Facebook is handy, right? I have to admit it is my go to place for mom advice. I had my kids later than most of my friends, so they are the seasoned veterans of mommy world and I come to them when I have a question and seek their wisdom. I figure their kids are all doing okay, so they must know a few things! Ha! This was especially true when I had my first son and he was a newborn. I was desperately trying to figure out how to find a good balance in my life. And by balance, I mean caring for the baby AND keeping up with basic personal hygiene. Enter a friend from high school who made a comment on one of my exhausted-new-mommy-why-didn’t-anybody-tell-me-how-all-consuming-and-HARD-this-would-be posts. She said, “Treat it like it’s your job. Get up and get ready before they are awake.” At first I bristled and leaned back in my chair – as if her words had literally punched me in the face. Does she hate me? Why would she suggest such a horrible thing?? Doesn’t she know how badly I need SLEEP???
Then I tried it.
I got up 30 minutes before my son normally woke up. I had coffee – while it was still hot. I had my breakfast – in total peace and quiet. I had my quiet time – and got centered. I got dressed and ready for the gym. I felt human again. I didn’t feel like a mommy. I just felt like ME. I had time to just BE and to start my day in the quiet way that I like to, and something just clicked into place.
When my son did come out of his room, I greeted him with a smile and a hug, and I was genuinely happy to see his sweet face and snuggle his warm, sleepy body. My heart was so peaceful and happy that day.
This was a stark contrast from him waking me up – which consisted of me looking at the clock, wanting to cry, and forcing myself to smile at him even though I was so stinking tired and I was irritated he wanted to be awake already. Yeah, she was fun, right? Who wouldn’t want to start a day with THAT mommy? Yikes…
By no longer having my son be my alarm clock, I was able to start the day on my terms, and be the loving mom to him from our first moment together. It changed EVERYTHING.
When I got pregnant with #2 and I had horrible fatigue – I put that routine on the back burner and grabbed every second of sleep my firstborn would allow. I had to give myself some grace and accept the season I was in. It was survival. I vowed that until the baby was sleeping through the night, I would keep on just sleeping until woken up by one of the boys. I have and it’s been good. But now, my #2 is an amazing sleeper (has been for a long time) and is approaching his first birthday. It’s time to get back on track. It’s back to being disciplined about going to bed at a reasonable hour and making sure I am up before the boys so I can start my day on my terms again. I’m actually looking forward to it. It’s funny how one little comment changed so much, but it did, and I’m so glad I gave it a shot.
I love my time. I always have. Losing that – losing alone time – was one of the hardest transitions to motherhood. This was a very practical way to get it back for just a short bit each day. Fast forward 4 ½ years and now I’m the one suggesting it to new moms all the time! I know it sounds really hard, maybe impossible, but I always say, “Just try it for a couple of days”. I know it isn’t for everybody, but if you haven’t tried it before and you are a momma who needs/misses/yearns for time to yourself, I highly recommend it!
What was the best bit of mom advice you ever got? Please share with us and let us soak up your wisdom in the comments below.