In my last blog, I talked about the joy I’ve been experiencing by finally having a morning routine in place which starts off with around 2 hours of uninterrupted alone time. I’ve been doing the things that would prep me for the day like read my Bible and journal while eating, read a few pages from my book of the day/week/month, and just do anything else that I long to do in silence.
I was talking to one of my mommy friends the other day about how challenging it is to find alone time, especially when you have younger kids. We said that’s probably why moms stay up late at night –it’s to claim an hour or two of solid uninterrupted video/reading/writing/relaxing time. I told her that years of living like that led me to have major sleeping problems and eventually, health problems. So I flipped it. I slept early when my youngest daughter slept (sometimes even earlier than she does!) then I’d claim my me-time in the morning!
It was all going so well…until yesterday…when my morning was hijacked!
My 8-year-old has seen the benefits of my morning routine and she wanted it for herself too. At first, I bargained if I could at least have an hour to myself before waking her up. I’d do my Bible and journal time alone then I’d wake her up so we could do her Bible time together. Nope. She didn’t want it. She said she’d quietly read while I read. She wanted to experience my quiet mornings too. She said I seemed happier and more peaceful during the day, plus I was more productive.
She had a point. I gave in.
It was a struggle to give up my precious morning time. It sounds selfish, I know, but it’s the truth. It wasn’t all that bad, really, but…it was no longer quiet. I was also taking care of her morning needs and no longer just taking care of mine. She was still quite sleepy at 6 am so I also had to work around her mood. It took a while for us to start our reading time. I could see the clock ticking and my heart started to sink as I counted the minutes `til I’d have to start working. (Don’t get me wrong. I love what I do but to be able to do the work I do everyday, I need to make sure my mind and heart are in the right place.)
We got through our morning and like I said, it wasn’t all the bad. However, it just wasn’t what I wanted. Yes, it was all about me. So last night I bargained yet again. “Just give me thirty minutes to myself in the morning, then I’ll wake you up. Please? ” She said yes.
Today though, as I tried to get out of bed she held on tight and hugged me. She said, “five more minutes, please?“
Okay. Five minutes.
Time’s up. I got up and….she got up with me. My heart sank just a little. “Perspective, perspective. Look at it from a different perspective.” I kept telling myself. So I did. We’re both up, it’s a new day, let’s try to make this work today. A few minutes later, my eldest woke up too! Okay, 3 morning drinks and 3 sets of breakfast. “This is okay. Everything is going to be okay.”
I was at peace with it today. Fantastic. Today is already better than yesterday. My heart is in a better place.
All I had to do was prep something yummy and quick, and head into our home office and start my reading time. If my youngest wanted to join me, then great. If not, it’s alright. She could stay in the living room with her brother. (We could technically stay in different rooms in the morning but my daughter doesn’t like being alone, plus she still needs me to help her read a few words.)
Breakfast prep was done, I sat at my desk, ready to dive in and two minutes later she’s in the room too. She had the phone in her hand because she said she had to check on the apartment she was designing on the game she was playing. That’s when I slightly blew it. It’s one thing to wake up in the morning with me and want to do Bible and devo time while I do mine. That was the agreement. I’d let her into my mornings if that’s what she’d do too. I felt like she wasn’t meeting her end of the bargain. I was about to go off on her and started with — “See? This is why I have to start my days with God. Otherwise, I’m a mess with a short fuse.” I stopped. I felt bad. I had to be better than this. I was in control of my emotions and my words.
I continued by telling her in a calmer tone that if she didn’t want to read her Bible, I wasn’t going to force her because that’s just not how it’s meant to be. If she wants to – fantastic. Do it because there is a desire to do it and do it joyfully – and not because someone told you to do it. I said she could do whatever she wanted but she could do it somewhere else. I just desperately needed my reading time.
She said she really wants to do whatever it is I’m doing. So she put the phone away and opened her Bible and started reading quietly, just asking me to help her out with a few words. While she was reading she said, “God is so powerful. I really need to trust God more.” A few minutes later she was done, she got ready for the day, put her headphones on, and told me that as I spend more time reading, she’d be outside dancing. “You get to do what you love to do, while I get to do what I love to do.” And that was that.
As a mom, I really struggle with selfishness. I’m sure there are deeper reasons. I’m still trying to figure that part out. For this particular situation though I kept thinking of that lesson we were taught about parenting — that in a crashing airplane, the parent has to put their oxygen mask on first before they can help their child with theirs. However, I keep forgetting that my kids aren’t that tiny anymore. Instead of having to put their oxygen masks on them, we can put our masks on at the same time.
I’m glad that the kind of relationship I have with my kids allows them to reason out with me. I’m glad that I’ve gotten used to giving them that space to show me what they have in mind. I’m glad we no longer have that rule that requires them to obey every single word I say. I’m glad that they’ve got that wiggle room to think and make their own decisions too — and hopefully, prove me wrong when I am.
I really believe that our kids are smart, naturally creative, good-hearted and they’re blessed with wisdom too. A lot of times when decisions have to be made — they’re actually right. My decisions are usually influenced by unreasonable fear, past hurt, personal desires and comfort, and more. They don’t have the baggage that I do — which is why I take the time to listen to them too.
Anyway, back to my mornings — my mornings which have been hijacked. I can honestly say I’m not bitter about it anymore. In no time my daughter will no longer ask me to snuggle for 5 more minutes in the morning and she’d probably want her alone time in the morning too. By then, I’d probably be the one who’d ask for her time. So today, I should relish each moment that both my kids want to spend time with me.
Our mornings will now teach us to let each other be even if we’re in the same space. They can do their thing, and I can do mine while still enjoying each other’s company. Just like everything in our life, it’s just a matter of seeing things from a different perspective and adjusting our hearts and minds accordingly. My mornings have been hijacked…and everything’s gonna be fine. 🙂