I am a creature of habit. I like routine. In the absence of an existing structure, I create one. This tendency is especially helpful on the many mornings when my work day begins at 6am. I have a carefully cultivated ritual of rising well before dawn, reading and praying while I drink my tea, and getting myself and the house in order before slipping silently out into the still dozing city.
In recent weeks, however, a few of my early morning clients have been on travel, leaving me with the freedom to choose when and how I wake. When this has happened in the past, I have chosen to get up at the same time and take advantage of the rare opportunity for a morning run or yoga practice - or savored the luxury of checking things off my to-do list while the rest of the household is still dreaming. But this week I chose instead to stay in bed until the babe woke up. I lingered until the luxurious hour of 6:30am, at which point she climbed into bed and launched into chatter about last night's dreams and the day to come. Moments later, my little go-getter announced it was time for breakfast, so we followed her lead and started our day.
I would like to tell you the extra sleep and precious moments with my family provided a delightful change of pace and improved my day. But while I enjoyed the extra time we shared together, I found myself off-balance and scrambling to get the babe - and myself - and the house ready on time. Instead of treasuring the sweet start to our day, I found myself resentful for not attending to my responsibilities first.
I was halfway to concluding that the few minutes of together time weren't worth the subsequent rush when it occurred to me: It isn't the end of the world if pajamas are left on the floor of my daughter's room for one morning. No one will know (or care) if the breakfast dishes linger in the sink for one day. And what is more important - a tidy house and on-time arrival or giving my family my undivided attention?
I know from the experience of fellow mamas - and the speed with which the past two and a half years have flown by - that opportunities to snuggle and surrender to the babe's timeline are fleeting. The days when I can again prioritize an orderly house and adhere to a strict schedule will come entirely too soon...
With the frenzy of the holiday season just ahead, I am turning off my morning autopilot and looking for opportunities to prioritize relationships over routine. I am committing to invest my energy and attention where it yields the more important reward. Will you join me?