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If you're the parent of a baby or toddler, you often don't have a choice about what time your day begins. Yet, once you're awake, what you do next can have an impact on the entire day. The small things you do can make a big difference in getting your day started right.
My mornings were always a blur for several years as I had three kids two years apart. My oldest child was a terrible sleeper--he wanted to keep going long after the hubby and I wanted to collapse. He was the original Energizer Bunny. My husband and I quickly learned to tag team so that each of us had the luxury of sleeping in on weekends.
One of the practices I've put in place when I wake up is to lie in bed for a few minutes and reflect with gratitude.
What are the things I'm grateful for?
What are some things that are moving along well?
What can I celebrate?
This simple practice has done wonders in changing the way I face the day. I have a journal in my nightstand that I record thoughts, quotes, and gratitude tidbits. Some days I practice deep meditation by focusing on breathing and an uplifting mantra.
Another practice is to stretch immediately after getting up. This loosens all your joints and kicks your lymph system in gear. Yoga poses and sit ups are my morning "Get Out Of Bed" routine.
When my kids were younger, I was great at creating morning routines that included a lazy breakfast before diving into the day. Nowadays, the hubby is in one direction, I'm in another, and the last kiddo is off to school. Mornings are much more hectic than they used to be. The hubby and the kid prefer to sleep until the very last minute. This means grabbing a banana or a quick egg in the morning. We always keep fresh fruit on hand for the mornings and jars of nuts for daytime snacks. Dinner time is our down time.
There are mornings that no matter how hard I try, I really do wake up grumpy and blah. It's often a sign that I need to change something in my routine, my thoughts, or my stress levels. If you find yourself in a similar situation, focus on what you CAN change at the moment. Shake up the morning--put some music on, dance while putting together breakfast, and then drive a different route than you normally take if you're going somewhere or heading to work.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a mental health day with the kids and decompress. So often we're on the go-go-go treadmill. I have some memories of snuggling in bed with all three kids on a school day and having breakfast in bed.
One tip that a wise mom once told me: cherish the time with your kids. All too soon, it's over in a blink. So even when you're deep in the muck--the baby is sick, the dog threw up (or maybe the baby, the dog, AND you...) know that this too, shall pass.