I slept in today.
It’s 6:03am and I just sat down with my coffee. Yes, 6:03 is sleeping in. 6:00 is not the usual hour that I wake – 6:00 is the hour that the house begins to wake. It is the hour that children begin to pour from their rooms looking for me – the hour that my day begins as mom and homemaker. I, on the other hand, typically wake up much much earlier. In the wee hours of the morning, before the sun has peeked over the horizon. Before the birds begin to chirp.
I do this every day but sleep has not been easy lately. The baby is teething and not sleeping well so neither am I. I decided to change my routine to allow myself an extra hour today, I slept a little later. When the baby woke to be fed, instead of laying her back down to sleep and beginning my day, I decided to roll over and close my eyes for just a little longer. It is Sunday after all. And tomorrow I will be back to waking up before the dawn.
When I finally decide to get up, I have slept in for an extra hour. I gently maneuver myself out of bed so not to wake the sleeping baby. I tip toe down the hallway, past the doors of dreaming children. I sneak into the kitchen and quietly make my self a cup of coffee.
I sit down, take my first sip, and then I hear it.
I hear a door slowly creak open. I hear tiny feet pitter pattering down the hallway.
Then I see it, a little blonde pony tail poking her head around the corner.
Instead of smiling and cheerfully saying good morning, in that second my heart sunk. I am immediately annoyed that five minutes was the the only amount of time that I got to myself. My morning seemingly ruined – I am no longer alone, enjoying my glorious cup of coffee. I no longer have only the thoughts in my own mind to listen too.
Not even 5 minutes to myself. Because I chose to ‘sleep in’ until 6:03 my alone time for the day is 5 min.
Think about that. For every minute, the entire day moving forward, I am with another person (or two or three or four or five depending on who is around the house at that time). It is a lot to take in. It is a lot of noise, a lot of thinking, a lot of emotions, a lot of conversation – and most of it isn’t my own.
When I wake early I am able to prepare and reflect and be a better mother to those little people peacefully dreaming in their beds. But on this morning, the morning I chose to roll over and close my eyes for just a few minutes longer I can not do that.
What about the evenings, once the kids are in bed? I’m sure you’re thinking, won’t you be alone then? The truth is No, no I will not. I will be without children but I will be with my husband.
It’s different. Although we will be kid free I will still not be alone. Alone in my own thoughts and thinking, alone to read a book of my own choosing, even alone to watch whatever mindless television I want. There is still another human to account for. Another person to receive input from. The house will not quite be settled in for the night. The dog is still up, the television still on. No, it is not the same.
The evenings, before I go to bed, is my time with my husband – and I enjoy that time, I do. But I still need time to myself. Time to think without my thoughts being interrupted. Time to just sit in silence. Time to focus on nothing else by myself and my own body and my own mind. My time.
So instead of sleeping in I wake before 5. I inch my way out of bed and slowly creep into the silence of my kitchen. I enjoy my coffee in the dark and I am alone. I need that time, for me. I need that time to gather my thoughts so that I can begin my day. I need that time to prepare, to prepare myself for what the day has in store. I need that time, on my own, so that I do not wake up reacting to the needs of others.
I slept in, and it was the biggest parenting mistake I ever made.