The Leftovers

I'm an introvert. I am much better at making friends in small groups. I measure relationships in the quality of interactions rather than the quantity. I really don't need a lot of people. I don't like most people that much anyway.

But I do need time to myself. I crave time to myself. As a mom, that's a precious, rare commodity.

Time when little bodies aren't climbing all over me, their squishy, maternal jungle gym. Time when little voices aren't constantly asking for something. Time when I can go to the bathroom in peace, without little fists banging at the bathroom door (if it's even closed) or little fingers reaching under the bottom of the door.

Margin. Blank space.

Time to breathe in and out and just be. Time to stare blankly. Time to sip tea. While it's hot. This time recharges my batteries and makes me a better wife and mom. It lengthens my fuse, helps me focus on them instead of on me.

So I've been trying to get up early to have some alone time. Man, it's hard! One morning was great and I thought, "Yes, this is what those other moms, you know, the ones on all of the blogs, do. I can be disciplined and I can totally dominate this getting up early thing."

Morning 2 was a disaster. The kids started getting up the same time as I was. Maybe because they had been sneaking into our bed in the middle of the night and my 6 am alarm was waking them. Or maybe they just felt the fun I was having and decided that it couldn't be had without them. (Not the case but that is surely what my sleep-deprived brain thought.)

Every morning since then has been a real toss-up. One morning I woke up and nearly completed an entire DIY project. The next morning, I barely got dressed and made a cup of tea before a little blonde head came bounding down the stairs asking for breakfast. And I'm a freaking ninja when I'm sneaking downstairs. Ask any woman who has sleeping children she doesn't want to wake quite yet. I've never been so stealth.

When it works, I see the great value this alone time adds to my day and my experiences with my children and husband. Time to center myself benefits all of us.

This past week our bedtime has gotten later and later. We've done a better job at getting the kids to bed rather quickly and at their appointed bedtime, but we have been stretching out our time downstairs and not getting to bed early enough for me to get up and have alone time in the morning. (6 hours of sleep is not quite enough for me to continuously function.) It's time to recommit to getting to bed at a reasonable time so I can be a better mama and wife. More patient and calm. More focused.

Making time for myself is not about finding the leftover bits of the day, but rather about intentionally setting aside time.

I'm worth more than the leftovers and so is my sanity.


How do you make time for yourself? What are your morning habits?

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