Mom Dilemma - To Snooze or Not to Snooze

Although I’m a homeowner with four children and SHOULD have this adulting thing down, I must confess, I LOO-O-OVE my pillow.  (That’s love with 3 syllables). After my phone diligently informs me that it is in fact time to wake up after my allotted 8 hours sleep, I struggle with that reality.  Do I really? Surely the atomic clock must be off today…. Or “child “x” kept me up and so I NEED this extra sleep… I’ll just stay in bed and somehow it will put all things right.”  

Yet, those extra 27 minutes of sleep do not clean the dishes from last night.  Nor does that same amount of time provide me with the refreshment and energy to greet the day.  Rather, being hustled by my kids while still hugging my pillow causes me to feel anxious, rushed and completely unprepared for the day that has yet to start.  In place of easing into the dawn of a fresh new day with thoughtfulness and intention, I’m thrown right into a barrage of questions that include meal planning, play dates and the recollection of supposed-promises that are in need of settling that very moment, regardless if my eyelids have unveiled my pupils.  I do well under pressure, however I do NOTHING without a cup of coffee of 5 minutes to prepare myself for the day.  

And so, I am left with a dilemma.  Do I choose to sleep, my passion and healthy indulgence, OR do I choose to forgo my indulgence of rest so that I may delay that pleasure and then best prepare myself to enjoy things that follow later that day?  

NOT an easy question, and truly I believe this answer varies from day to day.  For example, when we had newborns, NOTHING was on a schedule. If I’m up all night in the bathroom with a sick child, then I expect the following day to be very out of sorts.  However, with my youngest now 5, we have very few sleepless nights due to feedings, and so our nightly rest usually goes uninterrupted.  

Lately I’ve tried a little experiment.  The kids are on summer break and so we are spending our summer days together.  Typically, I like a little buffer or quite time on both ends of my day, in the morning to collect my thoughts and prepare for the day ahead and in the evening, to unwind and reflect upon the day.  However, I have to wake up before the kiddos in order to have this luxury. This requires a choice on my behalf. Sadly, I cannot have my sleep and my quiet time too. I’ve decided to choose the quiet time over the sleep, and so I’m up with the birds.  First couple times were a real struggle, and my bed had never been lovelier. However, now after 45 days the struggle isn’t nearly as strong. I look forward to my time alone with my coffee, the sunrise and even some self-reflection.  

Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn’t it?!  Allow me to share some ways this goal of mine developed into a habit.  

  • I involved the help of a friend.  One day a week we go for a morning walk together.  Making this commitment to someone other than myself helped give me the kind of accountability I needed to reach my goal.  

  • I don’t allow the way I feel that morning to dictate what I do.  Rarely do I feel like getting out of bed, and so I have to make a deliberate act of the will, or a choice to get up.  I don’t even allow myself to think about it, lest I talk myself out of it.  

  • Having a set time I wake up requires me to have a set time I go to bed.  Without even intending to, I’m making a habit of getting to bed at the same time most nights.  

I hope this example of my “first world struggle” helps motivate you to accomplish whatever personal goals you have for yourself.  Intentionally forming habits is difficult and requires a choice to be made. It may cause discomfort or be less than pleasant, however by initiating that sacrifice or moment of denying yourself a good (sleep) for an even greater good (personal quiet time), the pros outweigh the cons.   

Jennifer Kelly lives in Denver with her husband, 4 children, flowers, bees, chickens, coyotes and field mice. Forever looking for the good, true and beautiful amongst the ordinary and messiness of life.

Jennifer Kelly lives in Denver with her husband, 4 children, flowers, bees, chickens, coyotes and field mice. Forever looking for the good, true and beautiful amongst the ordinary and messiness of life.

Jordan Langdon