Thursday, January 19, 2012
Space Held for The Morning
I have overbooked myself again, taking on another new client slightly in advance of the end of a large project with another client, and I feel our family's pace picking back up now, just as The Carnivore has entered his busiest period in months. The good news always seems to be that the busier we are, the more we are able to accomplish. Tasks constrict or grow to fill the space they are given, I think, so when I attempt to cram a growing pile of clients into a day already filled with the children's learning time, pressing household duties, and a couple of personal pursuits as well, I find that efficiency can go through the roof. In a good way.
But then again, my ability to take this all in stride might have more to do with recent enhancements to my morning routine than with any sort of brilliant insights into competency that I may have to offer.
Waking myself up, it turns out, is far preferable to that jarring feeling of being shaken awake by a child who already has a list of demands that need to be met.
I just don't work well under those circumstances. This new habit of being the first one up (on purpose, no less) has been nearly perfect. And I recently took away the kids' morning cartoons during the week, so the absence of advertising and bright colors and loud noises has had a positive effect on the overall tone of the morning as well.
I should have done this a year ago, but I had grown so fond of the electronic babysitter handling the first few minutes of the day that I sunk into a rut without giving it much thought.
The days are beginning to flow a little more smoothly now. I arise at seven, and I practice yoga, get myself dressed and ready for the day, get some quiet time, and then, at eight, I wake up the kids, snuggling and playing with them for a few minutes before racing them to the breakfast table and getting some protein and fiber in them first thing - before they have a chance to let hunger affect their delicate temperaments.
I do not say that disparagingly, mind you. When I have not eaten enough protein, I feel weak and a little bit dumb. When I haven't consumed enough fresh fruits and vegetables, I feel sluggish. A lack of whole-grain fiber makes me moody. Have you ever kept a food diary and tracked the way your moods and energy levels change according to the types of food you eat? I highly recommend it (and it beats blindly trusting the FDA or a faddish diet book for generic nutrition advice).
We listen to classical music during breakfast and lunch, and that too has been a pleasant addition to our daily rhythms. It calms the kids when they are getting feisty; it settles mama when I start feeling edgy. Our history lessons this year are focused on the Baroque period, so I chose Bach and Vivaldi for our composer studies, opting to fully immerse in only two composers rather than cramming in as many as we could. Such a lovely part of our day. Especially when we were listening to Vivaldi at dinner one night, and The Boy Wonder schooled The Carnivore and I on some facts he learned about Vivaldi in music class at his homeschool academy.
Homeschooling in our family is two parts frustrating, one part challenging, and one part rewarding. That moment landed solidly in the rewarding column. I need to keep a running list of those events as they happen. They do not occur as often as I originally assumed they would, but when they do, it is pure magic.
And so the mornings are beginning to improve. An earlier and less distracted start time allows us to move more deliberately and intentionally through breakfast and our lessons, which in turn keeps all of our moods in check so that the afternoon lies ahead of us with just a little bit more promise and a lot less frustration.
Deliberate. Intentional. Those are good goals for the day, I think.