I was talking with a new friend the other day about finding time to write. One of her kids gets up at 5:15 everyday, on the dot and has since he was a baby. I asked if she had gotten the alarm clock that turns green and I clearly struck a nerve. Yes, they had. No, it did not work.
We’re in a fairly good sleep pattern these days, with bedtimes going smoothly and the girls sleeping through the night. Bea does use that alarm clock, meaning I know exactly when she’ll be jumping down the stairs. Elle is still on that blissful 12-hour-a-night cycle, and I’m enjoying it.
The other day, I thought I’d set my alarm about 45 minutes before Elle usually woke up. Other moms manage to have quiet moments in the morning and when I read about those early morning hours, a cup of coffee and a journal or book in hand, it sounds idyllic. I wanted that, too!
The moment that alarm was set, Elle knew it and decided to wake 45 minutes earlier for about a week. I turned that thing off and went back to waking up and hoping for the best. Some days, I’ll get up and read or write. Others, I lie in bed until I hear stirrings from her room.
Books and blogs have been written about the importance of finding time for ourselves. That we can’t let these little years take away our identity and sense of self.
I totally agree with this. I look back at these early years of motherhood already and see ways in which I’ve been able to pursue interests and passions that I didn’t have the time or energy for while I was working full-time.
And yet, in my enthusiasm to find this Me Time and really take care of myself, I’m reminded that I walk a fine line doing that. My full-time job right now is motherhood. While I’m lucky enough to have a support system in place that gives me moments and hours and even a day occasionally to myself (thanks, mom!!) I’m mostly here, writing in the margins and with my helpers nearby.
This friend recently wrote her own blog post about the magical 22 minutes of a kids show, and how so much can get done in that time. For a while, I relied on those 22 minutes, getting so much done during one Daniel Tiger episode. Until we had a kid who is just uninterested in screen time. No matter how I try, Elle just does’t engage with TV. Which is a good thing. But those 22 minutes? I long for them, some days.
In the meantime, I’m assessing my goals and visions. It’s not like I want to write a book or blog everyday… right now. I’m actually very much content to tap away at this little blog when inspiration strikes and keep it strictly in the hobby realm.
Because right now, I’m getting ready for kindergarten roundup and a year with just Elle by my side and the reality is that these tiring, intense, nonstop years really do pass so quickly. I’m learning to savor every moment and remember that my Me Time is simultaneously kid time.
(Also? A year ago, I wrote about this same thing. Clearly it’s a recurring theme!)
When and where do you find time for yourself? Moms, did elementary school change things? When does “me time” become easier? (Or is that a myth?)
7 thoughts on “When Getting Up Early Fails”
Having a lot of rescue dogs, I’ve found that ‘my’ time is actually the time I spend with them. Realizing that was quite a paradigm shift, as one might expect.
What a shift! When I stop and embrace these shared moments, my “me time tank” is full, even without that solitude. Thanks for your perspective, Andrew!
And thank you for your lovely, grace-filled writing, Annie. The word-pictures you paint are as a pint of ice-cold Fosters to a bloke crawling across a July-noon Sahara.
I identify with this so much. Life is short and it’s important to be present and commit to where you are. That said, it’s impressive how much you have found time to blog! I haven’t been able to find that rhythm yet…
Oh man, those rhythms – every time I think I’m in one, life changes. 😉 But being present right now? So important!
I really resonated with this! Writing in the margins feels like my life–I told my husband the other day that I feel like I’m always scraping together the bits and pieces of leftover time which never seems to amount to as much I as I need (want). I think about sacrifice a lot in this stage of life–it’s hard to always be running on the time that’s left over (or the 22 minutes of a Daniel Tiger episode), but I try to remind myself that “me time” isn’t necessarily something I deserve. That the highest calling I can live right now is to serve my family. (Of course it’s important to recharge and regroup personally…But I have tried to eliminate “I deserve this” from my daily vocabulary.)
It’s a hard balance. Thanks for this today!
I love this. I struggle so much with the phrase “You deserve it!” It grates on me because what do I really deserve? Certainly not everything I already have, that’s for sure! Here’s to regrouping and recharging in the midst of this sweet chaotic season!