Monday, October 25, 2010

on becoming a morning person

I am far from being a morning person. My internal alarm clock doesn't start beeping until 7:30 am and that is only after I've had at least 2 cups of coffee in complete silence, after 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and we all know how realistic that is. So when we moved to our new town, the first thing we made sure of was that we were central to W's school, so I wouldn't have to wake up at the butt crack of dawn to get all 4 kids out of the house and to the school by 8am.

Now really, whoever decided school should start at 8am needs to be smacked in the head. That is just cruel and nearly impossible to accomplish when you have 4 kids, 2 of whom are in diapers and 2 of whom can't tie they own shoes or button their own jeans. When we found a house that seemed perfect and was only 7.8 miles from the school, we took it. And then after we moved in we realized that there were 4 schools on the way to W's school, all starting before his school did, and that it could take 14 minutes to drive 3 blocks, and if you got stuck behind a bus, you were even more screwed. So it turned out we do, in fact, have to be up at the butt crack of dawn anyway.

The first few days of school went ok. I was full of optimism and drive and we were able to get out of the house, sit through traffic, a 6 minute long bus stop and then get to school on time. And then that momentum came to a screeching, crashing, slam into a tree halt and it was confirmed to me that being a morning person seriously sucked.

The main problem was that I was waking up when the kids were waking up and didn't have any time to actually wake up and get some nice serum in my veins to deal with the chaos of 4 kids in a calm and sane manner. And the other problem was that we were eating breakfast an hour before we left (if I even got breakfast at all), and then leaving an hour before school started, so by the time we got to school and myself to the gym, everyone was starving and cranky again. That had to change and the only solution was to wake up earlier, which seems counter productive, and stop eating cereal and yogurt for breakfast. We all need a high protein, hot breakfast to keep us full so we don't crash before our day even starts. So in essence, by trying to make my life easier, I've really made it a lot more difficult.

Now I get up at 5, get my coffee, and in a blurry eyed stupor check the email and try to catch up on what all of my West Coast Peeps did while I was asleep and by the time I'm finally waking up, it is 6:30 and the kids are up and asking for seventeen thousand things at once. They got their dad's annoying "morning person" gene so they don't need a 2 hour jumpstart on the day like I do. Once they are up I make breakfast, unload the dishwasher, clean up breakfast, get W's lunch ready, pull the snacks for the girls and get the diaper bag packed. Then I get W and CB dressed, hair and teeth brushed and throw them in the car with some books while I get the babies up, changed, dressed and put in their car seats. Then I get the babies bottles, put everything in the car, and start the stupid drive to school. Drop W off, go to the gym, work out for an hour and a half, shower, pick up the girls, get everyone in the car, and make the dumb drive home. And then I make a second pot of coffee, effectively negating all of the work I have just done at the gym and proceed to pass out on the floor while playing with the babies, only to be woken up by a dirty diaper to the face or a toy stethoscope to the head. It doesn't work.

I just can't get this "morning person" thing down! Even if I don't go to the gym after dropping W off I still find myself falling asleep at 10am while the babies pull all of the DVDs out of the cabinet and CB finds movies to watch on my phone (dang Netflix App). And I'm not talking about taking a little "cat nap", I'm talking full on mascara smeared across the face, ring indentation in the forehead, drool in the ear kind of passing out. If I sleep in later, the chaos abounds. And if I try to make everything a little simpler don't do all that I do in the morning, I end up really far behind during the day and nothing gets done. I already prep everything for breakfast, W's lunch and the girls' snacks at night. I have my gym bag ready to go by morning... but am I never going to be able to start the day with a good attitude and be like, "OH YAY!! I get to wake up and unload the dishwasher!! What a GREAT start to the day!! I am SO blessed." And before you say there aren't really people out there like that, so calm down, there really ARE people out there like that, I've met them. I'm related to them, believe me, they exist.

So tell me, please, what do you do to wake up in the morning? What is your "elixir" that gets you going? How do you manage not to be cranky and be productive before the sun comes up? What is your secret to a good start to the day? I need to know. I need to figure this out. My husband and children thank you in advance.


Margaret said...

i have no advice on waking up because i, unfortunately, am one of those people who just wakes up when my eyes open and have never had a drop of coffee. on the other hand, i spend every second of my day rushing all over the place and am late to everything because i can never get it together and figure out how to get three children ready and out the door in enough time (morning, middle of the day, or evening, it doesn't matter) to get anywhere on time. pretty much anytime we're walking out our door i'm yelling, "hurry up, we're late!!"

i've thought about getting up at 5:30 (i babysit two other children every morning for an hour and a half before school and take them to school with my kiddos) but i can't give up that extra hour and a half of sleep just instead i just spend my mornings rushing around and being late to school every day....

sorry i'm not any help! want to write a post about time management? i could use some pointers in that department! lol!!! :)

p.s. and can i just say that i'm more than impressed that you work out for an hour and a half???? hot mama!!!!!

Debra said...

I am interested to see if anyone doesn't go throw this! LOL. I get the boys up 20 minutes before we are walking out the door to catch the bus. They are dressed, hair brushed, teeth brushed and fed breakfast. I sometimes put Keagans shoes and coat on him while he's sitting at the table eating. I cannot get up in the morning and when I do wake up and think about how I have to rush around, it just makes me lay there longer. Oye vey!!

susie said...

I have a 7:30 bio class, whatever possessed me to take that needs to be delivered out. So I really dont know because IF I wake up, Im late and look a hot mess.

Moore Musings said...

If I didn't have so much trouble sleeping, I would totally be a morning person. I'm pretty sure if I could actually fall/stay asleep, I would be the crazy person who loves being up at 630am and starting my day with a jog. I simply have a hard time getting out of bed. However, I can say, my early mornings with the girls require at least one cup of green tea and some quiet. :)

Ruth said...

Just in case anyone may think I am the cheerful morning relative you referred to, I had to answer this. The only way my kids can stand me and we can have some sort of loving atmosphere in my family is if I wake up before them. I run the dishwasher in the morning for white noise and pray they sleep through my pouring cereal and brewing coffee. Then, I literally force myself to sweetly pick up my kids in the morning- most of the time my attitude changes if I get Noah up with a "hello, handsome man". If I get through the first few hours, I then wonder how people make it all day!

Hilary said...

Ugh...I have similar struggles, and I don't even have kids yet!! To beat the traffic (which means leaving by 6:45), Neill and I have been getting up at 6am for the past two and a half years and I am STILL not used to it. When Neill is away, I end up getting up later, which just means getting all mad at myself because the commute gets exponentially worse with every second that goes by (seriously, if I'm not in the car by 7:03, it takes twice as long to get to work) and rushing around like a crazy person. Once I'm at work (7:15 if I leave by 6:45, 8:10 if I leave at 7:04), it takes until about 9:30 before I can actually interact with people without wanting to kill them. I have NO IDEA what I am going to do once the baby comes.

Jessica Ryan said...

JoJo... I am so sorry. I am by nature of the beast an early girl. I love getting up while it is still dark out... before the birds. It is the only quiet time in my house. My kids are all night owls. All of them. I'm usually passing out in my chardonnay and they are usually the ones to brush my teeth and tuck me into bed. Perhaps this is because I should stick to a glass and not the bottle. Oh well!

I think you either are or are not a morning person. But perhaps a game of Angry Birds will perk you up!

Jessica Ryan said...

and I second Ruth! I NEED to be up before the kids.

AJ said...

It might be a silly idea since you go to the gym in the morning, but a good shower wakes me up. I've noticed that I drag on the weekends until I get a shower and get dolled up for the day :) so I try to take a shower within 30 minutes of getting out of bed. A good breakfast helps too. And for me, diet mountain dew :)

Joanna said...

ROFL Jess! Don't ask about 2 saturday nights ago because I'm not sure I really remember it. I'll stick with A GLASS, too ;)

Thanks to everyone for making me feel normal! Yesterday was a bit easier-- I bribed the kids and told them they could watch a show after they were ready to leave so they ate fast and got dressed w/out arguing and then didn't fight me or each other. So we are going to try that again. I have a "no tv on school mornings" rule, but I'll justify that by having them watch an educational show ;)

This morning they were up at 5 when our alarms went off but that is not an option AT ALL, so they are back in bed. I can't have them be up at the same time as me... I'm on cup o coffee numero dos so they can get up after I'm done with that ;)

Debra, there were a few days last week where I was tying W's shoes at red lights. "tell me when it turns green!" "GREEN" "oh crap!" Fun times.

And Margaret, don't be fooled, I haven't been able to get to the gym regularly in the past couple of weeks-- can't take snotty kids, even if it is just from allergies :( That might be one of the reasons I feel all bllllaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh. You're a saint for watching 2 extra kids and doing the school run in the morning!

Ruth, it is good to know you are just as nice as me in the morning ;) Now I feel much better, lol! I def. did not get that farmers daughter early morning riser thing either.

Name Nazi said...

I typed you this really long beautiful response and its gone. So frustrating.

The gist of it is that I'd start teaching W how to help. He can dress himself and he can dress CB if you teach him. Quit doing the breakfast thing and eat on the way ... which eliminates the time for making and cleaning up AND eliminates the need for another snack. When I buy a box of cereal, I immediately put it into snack sized ziplocks. Then Audra and Trace can grab their own breakfasts (we have granola bars, yogurt, cereal, cheese sticks ... ) W can get that himself and eat it while waiting for you and the babies. He could certainly pack things for CB and the babies if you showed him what to do and how to do it.

Kids thrive on responsibility and feeling like they are contributing to the family ... that's the manpower you have ... use it! Audra is six, Trace is four, but they dress themselves, brush teeth get their own breakfasts, T takes care of the cat ... I have to do Audra's hair and sometimes help with tying shoes (audra's not very quick!) and that's it. We can be out the door in 45 minutes if needed and be happy about it!

I spent some time this summer when it didn't matter as much teaching the kids jobs and now we all have jobs. Things are much smoother.

Also, lay out everything the night before. I do this and it helps tremendously. But you say you're already doing that. Are even the babies' bottles prepared the night before as much as possible?

I think I'm really good at this stuff ... time management, organization ... email me because this is something I might actually be able to help you with! :)

And Lord knows that I probably can't help you with much else. You so totally have your hands full ...