Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Do you DO mornings?

Most mornings, I wake up and I am AWAKE!! There are exceptions, but on the whole it is the approach I take to the day.

Be assured, it was not always so and I can do a fair imitation of the morning grumps.

(In fact, there are living witnesses - mostly related to me - who can attest just how real that imitation can be)

My father is a great believer in mornings. "Best part of the day" he bellows. He is no defender of the freedom of sleep-ins, and probably wouldn't know what to do if one were enforced upon him.

He always had a few strategies to get company for breakfast.

My bedroom was first off the hall on the route from his (and mum's) room to the kitchen. He had learned over the years to do his level best not to disturb Mum's rest (too much) and so would thoughtfully wait until he was outside my door before exploding into the HARRUMPHS, sneezes and coughs that cleared his airways.

I was not a big voter for his "best part of the day" bill when woken by such methods.

On occasion, it would be a requirement that we surface and face that day on Dad's timetable, and he would take delight in rousing his children from sleep.

There was no gentle pass into the world of wakefulness on offer. Instead he would come in singing "Oh what a beautiful morning" at top pitch - or "Good morning, good morning".

I KNOW there is nothing worse than a hearty morning person greeting a non-morning person with gusto and cheer.

If that did not work, he would get a damp (as in the pretty blooming wet end of the damp spectrum) cloth from the bathroom and bring it in to "assist" you in "washing your face" - because apparently a cold wash to get the sleepy dust out of your eyes wakes you up.

And yet he lives.

Over the last 20 years I have discovered my own morning rituals. Ones that DON'T involve singing or wet washers, luckily. Ones that HOPEFULLY are slightly respectful of those who like to slumber.

For some years, I was a workaholic. This entailed spending more time at my workplace than where I paid rent. To do this AND maintain my social life, hours were lopped off the morning rituals and I managed to develop first name relationships with several cab-drivers.

Then I moved on to temping (so as not to fully embrace my addiction) and often would have many miles to drive to start work at various places. Temping is a much more rewarding experience if you smile and are in a decent mood - it can be a bit of a minefield which workplace you enter, but then again, apparently hiring a temp can be a minefield in itself!!

When I had 'Salina, one of my sanity-savers was bundling her up in a sling and taking her for walks - long walks that often covered her wake-up at sunrise until about 8, when she would breakfast and have her first nap of the day. If P was at work, it eradicated the loneliness - and if P wasn't, it eradicated his bear-headedness at being woken by such chirpers.

As she grew into a toddler and I into a single mother, those moments in the morning that I could grab for myself again worked for my mental health. Even 10 minutes and a cup of tea can make the difference between dealing with a toddler and HAVING TO DEAL with a toddler.

V leaves for work between 5.30 and 7 most mornings. He is fairly good in the mornings - so long as he can follow his own rituals, which I can respect. 'Salina tends to rise early as well (of her own volition - I don't think I have ever employed the wet washer method) and so often - such as this morning - she has done all of her morning chores by 6.30am.

I have found that I tend to waken early without any prompting (I do occasionally dream of sleep-ins, but they are like lotto wins for me). It is a rare morning when 'Salina or V beat me to the punch.

Those few moments when I organise my day, drink my tea and have the world to myself - precious.

I used to fight it - now...

I have found that when I wake early, I can be quite moanful of the fact that it is so darned early - OR I can choose to get up and seize the day.

And do you know what?

The latter strategy does actually set me up for a much better day than the former.

What works for you?

13 comments:

Mary Paddock said...

I am not a morning person in the sense that I am awake and happy to greet the world immediately upon rising. But I am routinely up early (even when I don't need to be) because it's my only real quiet time and when I get the most writing done.
I've trained the boys to find something solitary to do for an hour or so after waking if they are up during the same hours I am (this is rare).

Leenie said...

I'm with you. Quiet time in the morning is PRICELESS. I guess I am a morning person and I'm pretty much worthless after 9 p.m. The sunrise this time of year is so late I can't even depend on it for a wakeup call. Hope you and the baby are well.

Sarah Lulu said...

Yes yes ...love time to myself in the mornings ...I don't take to talking very much too early ....unless it's to God. *smile*

Debby said...

Although I get up early, I am *NOT* a morning person. Basically, I get up, do what needs doing, and then by the time that I've got a cup of coffee in me, well, things seem a bit brighter.

Alison said...

"And yet he lives."

ROFL!!!

My girls are 4:30am risers. They have been since birth, although up until about age 1 J and F your wake for a feed and allow us all another hour or two of sleep. That is now a very distant memory!

Like you, I can either grumble about the early start, or embrace it. And embracing it certainly works much more to the general smiley-ness of the day.
Most mornings I am awake 10 or 15 minutes before the girls. Gathering my thoughts for the day and being able to wake somewhat slowly is VERY beneficial to me!
Then the girls and I start our day with a few morning rituals - saying good morning to the earth and to our bodies (omg it sounds SO much more hippy when I type it 'out loud'!). Then we do a bit of home learning and feed the animals before the boys rise. Mornings are our girl time now, and as early as it starts, I love it.

Jayne said...

I'm not strictly a morning person (too many different shifts in nursing over the years) but I do wake up early and grab the day by the short and curlies, lol.

Lin said...

Yes, waking up slowly and alone is so benificial! Ella does not like rising early, so I tend to get 30 mins to myself most mornings. But even when she is awake when I get up, she fortunately does not seem to be very talkative either at that time of the day, so it kind of works. My friends have quickly learned never to aks me any questions before I've had at least one cup of coffee. I am totally allergic to questions before that!

ELIZABETH said...

I'm a mid day kind of gal. Slow in the morning and slow after 9pm. If I didn't have to stop for lunch I could conquer the world between 11am and 4pm. Maybe. *laugh*

T said...

Your Dad and my Dad must be related, though My Dad always started with "Wakey wakey rise and shine, get out of bed the morning's fine" at the top of his voice whilst ripping open the curtains. He then advanced to the water trick, if that failed he took the bed covers.

I wouldn't class myself as a morning person, everyone close to me knows not to attempt to talk to me until 1 hour after waking and my morning cuppas. Before children I was a 10 hour sleep a night or I couldn't function. Funnily enough since having kids I am a very early riser, I intially needed a couple of hours to wake up and face the day, now I just love the alone time and agree with your Dad, it's the best time of the day :)

jeanie said...

Mary - good training! 'Salina does tend to want some interaction, but does wait about 10 minutes post wake-up herself...

Leenie - I am really loving the fact that the sun is closer to getting up when I do at the moment.

Sara Lulu - always the best time to connect with non-corpeus conversationalists!

Debby - I know - I am related to and have house with many who need an infusion to jump start the day (Dad calls coffee "a heart starter")

Alison - nice that you get your "girl time" in.

Jayne - shift work would really play with the body clock.

Lin - I had a flatmate that the "allergy" in the morning was definitely true for.

Elizabeth - I love your seize the 11-4 section of the day!!

T - I wonder if it is a generational thing?

Debby said...

PS I have a house guest who is about to drive me mad. He wakes up and talks and talks and talks. He believes that he's fascinating, but he has all these incredibly detailed stories. As in Lowell Thomas just didn't get on a plane...he got on a Spitfire, which is a small twin engine that has the capabilities of...and then they approached Dresden, and everything was in flames, not a building standing and then...."

I don't know what the rules are in Oz, but here it would be poor manners to throttle a house guest. Even if they rattle on before you've had your prerequisite second cup of coffee. Everyone else talking about carpe diem. Shoot. I'm talking about not carpe-ing the neck.

Farmers Wife said...

I used to be a morning person, even going to the gym by 6am. Lately I have been tired first thing, because I am a night owl and don't go to bed early...enough

jeanie said...

Deb - I believe carping is justifiable cause!! I also have an ex-flatmate and occasional commenter who would probably tell you that I have committed that sin. Don't believe her.

Farmers Wife - the night just gets too short, doesn't it? So many good things eat into both ends.