So over the past few weeks after our loss we’ve had a bit of an upheaval in our routines. Some things take all day when really they shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to an hour. This happened before (duh, it happens to the greatest of us all right?) but it has been almost consistent every day for the past 7 weeks or so. This seems to be a trend in many families- the falling off of the wagon-so I’m hoping some of you will pop in with your ideas on how to take care of this kind of business).
I’ve been sleeping pretty crappy like. When I do get a few decent hours I feel like I have a hangover til late afternoon. My provider recommended a sleeping herb blend to try for the next two months, just to get my body back into some kind of productive rhythm (ingredients include valerian, melatonin, passionflower, 5-HTP ). I have noticed I do have a better quality sleep, and I sleep longer when I do take it. But. Always a but. I still take hours to feel like I have a pulse again. The kids end up either slacking off, playing outside, or working on an activity in their curriculum for hours. Like math problems. I know a lot of it is me since I’m only halfway present. So I need to figure something out.
So I’m looking for ideas to help ease me into life in the AM. Maybe make it a bit more peaceful. My reasoning is if I can wake up not so hard and not with 3
cannons kids outside my bedroom door, maybe I can assimilate into the day a bit better and be of use to my family. I need to make it go as smooth as possible. My brainstorming has included:
START AT BEDTIME
- Start at bedtime. If I want to make sure I’m getting enough sleep, I need to do for myself what I do for the kids: Insist on a proper bedtime routine and time down. So. No more Walking Dead or Sherlock til midnight (my mean bedtime). I’m hoping to have lights out and screens off by 1030. Which means I need to take my herbs at 10 to give them a bit of time to digest and permeate.
- No eating after dinner. I have vivid dreams if I ingest anything outside of water or herbal tea after 7 PM. Ya know how they tell you if you want to lose weight to not eat after a certain time? Well that’s another reason to not to.
- Coffee ready. We already (for the most part) have coffee ready to turn on and drip before we go to bed. I’ll be attempting to make this a routine thing when I clean up after dinner. I’ve found myself waiting in bed under the warm covers for J to get home from work to make me coffee, while the kids usually are either still sleeping or turn on the TV. Yah. I’ve turned into that mom.
- Breakfast plan ready to go. I’ve done crockpot breakfasts, and they have worked out well. However. It isn’t really feasible every morning in my opinion for my household. Considering what I know to do is potatoes and eggs or oatmeal. Soooo if you have any other crockpot breakfast ideas that don’t have to be sugar laden or full of crap let me know. We don’t do commercial cereals. We do eat a lot of oatmeal w/ different flavors (apricot/other fruit sauce and honey, peanut butter and peaches, etc), and eggs. M has gotten pretty well versed in the cooking of these, but I feel I rely too much on him to help feed himself and his siblings while I’m trying to roll myself towards the kitchen. So. Conundrum. Suppose I could stock the fridge with greek yogurt and put together some granola. That’ll have to be a lot of granola.
- Go over the next day the night before. This is for me. If I have a plan set up, if I know what each lesson will entail, if I know what we’re going to eat and how I need to make it, maybe it’ll be a good incentive to get up to make sure everything gets done. When I was a single mom in college, the biggest thing was my planner. I had a simple but effective routine for me and M. And when it came to my feelings and dread and fear about getting things done, somehow I had set it aside and just.did.it. Things got done. This was one of those tips that helped me stay on track and keep the emotions out of it. The thing in recent years has been that I’m not accountable to anyone but myself and my kids, and really they’re just happy with a cardboard box and a bag of apples every day. So my expectations for myself have dwindled considerably.
- Move the 15 minute clean up to the bedtime routine. Of course the starting of getting ready for bed. So I started this a long time ago (inspired by FlyLady) where I set the stove timer for 15 minutes, everyone (including two year old sometimes) helps pick up stuff on the floors, sweep, vacuum, and spot mop til it goes off. I like to do this every day and have done it at different times. The last weeks however it hasn’t really gotten done consistently. If we can move it to the beginning of the routine maybe it’ll be a good kickoff to the last release of energy then onto relaxing, cleaning up ourselves and reading. And waking up to a clean house might be easier to do than dreading looking at it in the morning.
- Look for ways to keep kids QUIET when they wake up. When E and Young J wake up, it’s like a cannon. That’s one reason I dread mornings. These ways have in the past included 1- Stay in your room til the sun is COMPLETELY UP, and 2- Turn on Netflix and get yourself a snack before breakfast. I know some of you may be rolling your eyes and squealing ‘just get your butt out of bed before they wake up you lazy jackass!’ So I could do that. But it’d probably be 4 AM. Sorry no. I draw the line.
- Give them alarms. Set the rule that they are to play quietly til it goes off, then they can get ready for the day. A valuable part of your routine is setting up a wake up time. In my experience this has evolved into various morning times, from 530 AM when I was going to college classes at 730 10 years ago to nothing now. I think I will do this one. Maybe it’ll turn into me being able to have alone coffee time before they even wake up. ha. ha.
- The whispering rule. As in til I have 3 cups of coffee down my gullet no one shall speak above a whisper or ask me anything. This doesn’t seem realistic with a two year old.
- Give them a routine checklist to do. Get dressed. Pick up blankets where you slept (my kids migrate from bed to floor to fort depending on their moods). Feed pets. Check the weather. Get out whatever supplies for activities you need for the day. So this concept of a routine checklist has many names like ‘chore chart’ and ‘routine chart’. And those last two would probably be better for the night before- like getting ready for public school or work, you check and pack your bag and lunch the night before so you don’t have to do it in the morning. That way you can sleep more. It doesn’t apply to us unfortunately. But it could you!
- Keep the TV off. This is my secondary goal. I’d like to limit our TV time to less than what we do now. You see how I vaguely imply the TV is almost constantly on? It’s not, though sometimes it seems like it. Suppose turning on the radio, listening to an indie or kid’s station on Pandora since there’s usually news in the morning, would be a better idea for entertainment. This might help put us all into better moods in the morning and wake up a bit better. Music sure has a lot of benefits.
- Put Pajama Day on the calendar so that it becomes sacred and not abused. I found this idea here (as many of these ideas). I actually like this idea, and hope I can become more disciplined to enact and follow through on it.
- Give them a special AM drink. Nothing that would cause them harm of course. Hot chocolate? Tea? We usually just drink water or kefir, so this can be tricky. However, each child has had their own ‘coffee’ with us in the mornings at some point. But since we do a ‘before breakfast’ snack now (usually a piece of fruit), we can replace that with a special drink while breakfast is getting ready. And they can only have it at the table. Which means they’ll have to stay somewhat in place. Hm.
- Eat said breakfast plan right away. This goes for me and the kids. This could eliminate the feeling of HANGRY an hour after waking, and maybe help calm the kids before they become louder and louder.
- Chug a liter of water upon waking. Drinking water in the morning right after you pee can help keep you hydrated, and helps you wake up- that rush sensation of cold water down into your belly. Liter or glass. Just more than a sip I suppose. I can work on this while I’m waiting for enough coffee to brew for a cup.
- Stay off tech while drinking the coffee. When I get up, I trudge to the kitchen and pour myself a cup of coffee. I drag myself to the couch, slump down, and usually tap out my dreams in a journal, check my animals on Hay Day, of course email. Since I took a hiatus from social networking personally, it’s been easier on my head. So maybe a rule of no checking of the phone before 10 AM.
So this was a great brainstorming session. I’m hoping it’ll help me not feel so down and useless all day. Time to move on and make what we can out of life eh?
How is your morning routine? What helps you sleep better?