The Art of Happy Mornings

I really love mornings.

I love the newness of the day, the opportunity — the chance to get it all right, for once.

And I love the coffee.

But what I don’t love is when the really early alarm goes off — and by alarm I really mean just a tap, tap, tap on your arm in the dark from a toddler or a child — and I’m not ready. I don’t love feeling unprepared to meet the day that early.

This kind of off-schedule pattern can really wreck families lives and create serious tension.

Early wake ups have happened many times since my twin daughters’ were born. My daughters have always been early risers — even in the womb where I imagine they woke each other by elbowing the other just because they could.

I didn’t always handle abrupt early morning starts well. I used to resist them feeling like I needed more sleep, more time and more preparation to create the ideal day.

This started my day off in an angry state-of-mind.

And then one morning, after a bunch of bad ones, I realized what I had been seeking — a perfectly designed and strategized morning flow — wasn’t really attainable and sustainable every single day.

Many days, yes, but certainly not every one. Eventually I realized it was more important to get over it than get frustrated by it. I changed a few things, but the main thing I changed was my mindset.

I stopped viewing those early morning wake-ups as mistakes, and I began seeing them for what they really were — gifts of time for our connection and ease into our day.

So for the past few years, when I’ve been faced with that pitch-dark tap, tap, tap, I reach out and grab that small, silky hand and I bring it close to me and I hug the child offering me the gift of waking up. I don’t ask about her bad dream. I don’t ask what she needs. I just offer myself to her.

And I don’t say a word most of the time.

But in my head I’m thinking, “Yes, another day — another day to get it right, starting right now.”

Published on: December 30, 2013
About the Author
Photo of Shawn Fink

Shawn Fink is a mom of twin girls and the founder of The Abundant Mama Project and the author of The Playful Family e-book. She is on a mission to inspire busy mamas around the world to slow down and start being more present, playful and peaceful.

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