I was up and fully awake at 4:30 a.m.. I was excited to finally achieve my “ideal” wake up time. It seems extreme, but I usually go to bed pretty early too. In my mind, if I am up and about this early, I can have quiet time before everyone gets up. I can get a few things done and enjoy coffee or breakfast in silence. Maybe I can even meditate or exercise. I can journal, blog, or practice that ever coveted and overused term “self-care” all before 6:30 when most others in the house wake up. 7 or 8:00 on a weekend if I’m lucky! Two+ hours to myself. Such a gift!
It finally happened. I naturally woke up and checked the time and I was happy to see that it wasn’t 5:00 a.m. yet. The day before, I had spent mostly the entire day in bed, experiencing side effects from my Covid-19 booster shot. I had done the intermittent sick-based sleep for a whole day. I was caught up on rest and then some, so I was ready to go with my “Team Early Morning” routine. Here’s how it went:
4:35: Shower (hair wash day, yay!)
4:50: Steel cut oats started. Laundry in.
5:20: Phone call with advice nurse. As if I need another health concern right now
Puppy barked during this time because the 4 year old opened a door and scared her, so that happened in the middle of the phone call.
5:23: Put the 4 year old back to bed.
5:47: 4 year old is downstairs, fully awake, ready for breakfast.
Crack of dawn me time was short lived. I would say that the only real self-care items that were truly just for me and enjoyable were the shower and the steel cut oats. However, the 4 year old asked for oatmeal after I had taken the last bite, and I convinced him to choose something else because it would take another 20-25 minutes to make a new pot. I drew the line. The sacred steel cut oats had to stay sacred.
A little over an hour is better than nothing. It still goes to show that it is extremely challenging for a working parent to find even just a few minutes of time to themselves, even with help and support of other family members in the house.
I’m still going to try for those early morning me minutes, with the hope that this wasn’t just a fluke because I was recovering from illness. I still desperately want to rejoin Team Early Morning.
How do you find time in your day to devote minutes just to yourself? If you’re a working parent, what are the best routines for you?
■ Elementary Educator for Equity & Cultural Responsibility
■ Collector of Small Moments & Thrifty Finds
■ Wife & Mother
■ Bay Area, CA