Well, I’ve delayed as long as I could, and I’ve pretended that it wasn’t necessary, but this morning I faced the fact: I must start getting out of bed at 6:15 am instead of 6:30 am. Ouch. That’s a big, big difference.
This morning, we had a cranky morning – an unpleasant combination of dawdling and rushing — and that kind of morning has become all too common. If everything goes perfectly, we can ALMOST get to the Big Girl’s school by the time I want to get her there. But the fact is, the morning never goes perfectly.
Two things combined to force me to recognize that I wasn’t getting up early enough. First, this morning I behaved particularly badly. I nagged, I snapped, I “talked in a mean voice.” And behaving badly just makes me more crabby, and then I act worse, and so on.
Also, a few days ago the Big Girl told me, “You know how some people arrive at school when everyone else is already sitting at their seats? That’s what I do.” My heart sank. I’m a big believer in the importance of having time to get yourself organized before school or work, so I did NOT like hearing that.
One of my Secrets of Adulthood is “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” I’d been telling myself that we ran late every once in a while, but in fact, we were almost always a little late.
For years, when I just dropped the Big Girl off at school, we always ran early. Somehow, this year, I’ve been thinking that we were still early arrivers, when in fact, the need to get the Little Girl ready for school, too, has meant that we’ve been running late.
Samuel Johnson, still interesting after all these years, made a related observation:
One sophism by which men persuade themselves that they have those virtues which they really want, is formed by the substitution of single acts for habits. A miser who once relieved a friend from the danger of a prison, suffers his imagination to dwell for ever upon his own heroick generosity…so vices are extenuated by the inversion of that fallacy…Those faults which we cannot conceal from our own notice, are considered, however frequent, not as habitual corruptions, or settled practices, but as casual failures, and single lapses.
There’s a very simple solution: get up earlier. If I can get myself organized earlier, which includes time to fix my own breakfast and check my email, I can get my daughters organized earlier. Also, the Big Man usually goes to work very early, so if we’re getting ready earlier, he’ll be able to help more.
But boy, it’s going to be hard to lose those last fifteen minutes of sleep. And it also means that, because I think it’s so important to be well-rested, I’m going to have to go to sleep fifteen minutes earlier, which means just that much less time in that precious interval between my children’s bedtime and my bedtime.
Nevertheless, I have to switch to 6:15. Having a peaceful, cheery morning is just too important to happiness (here are some other tips).
Have you found any good strategies for keeping your morning serene?
My friend, Allison Gilbert, is an Emmy award-winning journalist and author of Always Too Soon: Voices of Support for Those Who Have Lost Both Parents. She needs your help with research she’s doing for her next book, Parentless Parents: How the Deaths of Our Mothers and Fathers Impact the Way We Parent Our Own Children (Hyperion).
Parentless parents face challenges other parents don’t. They can’t to turn to their own parents for advice and guidance and they struggle to keep the memory of their parents alive for their children. As part of her research, Allison is conducting an online survey. If you’re a parent who has lost your own parents, please click below and take the survey. You can also just send it to people you know, who they can pass the link on to people they know, and so on and so on…Think of it as a Breck commercial for the survey set.
Allison is trying to get 1,000+ respondents and she needs our help!
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