|Image used with permission per CC license Attribution. No changes made. Copyright by Alex (aka "eflon")|
In homemaking there is no clock to punch. You won’t lose your job for excessive tardiness. Therefore, you must be self-disciplined in rising early and beginning the day at an appropriate time. It’s tempting to hit the alarm snooze button too many times, remain in pajamas, or conduct the day in a manner which would convey it to be a “lazy day.” Trust me, it can be a challenge to rise early and get moving when there is no one or thing demanding that you have to do so, especially when the night is particularly restless. But, there are valuable benefits and consequences to how I choose to begin the day. It’s truly remarkable how different my day is based on how it starts. Let’s look at two different scenarios.
I set my alarm for 6am the previous night with great anticipation for the following day. When that alarm sounds, however, I groan, press the snooze button and tell myself that I can sleep just a little more. After all, there’s nothing that’s going to become an emergency if I ignore it for a little longer. So, I do. Soon enough, I hear my little one awake in his bed. Undressed and unprepared, I leap into the day’s tasks. As we enter the kitchen I’m reminded of the dishes that were left undone as I search for a single clean cup and straw for him. He’s hungry and cranky clinging tightly to me as I attempt to make breakfast my remaining free hand. After breakfast, he’s ready to play but I still have to complete some housework and to prepare myself for the day. He plays or watches a video while I finally get dressed beyond pajamas, fix my hair and put on some make-up. Before long, it’s time for a morning nap for him. We hurry to take care of that occasion. I plan to catch up the intended morning tasks during his nap, but he doesn’t sleep well. I’m irritated that I have yet to have even a moment to myself and seem to keep falling behind. I have a list of tasks needing my attention and a child who is also in need. The house is chaotic. Our day is unproductive. I’m feeling emotionally and physically stressed and depleted. We’re just trying to make it through.
Let’s now look at a day that begins early and on time. As always, I set my alarm for 6am the previous night. (I set it a little earlier than I intend to actually get out of bed so that a ten minute snooze is built in without being delaying). I snooze, but then get up knowing that a day started well will be worth the initial discomfort. I can then take advantage of my little guy sleeping by enjoying a peaceful shower. I’ve learned that if I don’t rise before he does, then a shower likely won’t happen until the afternoon- yuck. Next, I get fully dressed with the exception of shoes. I make our bed, gather our dirty laundry, and head downstairs. There, I start some coffee to brew while I fix my hair and put make-up on. I quickly put away the clean dishes leaving the empty dishwasher and sink ready for the new day’s load. If time allows, I may enjoy a moment to read my Bible, pray, or read a little in another book. Sitting outside on a beautiful spring or summer day reading, drinking coffee and preparing my heart and mind for what lies ahead is my ideal way to start a day! I will gladly work efficiently in the morning to have this moment! About twenty to thirty minutes before my son typically wakes, I begin preparing breakfast. By the time he comes downstairs for breakfast, it’s already waiting for him and we avoid an encounter with a cranky morning monster. We then proceed with our well-ordered day as intended. The house is orderly. Our day is productive with each task accounted for at the most appropriate times. I’m feeling joyful and at peace. We enjoy our day together!
I sincerely believe that we’re meant to do more than simply get through the days with our families. In order to do that, we need to be intentional from the start. I know I need to set a time by which I will get up, and then hold myself accountable to be fully ready for the day by a second set time. If not, then negative consequences similar to those listed in the above scenario will follow. I’d much rather experience the second scenario and have a calm and joyful home and family time! Wouldn’t you?
~Read Part 2~ (Coming Soon)