It’s usually still dark in the room when I’m woken by a little voice and a hand on my cheek, “Mamma, can we get up now?”
Most days, my eyes are scratchy and everything in me is greedy for more sleep. I want to grumble. I want to roll over. I want to set the clock back a few hours.
I’ve never been a morning person. I am at my best with a cup of something hot around midnight when everyone else is asleep and the house is quiet. I’ve tried a few times with varying levels of success to wake up early to practice yoga or meditate—the varying levels being from no success to little success for a very short period of time. The only thing that seems to get me out of bed consistently at the crack of dawn is if I’m teaching a yoga class.
Mornings have been a little rougher than usual for me lately. Three months ago I had a little boy: my second. His older brother is four. A while back we had our routine down, but since the New Year we’ve been figuring it out from scratch. A lot has happened in the last few months. We welcomed a brand new little soul and with him the (almost) forgotten routine of new baby-ness. By routine I actually mean chaos that is sometimes predictable enough to be called a routine. I also started an apprenticeship at elephant journal on a gut impulse and with it my writing kicked up a gear. It’s been a time of glorious madness (okay, sometimes not-so-glorious) and exponential growth for me and my family as well.
In his three months my littlest son has almost tripled his weight and size and I feel like my heart has done the same. This kind of rapid growth has been painful at times. It’s not just me who has felt it either. On the not-so-good days, things have sometimes spiraled into pre-schooler hiding under the coffee table refusing to put on trousers whilst baby orchestrates a spectacular poo up the back manoeuvre all 20 minutes before we hoped to be somewhere and mamma ends up being the one in tears. (And breathe.)
The truth is that on the good days this stuff happens too, but I’ve realised that there is only one difference between a good day and a not-so-good one: me.
Being a mother has taught me so much. No, it has remade me entirely. And if this was the case the first time, it’s exponential the second time. But there is a part of me that is selfish and set in her ways. This is the little girl within who once threw tantrums on the beach because sand got on her towel and the corners kept blowing up in the wind. She wants things to be under control and predictable.
In reality, my illusions of control and predictability in life have been repeatedly, unequivocally shattered by change and loss and everything in between. Yet some part of me still hangs on to them. I like my routine. I like a tidy house. I like to have a plan. I like to feel that I am achieving something.
And when you’re at home with two small children, these are ridiculous aspirations much of the time.
It hasn’t helped that I’ve been staying up late at night to write and waking up early. Being sleep deprived is a key ingredient for brewing a mommy meltdown. But for the near future at least this is the beautiful, chaotic existence I have chosen for myself.
And I do love it. I sometimes find it hard to cope with but I love it. So here is the thing: one simple truth. The way I start and end my days has a profound effect on the big chunk in the middle. I can’t choose the time I wake up and I’m going to have late nights sometimes if I want to get the stuff that needs doing as well as the stuff that’s just for me done. But I can choose my thoughts; I can choose my reactions; I can choose little rituals and reminders that will help to keep me on the path of the mindful mamma.
So I’ve started with my mornings.
It’s usually still dark in the room when I’m woken by a little voice and a hand on my cheek, “Mamma, can we get up now?” Most days, my eyes are scratchy and everything in me is greedy for more sleep. I want to grumble. I want to roll over. I want to set the clock back a few hours.
But if I can catch myself in that split second where my mind is a blank canvas, I remind myself of this: I am here. My babies are here. It’s today. Everything is new. Start fresh.
I sit up, plant my feet on the floor beside my bed. I breathe; I smile (sometimes just on the inside because the outside is still catching up), and I begin.
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” ~ Meister Eckhart
Author: Khara-Jade Warren
Editor: Caroline Beaton