Saturday, March 22, 2014

March Self Portrait

The Early to Rise Challenge.  I have jumped on board with one of my favorite bloggers, Money Saving Mom to start getting up before the rest of the family every day.  There are a lot of reasons for this, the main one being to save my sanity ;)  In all seriousness though, I love it because getting up early sets a tone for my whole day.  Instead of being woken up by Addy's antics (which often include whining and/or crying), I now wake up peacefully and am able to enjoy an hour or so of solitude before the rest of the family gets up.  I don't know about everyone else, but I crave alone time.  And I find that getting up early is often the only way for me to get it.

Now, it's definitely not easy for me to roll out of bed at 5:30.  (In fact, I'll admit that 9 times out of ten I hit the snooze button and don't actually get up until 5:45 or so, but I'm working on that.)  I wouldn't have ever classified myself as a morning person, but since starting this challenge (basically it's just to wake up an hour before the rest of the family for a month and see how you like it), I am finding that perhaps I am a morning person after all.  Because although that initial opening of the eyes and swinging the legs out of bed is tough, that is truly the worst part.  After I slip my feet into my slippers, throw my hoodie on, and shuffle downstairs, I am good to go.  And I never regret getting up early and starting my day with peace and quiet.  My day goes more smoothly, I feel more productive, and I no longer start the day feeling overwhelmed and behind from the get go.  I am also finding that I have been more patient and pleasant since starting this challenge.  So it's a win-win all around.

Here I am in my favorite spot of the kitchen: my coffee corner.  My coffee pots are housed on this counter and all of my coffee, mugs, stirrers, sugar, etc is housed in the cabinet above.  There is something about having it all together in one place that gives me joy, ha ha.  It's the little things I suppose.

Speaking of having it all together, while I would never claim that I do indeed "have it all together", I am in a much better place than I've been in for the past few months.  For awhile I felt like I was just surviving, but  wasn't thriving.  And I decided that something needed to change.  So I went into this challenge with high expectations, and am happy to report that my expectations have been exceeded.  So much so, that I've continued getting up early even on the weekends (not part of my original plan).  

I wake up with a purpose and am able to do things that I want to do in those early hours.  As most parents do, I always felt like I was being selfish doing things for myself, like it was taking away from things I could be doing with/for my family.  But no more.  I wake up early and I am selfish with that time until the rest of the house gets up... and it's glorious.

I always start my day with my breakfast and my coffee.  Alone.  With no one interrupting because they have to pee or they need their hands wiped, or the ever present "Can you share?" (Addy) and "Bite?" (Emma).  I am now able to finish my entire breakfast while it's still warm.  And that is huge for me.  I am very much a breakfast person.  And when I wasn't having that peaceful time to eat it, I was often grumpy about it.

While I'm eating, I make my "To Do" list for the day.  5-7 manageable and measurable goals.  There is something about having it written down that makes it more likely to get done.  The power of the written word.  

Through this challenge I am discovering a lot about myself.  One of those things being that I am definitely a Type A person.  It took me until I was 32 years old to figure that out.  When discussing types, I never really categorized myself into one or the other, but I am discovering just how much joy organization gives me, and how I can often be a perfectionist about it.  I love making my "To Do" lists and crossing things off as I accomplish them.  So, although there are times that I use my early morning hours to mindlessly surf the net while sipping my coffee, I find that I am most often getting a jump start on my "To Do" list because that gives me a sense of joy and accomplishment.  

During this challenge I've been getting really into cleaning and organizing the house.  Might sound extremely boring to some, but I truly love it.  I don't necessarily love the act of cleaning, but I always love the result.  I have even started making some home made cleaners and have started using microfiber cloths (instead of paper towels) for cleaning and other day to day messes as a way to be green and save money.  I scour my favorite blogs for cleaning and organization tips and I love doing that!  Mike always laughs at me because recently whenever I'm on the Internet it's for cleaning/organizing research.  But he loves it.  And who wouldn't?  A cleaner more organized home?  Yes please. 

I am so happy that I decided to take part in this challenge, and I know that I will continue to rise before the rest of my family long after the "challenge" is over.  I used to tell myself that I would get things done after the girls were in bed, but that was so rarely happening and I was getting discouraged.  Although my kids go to bed fairly early, I am truly spent by that time, and I have ZERO motivation to be productive.  Mike and I just flop in front of the TV and veg out until we go to bed.  And I used to feel guilty about that, because in the back of my head were all of the things I needed to do.  And now the guilt is gone.  I have come to terms with the fact that I do not work well at night.  I am the type of person that is much more productive in the morning.  So now by the time we flop on the couch, my day's "To Do's" are done, and I can relax with my husband with a sense of peace.  And that is no small thing.

It's about living intentionally.  Starting each day with a purpose.  As a stay at home mom, I often found myself floundering through the day, just doing my best to get through it.  Well no more.  Living that way does a number on your spirit.  I am so much happier now, with a renewed sense of purpose and pride in my duties with my children and my home.  I am proud of myself, and that is a great feeling!


  1. Love that the waking up early has been so successful for you! It sounds like a great plan, maybe I should start getting up a little earlier too. I also love list making, and crossing things off throughout the day! Makes you feel so accomplished when everything is crossed out and you can toss your list!

  2. As the venerable Dr. Benjamin Franklin was known to say..."early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise"!

  3. Good for you Jess! Sounds like you found your niche! "List making" must run in the family. There's nothing like crossing items off of a list! I do it at work too!