The search for outdoor gear is simplified. My son has multiple cotton hats and gloves. Some are his dad's stocking hats from prior years but they fit fine. None of it may match, but there is usually something to wear. One pair of shoes. One pair of boots. They are usually in one of three places. The television stays off.
I wait until my husband is showered and dressed before I beeline for the bathroom to get ready. I keep my make-up to loose powder and lipgloss. I shower everyday but wash my hair every few days and then I let it airdry, it holds a nice wave. If I get myself too gussied up everyday, people will notice when I don’t, therefore, I keep things basic.
I am envious of women that are smartly dressed and have neatly applied make-up and a trendy hairstyle. There may be a stage in my life where that will be me. Right now, I am enjoying the simple morning.