I’m not exactly a morning person by default. It’s been the case since I was a little kid. But because I’m generally a pretty inspired, enthusiastic person—by evening I feel I can move mountains-- I’ve approached my moody-morning trend, in adulthood, as something that I can (and want to) change. As in, I noticed inspiration’s early morning absence and plotted to lure it back in. All kinds of big name wise-ones the world over espouse clearing one’s head, and proverbial slate, with the dawn of each new day… Making room for the possibilities ahead. Putting their manifestation in motion. All that good stuff. I wanted to get in on that, too. But, even before I was a parent (back when I had few--if any-- responsibilities to attend to before heading off to work), I somehow never managed to get a consistent morning ritual going. I’d easily trade sun salutations for additional sleep, then drink coffee in something of a disgruntled daze, catch the train, and finally hit my stride around ten or eleven a.m.

My friend Ben told me once that he wakes with the feeling that the day holds “limitless potential for good.” That’s just his natural state of morning being. This amazed me, at the time. What a cool way to wake up! (He added, however, that he feels anxious and out of whack in the evening, before bed. It’s fascinating how we all have our own natural arcs). I really think there’s something extra special about that fresh morning feeling. Once Kaspar was born, I decided that I would not only get serious about adjusting my own a.m. dial, but also that I’d see what I could do about starting my son off waking up on the right side of the bed, from the very beginning.     (Click Read More below to find out how).
In his newborn days, although our sleep schedule didn’t really correspond to clock-time, I consistently sang a little morning song to Kaspar at the beginning of each day (“Good morning, Mister Kaspar,” and repeat. Like I said, my creative juices aren’t quite flowing at that time of day). We’d do some boob-time, and then I’d change his clothes and get us up and moving around the house, let the light in, be as chipper as possible (my inner dialogue-song: “Fake it ‘til you make it, Mama”). It turned out that this actually helped me, as a new mom, to maintain a sense of normal waking rhythm in the midst of clustered feedings and sleep deprivation. Later, even in the depths of our allergy and eczema-induced extended sleep dep tunnel, this habit kept me sane and functioning as a normal human being, along semi-normal schedules, until we were able to get our real normal back on track.

Once Kaspar was six months old or so, I incorporated some positive-affirmation type phrases into our morning routine. We were pretty much in the belly of the beast as far as the allergies and sleep dep were concerned, and nights were rough. Come mornings, I gave it my all: “Good morning Kaspar! We feel great! Right?! You’re Kaspar and you’re great!” He’d laugh and kick his legs, egging me on. As soon as we opened the door and stepped outside, I’d stretch my arms above me and say “What a beauoooootiful day!” I know it sounds cheesy, but hey. I just went for it. Babies and cheesy go together just fine sometimes. And you know what? Now months past the sleep deprivation and well into our real normal, Kaspar wakes up every day and grins, dances, steps outside and waves his arms in the air, babbling about the beautiful day. That’s normal for him. I hope the habit sticks, and that this inspiration remains available to him throughout his life.

As for me, I wake up to a toddler sticking his index finger up my nose and prying my right eye open (I see crazy blonde hair, a broad smile). Sometimes I can sneak another hour of sleep, if Kaspar’s down for dozing after a bottle in bed. But he  usually wants UP. He wants dancing. He wants to greet the beautiful day. Aaron and I take turns getting the morning party started, allowing each other alternating days to sleep alone for a while (good system). But whether it’s my day on or off, and no matter how tired I am, I now wake up feeling happy, and grateful for this baby and his hidden lessons on happiness, on habits well-formed, and on limitless potential for good.

How do you feel first thing in the morning? Do you have any regular routines or rituals that you kick the day off with? Do you incorporate your kids in those, or somehow find alone time/space for them? How do you get yourself in a good headspace when you’re tired in the morning? Any other early-morning-converts (reformed-morning-grumps) out there?

PS. Sometimes I still need a little bit of motivation to get my posi-core on first thing in the morning. I've found just the thing. This video nails it. Seriously, start your day (and your kiddos') with this for a week, and see what happens:
07/07/2011 08:01

I am definitely NOT a morning person! Lol - I am the type who hits the snooze button right up until the latest possible moment! However, I have been attempting to change that attitude by creating a schedule - Up, shower, get ready, sit down to eat breakfast and enjoy the weather channel/news. I really need to work on that last part though..."running out the door and speeding to work" doesn't quite have the same ring to it... :)

On the few mornings that I have managed to get up earlier, I always feel a lot less anxious throughout the day, and I have that sense of accomplishment. I KNOW that I am going to get a lot done! Too bad I can't tell myself that come 6am... :D

07/07/2011 20:58

So funny Chelsea. I totally feel you on running out the door and speeding to work. I'm a chronically last-minute kind of lady, but, like you, have definitely taken note of that calmer, getting-things-done feeling that comes with being ahead of the game and in a good routine. I think it's all about habit, though. Humans are wired that way! As I said, I was never able to make myself get up and into a good routine before another person's survival depended on it... But props to you for starting a routine (other than the snooze button)! It sounds like such a nice one, too. Worth getting up early for. ;-)


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