I haven’t slept an 8 hour stretch since Chloe was 6 months old. The thought of how sleep deprived I am literally makes me tear up. Chloe started sleeping the night at 6 months, and so I had a blissful two weeks of sleeping the night as well, until I got pregnant with Ben. After that, there was no straight 8 hours of sleep. The sleep fairy must not like me very much.
Lately, I’ve been trying to be more positive and optimistic. Taking things that feel negative to me and trying to turn them into a positive by seeing them as a challenge and that usually begins with how our days start off. This is just a list of things I’m trying to do to start all of us off right and to keep the day running smoothly.
1. Start the day at 7am. Regardless if Ben or Chloe wake up at 6:15, 6:35 or 6:50, we do not get out of bed until 7am (unless someone is screaming like a banshee). Getting dressed before leaving my room really helps me to not laze around in my housecoat and pjs.
2. Smile when I get the children from their beds. I read that on a blog somewhere and it’s really stuck. Despite the fact that some nights I feel so sleep deprived that the last thing I want to do is smile at the one(s) who kept me up, it really affects everyone’s attitude; mainly mine.
3. Be more positive than you feel. This one is tough and I constantly need to remind myself that despite the fact that I may have locked my keys in the locked garage thereby cancelling any and all outings for the day (including our morning run because the stroller was in there), it can still be a good day and we’ll find something else to do.
4. Be flexible. Babies need flexibility within a routine. Some days they need that early nap right when you normally run out to get groceries, go for a jog, etc. I have to remind myself to be flexible, and that it’s ok to go do such and such after Ben takes a nap.
5. Coffee. Don’t forget it and to get optimal happiness from it, brew it when you know you can drink it hot. No one likes drinking lukewarm/cold coffee or microwaving it 6 times. Chloe now helps me by turning on the Keurig, putting in a k-cup, and pushing all the right buttons. Don’t worry. I keep her far away when it starts to brew.
6. No TV or Facebook. Definitely don’t start the day with this. For a long time I would get up, feed the babies, throw Chloe in front of the tv to watch some morning cartoons while I checked emails, Facebook, coupon trades and blogs. Don’t do it. It slows down your day. Now I avoid it until nap time. Chloe and I are in much better moods when I do this.
7. Morning Prayers. This is a must. They don’t have to be long or elaborate, but they have to happen. Right now I can manage the Mass readings and a reflection based on those readings. Then I say a short prayer asking for patience, simplicity and love. Further prayers and reflections happen at nap time, family Rosary after supper and once the kids are in bed.
8. Get outside. I have found I can get more things done in the day when I exercise with the kids. It’s really killing many birds with one stone. I exercise, we all get fresh air, we spend time together and they get tuckered out.
9. Play with your kids. Don’t forget to play. That’s all they want. Just to spend some time with you!
10. Get the cleaning, tidying, etc done before naps. And get your toddlers to help if they can. Chloe unloads the dishwasher, has her own little pile of laundry to ‘fold’ and sometimes helps make beds and put away toys. Sometimes I’ll get her to ‘sweep’ while I clean.
These things really help me start and end the day off positively. Sometimes they don’t happen, but I have found that if I can do them, I am a better, happier person and so are my kids.