“Wake up before your kids”.
Advice along the same thread as, “sleep when the baby sleeps”. It sounds really wonderful but it’s always spoken from well-meaning, well-rested mothers who are most likely not up multiple times in the night.
This autumn, as I have continually this past year, I decided to get curious and see if that advice was really what was meant for me right now. Does that advice fit into my life? Into my current situation? See, this is something I’ve seen wrong with the amount of sharing occurring right now on the internet. We adopt ideas and thoughts from strangers because we like the look of someone’s house, or kids, or lifestyle. I’ve been relearning what it looks like to hear advice, think “oh that is interesting” and then process through my current situation and decide if it fits in MY house, with MY kids and MY lifestyle.
As it turned out “wake up before your kids” doesn’t have a place in this season of life for me.
Shi has gotten all but two of her teeth in the last 6 weeks. Every night, between midnight and 2am she ends up in our bed. She easily goes back to sleep but as soon as I get out of bed she is ready to get up and at ‘em, too. With Joey already up and out of the house I’ve decided to stay in bed and snuggle her until 7 am. Just after seven, Judah storms through the door and dives under the covers to join the snuggle party.
At first this wasn’t ideal. He was loud and crazy and I really was feeling that I didn’t get a minute of peace to myself within the whole day. But I’ve learned how to take my thoughts captive and I could hear the whininess bouncing off the walls of my brain. “I never have any peace and quiet. My kids are soooo loud. I’m so tired all the time.” Those thoughts were creating an exhausted, bitter and easily angered mom. Not who I want to be.
But God. What does he say about the mornings?
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never end; they are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
So I started allowing these truths to saturate my thoughts in the early hours of the morning. My alarm sounds. I turn it off and snuggle my daughter. Dozing in and out and thanking God for his new mercies each time I find myself back to consciousness. Judah bursts through the door. I make space for him and remind myself of the Lord’s never ceasing love and faithfulness. Squished between both of my babies I think over my day and offer it to the Lord. I surrender my plans and ask that his will be done in my day.
This practice takes about 15 minutes of my morning. And then everyone is awake. And snuggled and loved on and we head downstairs to make lattes (warm maple milk for them, decaf for me) and a nourishing breakfast. I’ve been playing instrumental Christmas music, popping Christmas Spirit in the diffuser and lighting a single beeswax candle.
The art (and biblical command) of taking our thoughts captive elevates my life in so many ways. The pause after hearing advice to be sure it fits into my world means I don’t find myself keeping up with the Joneses as often. As we transitioned to Joey leaving extra early to work I really wanted to make our mornings calm, connective and peaceful. Simple spiritual disciplines of thanksgiving and surrender allowed me to meditate on what God desires for me. Before long (less than a week), my kids were clearly benefiting too. Happy, peaceful and quiet in the mornings instead of rambunctious and needy.
I’m searing the memories of these mornings into my brain. Looking over, as the sunrise glows through our curtain-covered windows to see Shiloh’s diaper booty popped into the air. Her bedhead is strong, as she breathes rhythmically, face smushed on the mattress. Judah’s feet pattering down the wood floor of our hallway before louding busting through the door. A Cuddle and Kind bunny in his hands as he jumps into bed. Shiloh sitting up, paci hanging out of her mouth, “morning, Judy.” in the softest, sleepiest voice. Their warm bodies forcing me to kick the covers off to get some cool air. I’m forever loving this season with my little loves. They make my mornings so much better.