Monday, January 25, 2010

Why Waking Up at 3:30 AM is Good

This past month has been real madness. With a broken finger, I managed to bake 18 cupcakes and make homemade frosting. The next day I had surgery and hours after that I served those cupcakes to Logan's friends in school. Then a few days later I threw an ice skating birthday party for him while still groggy from vicodin. People said I was a super mom but really, these were just things on a schedule I couldn't change.

Right after the birthday party I came down with serious migraines (probably from the vicodin) and just as the migraines went away, I found out that my finger had become infected. So then I had to go on constipation-causing antibiotics which also sent me back to migraine country. I don't know anyone who gets migraines because of digestion issues but I do.

The only person who helped me feel better was my acupuncturist. I could find no relief through any medication. I don't know what she does but I really wish I had enough money to see her every week just to keep my body in balance. I have a feeling she could even help Logan too.

I definitely know I am better because I am back to waking up at 4 AM again. I used to hate waking up at this hour. Most of the time, it was caused by Spencer waking up and not going back to sleep. I would try to play with him and keep him safe and entertained while I stole minutes of sleep here and there. It was hell.

But now waking up at 4 AM all on my own is a totally wonderful experience. I am basically doing the things I would be doing after they fall asleep except I have tons more energy because I have already slept a few hours. Even though I have a couple of hours everyday while both children are at school, that time is reserved for grocery shopping, eating lunch and dawdling, making dinner, and/or running errands, and feeling sorry for myself because my finger is broken. I hardly feel good about myself during this time. I also never exercise during this time because I feel bad exercising when I could be using the time to make dinner and run errands. I always find excuses not to exercise.

However, when you go to sleep early and wake up at 3 or 4 am, everything is different. The fatigue you have goes away quickly and all you want to do is lie down and stretch your body. This is hardly something I want to do at night or in the middle of the day when the kids are at school. But early in the morning, stretching exercises and possibly even yoga (in the future) make sense to me.

I also get a chance to tidy up the house a bit, pack Logan's lunch without hurrying, choose and pre-prepare his breakfast, eat my own breakfast, and look at my to-do list for the day or make one if I haven't already. I drink coffee while I'm sitting and finish the cup while the coffee is still hot which rarely ever happens. I also may start writing a post in this blog and catch up on emails.

I also like it because there is a deadline. I still think I have ADHD because I love deadlines. My deadline in the morning is when I have to wake Logan for school. Until then, I do as much as I can and I work faster because I feel the pressure. If I were to attempt the same things at night after the kids went to bed, I would likely feel overwhelmed with fatigue and not do as much but stay up late anyway because I never go to sleep at the same time.

I have also found that I want to eat a smaller breakfast at this time because it is still so dark and I become very sleepy on a full stomach. Thus for the sake of being more productive (and thin), I end up having a small breakfast, peacefully and mindfully.

I am not sure if I'm playing mindgames with myself but there is also something to be said for trying to get things done while everyone is asleep. I think I find comfort knowing that everyone I love is at home and yet not needing anything from me. This is "me time."

I used to do my homework at 11 PM when I was in high school for the same reason. I was not alone but I had silence and no distractions. This reminds me of another plus for going to sleep early and waking up early. You must be quiet. That means that I can not do loud things like cook, empty the dishwasher, or call anyone (because no one is up) and so this usually means I can only do things for myself like read, write, stretch, eat, and watch dramas online.

I don't know how long I'll keep up this practice but I hope I can carry it out for a long time. I am not sure why but starting the day on my own terms instead of waking up when my kids wake up really helps me find the calm I need to have a good morning.

Picture 1: Two birthdays in one month meant three batches of cupcakes and two batches of icing. Here is Spencer filling cupcake liners with gluten-free batter. His ABA therapist Christa (pictured) helps and encourages him. Unfortunately, that batch (not Spencer's fault) came out so bad. I had to use a mix from Cherrybrook Kitchen.

Picture 2: There is something good that can come out of breaking your bones. The cool pictures are very educational for the kids. Still, it is really hard to recover from a break when you have children who are hyper. They have knocked into my broken finger almost daily.


Chynna said...

I wake up that early ALL THE TIME, Jenn. =)

I often get up and work, do homework or other stuff. If my brain is up, then I usually can't do anything to calm it.

LOVE this post. Thanks.


Melissa said...

I wish I could wake up that early... instead it's after midnight and I am baking bread. Maybe your early-birdness will rub off on me. I'd love to have some solitude in the morning, I just can't get out of bed.

Unknown said...

I wake up early all the time, I love it! I catch up on tivo, write and generally spend time by myself.

Good to find your blog, this is mine! I am very new...


Penny Williams said...

How much more dedicated can a mom be than to wake at 4 am! It's not for me, but kudos to you. I take my quiet time after the kids go to bed at 8 pm every night. It's unproductive time though because I have to be quiet -- I just vegetate in front of the TV or computer. Not what I should be doing, I am sure but it's my time for recuperation. :)