Update on my morning routine with baby

A few weeks ago I posted about how I needed to re-establish new routines for my life with my five-month-old. Well,  I have resounding good news for you: IT WORKS. It’s been great! My morning now looks like this:

  • Wake up, make coffee, drink a glass of water
  • Hop in the shower
  • Feed Jack (Willy gets Jack when they wake up and they play together until I’m done in the shower)
  • Eat breakfast With Willy, put on make-up (it makes me feel like a real person)
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Jack goes down for his first nap and while he naps I do my first round of cleaning for the day.

By the time Jack is sleeping at 8:30, I have already accomplished so much, that I’m able to sit down and enjoy the silence. I’ve even CLEANED stuff. I’ve realized that I need to get something done like this first thing in the morning before laziness/ tiredness sets in. It’s really easy in the afternoon to “justify” not doing any cleaning because I’m tired or whatever excuse that comes up.

You know, I was really sceptical about the difference having my shower first would make. One day I was having a bunch of moms over and I had to maximize my morning so I hopped in the shower first since Jack seemed to be fine waiting to eat. It revolutionized my morning! Instead of waiting till his nap and showering, now I can use that time to do other things.

I’m very pleased with myself. Now I need to make sure I don’t get lazy with the cleaning because that’s been the best part of all: I don’t feeling gross about this apartment I’m sitting in all day long.

The Pinnacle

Yesterday I think I had the best saturday of my life. Let me give you a run down of what happened:

  • I “woke up” early with Willy’s alarm (6:45) and got out of bed shortly after
  • I read a Psalm
  • I was at the grocery store by 9am
  • I came back, helped tidy the kitchen, prepped lunch
  • I started a load of laundry
  • (Accidentally?) Cleaned the bathroom
  • Ate lunch
  • Evaluated the status of how on-top of our Picture a Week project we are
  • Headed off to a baby shower
  • Came back, baked bread for spelt hamburger buns
  • Made one of W’s favourite meals: Chicken Piquant
  • Cleaned up, read some of Anne of Avonlea, and headed off to a movie with W.

If you don’t immediately understand why this was so great, let me help you understand.

I did laundry, cleaned the bathroom and groceries ALL IN THE SAME DAY. I do not really like groceries or cleaning and laundry can feel like a nuisance. Often when I spend my Saturdays on these activities it feels like it’s all I’ve done and I’m annoyed that I didn’t get to relax or do nice things that I like (I know… this will be parenthood and the rest of my life, right?)

I did some hobby-type things instead of watching more Netflix. I filled 20 minutes here and there with reading, keeping on top of our annual scrapbook and baking.

I was selectively social and left before I had had too much. I love this term because it describes how I feel after a week filled with people. I will always been an extravert, but sometimes I need  time with certain people or anybody but certain people. It was an enjoyable afternoon celebrating the baby of a friend a few weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy.

I made good food for the man I love. I listened to CBC Radio 2 and made a heart-warming supper. I forgot how I do like to cook when I feel confident about what I’m doing and I’m not stressed for time. It felt good.

Unplanned

I think part of what made this day the best was that I had some key things in place that I needed to do but I hadn’t planned out my day to the point that it felt stressful. They were all executed at a leisurely pace and wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t do them. But the most important thing was getting up early so I felt I had time to do everything without feeling like everything was rushed and terrible.

I’m writing this out mostly because I will always need a reminder of

  1. why getting up early is good, and;
  2. why staying on top of things like groceries, laundry and cleaning will always feel better when it’s done.

I’m sure I’ve written about this before – how I have selective memory. I forget that things I don’t like to do actually feel good when it’s done. It’s like playing certain boardgames with people. I will NEVER want to. But I’ve learned that if I agree despite my zero interest or desire, I may actually still have fun and enjoy my time.

I said to W at supper, “I think I have reached the peak of my life today, and I will never have this perfect a Saturday ever again. I think I’m ok with that, because at least I know it happened.”

Kind of sad, but I’m anticipating my life to be totally upside down once baby comes. Part of me wants to try to make Saturdays like this (flexibly?) regimented and habitual. The other part of me is afraid that if I try to do that I will add all kinds of pressure and expectation and it will culminate in epic failure and disappointment.

This day reminds me that I do need more order and structure in my life to help me manage everything, and I’m still trying to figure out how to do that as painlessly as possible.

For my Poppy

dad-jess

I have two significant memories of my dad when I was really young, probably  4 or 5. One was a hot summer day in Saskatoon and the boys were all out in the back yard working on my mom’s extensive garden. My older dad peeled off his shirt, my older brother peeled off his shirt and my toddler brother was just in his diaper anyways. I was left the only shirted person there and I started to do the same when my older brother said, “NO! You can’t take off your shirt, you’re a girl!”

I didn’t even understand how those two things were at all related. It was hot out. I looked at my dad, “Dad? Can I take off my shirt?” and he replied “Go ask your mother.”

I learned how to deflect tricky parenting situations from him. Actually, my mom was pretty good at it, too.

There were a few things my dad taught me about consistency. He came home from work every day at 5:30 and we ate supper more or less right away. He would walk in the door and whistle (twice high, then lower) to let us know he was home. This whistle eventually evolved to him just calling out “foo foo” because this was easier than whistling I guess. (Few things in our family stayed one way ever, we had this always evolving language based on English what French my parents remembered from High School/Dutch/our childish misunderstandings of what the words actually were.). Every morning when I was young enough to wake up at 6AM, I would find my dad stretched out on the couch with a Bible in his lap. He would get up at 5:30 every morning to read the Bible and pray. As a very little girl when I watched him do that with probably more consistency than I saw him do anything else, I learned two very important things:

1) When my daddy says he’ll pray for me I know he will, and I know he will even when he doesn’t tell me he will.

2) Our children watch us and pick up on our habits whether we intend for them to or not.

dad-jess-wedding

How I developed the habit of writing regularly

A little while ago I wrote a celebratory post on how I’ve began writing regularly. This, along with reading regularly have been wonderful additions to my life. It’s weird but reading and writing regularly make me happier and better. I’m less cranky, more hopeful, always thinking and processing things. I used to have terrible success in doing things regularly that I didn’t need to. Writing my second novel (which I didn’t finish) happened because I needed to write it in a different sense. I had to get the images that were in my head, those scenes that described my life through this other character needed to get on paper as a sort of pensieve of that time in my life.

Anyways.

A friend left a question in response to that post that I want to reply to.

catherineQ

This is a good question. It was probably four years ago that I decided to take this desire to write seriously, even though I felt like I had nothing worth saying to anyone.

  1. I acknowledged that I would never make time for anything I didn’t feel like was a priority. There are lots of good things in life and many great things. It’s a personal decision what you prioritize. Just over a year ago I decided to prioritize some things that involved writing because I wanted to grow in these areas.
  2. Try Nanowrimo. Writing a novela in a month is a great way to develop the habit. It forces you to say no to certain things in order to say yes to writing. It’s thrilling. It’s hard. It’s a lot of fun. At the end of the month you’ve accomplished something that you might never look at again, or could be a good framework for an actual novel you continue to develop. I doubt you’ll finish the month thinking it was a total waste of time if you take it seriously.
  3. Find a project/venue to write. For years (read: since 2001) I’ve blogged. This was always a writing outlet. I’m quite confident it’s the reason I can put an idea on paper so quickly. Having a blog or a writing project with goals helps tremendously. “Who would read my blog?” Who cares? Don’t write for other people, write for yourself. Write about what you care about, develop your voice. If you want to write fiction, give yourself a project and a deadline and a friend to keep you accountable. It’s just like any other goal you’d have. One of the projects I started writing this year was really just a project for me to think through certain things. As it was developing, I realized it might be a helpful resource to people eventually. So I kept going and am working on editing it.
  4. It’s life giving to me. It’s hard to stop doing something that’s life-giving and that people give such positive feedback on. I now notice that when I don’t feel inspired to write or don’t feel like I have time to write, it’s because my life is slowly getting out of sorts. It’s a helpful compass.
  5. [edit] Track it. I forgot to add this one at first. I’ve noticed that paying attention to when I write helps. One of my habits that I’m tracking on Lift is “Write for 30 minutes.” If I can do that every day, I’m doing awesome. Even if I do that a few times a week, it’s a good week. Having that reminder on my app every day helps me plan to make time to write.

If you’ve ever wanted to write go open up a wordprocessor this weekend or the next evening you have free and start. No one has to see it. No one has to know. Do it for you because you want to and it is (if you acknowledge what’s going on deep down inside of you) important to you. Work on it for 15 or 30 minutes another day. Have a notebook or notepad app with you to jot down your ideas when they come. Keep plugging away at it. Soon you’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished!

Have anything else to add? Have you developed the habit of writing regularly? How did you develop it? 

A Week Like Last: Why routine and habit has become crucial to my functioning

I’m writing this from North Carolina and I’m very happy about that. Willy finished his final papers and exams at 5PM Friday evening. It was an intense two weeks of assignments and exams for him. I joked with my coworkers that he was hardly a whole human being anymore. His life was studying and writing, save sleep and a short time for meals. I had a busy week consolidating things at the end of the school year, having final meetings before we went on vacation and then switched gears to start working on a new project when I return.

Last week was a big reminder that I still need to grow in developing habits and routines in my schedule that are non-negotiable. Buying groceries is one of those things. There was much chaos last week and I’m confident we could have maintained a sense of normalcy if I had a structured time I did groceries (we didn’t have much in the fridge last week and were too busy to go get some), still making time for other things.

My ideal has become building a series of habits and routines that reduces the amount that I need to think and maximizes getting things done. “Things” being primarily the things I don’t like doing and don’t want to do and therefore don’t make proper time for: Like washing my floors and grocery shopping.

I can’t remember if I’ve posted about this before, but this isn’t the first time that I’ve felt like my life is a bit of a gongshow and I think to myself: I know how to fix this, I just have to do it.

Just doing it is half the trouble, right?

But this week is about chilling out, enjoying the sun, eating really cheap food here in America, and relaxing.

The role of vision in goal achievement

vision

Source: Nomadic Lass

The last week I’ve been mulling over the concept of vision and how it can motivate us as well as give us drive that we might not otherwise have. In connection with this, I’ve been thinking a lot about the shift that happened in my life that led to me starting this blog. I think it really has to do with a renewed vision of what my life could be. It was through that heart-capturing renewed vision that motivated me to make important changes in my life. Here’s what I mean:

Last fall I blogged these words,

A few weeks ago I was reading the ebook You Are A Writer by Jeff Goins. He wrote something that really got under my skin.

“Not too long after the race, I woke up early one morning, drank some coffee, and went for a five-mile run. After that, I wrote a few pages for my book and went to work.  

That evening, I looked back on the day and I was shocked by all I had accomplished. Getting up early, running five miles, writing over a thousand words — where did all this discipline come from?”

Those words really agitated me. I stayed up late that night talking with my husband about it. I hated that I didn’t have the discipline to have the discipline to run. I hated that I cared so much what people thought of me. I hated that I wanted to pursue writing, but there were things holding me back and I couldn’t figure it out. That night as we were talking I realized that my personal idol of acceptance/caring what people thought of me was the biggest problem standing in my way.

“I don’t want to be this person!” I exclaimed. Willy thought I was concerned with my weight, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I was letting things get in my way from getting what I wanted out of life, from achieving my goals. When I was a teenager I decided that I wanted to accomplish some things in life and I was going to do what I could in my power to make those happen. It’s one thing if Providence moves those things out of the realm of possibility, but at least I could say I did my best with my circumstances. That’s what I want to be about.

Those goals acted as a vision for what my life could be. They were things I wanted to be true of me. I imagined the next 60 years flying by and me ‘not having the time’ to make these changes and regretting it. Let me be clear: the things that I wanted to change were accents to my life. They were the pops of colour in a wardrobe, or the jewellery to complete the outfit. I am very happy with my marriage, my work, my life in Montreal in general. It was the “less important” things that I wasn’t happy with: the lack of hobbies (not that I didn’t have ideas of what I wanted to do, I just didn’t have the confidence or self-discipline to start). I will write more on this later.

Vision and belief

The first step was having vision or a picture of what things could be otherwise. This is beyond “wouldn’t it be cool if?” and more along the lines of “this is what it could be!” The next obstacle to surmount was to decide whether it was even reasonable. I’m a pretty rational person. I’m often too rational to the point where it can hurt people’s feelings, or I forget the people within the problems I’m trying to solve. I didn’t want to set myself up for inevitable public failure. I wanted to be somewhat sure that I could do these things. As I evaluated, I realized they were pretty reasonable. The one thing standing in my way was fear.

I refuse to let fear run my life.

Recognizing the obstacles

Recognizing the obstacles helped me find the resolve to overcome them after coaching myself into believing that they weren’t as important as I thought they were. Who cared what people thought? Who cared if people laughed and scoffed? Was their opinion more important than my own self-perception? Not a chance. The fact was, I was not happy with the momentum my laziness was gaining. It was humbling and embarrassing to come to terms with the fact that my laziness wasn’t Who I was but more like What I was allowing myself to be. It’s hard to change our nature, it might be even impossible! What we can learn is discipline and grow in maturity as a person if we identify the areas we’re lacking.

But it all started with a vision of the person I could be.

What about you? What do you want to have accomplished in 50 years? Are there things that require changing in your life now to achieve them? Do you believe you can change ? Share your goals or ideas in the comments here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...