The most important part of my day

By Published On: January 21st, 2015

I’ve found that my day goes a whole lot smoother […]

McKinley_Mom&Bea_1-21-15I’ve found that my day goes a whole lot smoother if I can wake up before Bea. Even if it’s just a 20-minute buffer—time to brush my teeth, wash my face and grab a cup of coffee—it’s enough to prevent that dreaded “chasing my tail” feeling for the rest of the day.
The problem is pinpointing exactly when Bea is going to wake up. Apparently, this isn’t one of my strong suits. That, or Bea has developed an uncanny knack for predicting when I’m going to wake up, so she can beat me to the punch.
She can get up at 6 a.m. on the dot for a week straight, but if I set my alarm for 5:18 a.m. to work out or get ready, it guarantees she’ll be squealing into the monitor by 5:14. (If those times seem oddly exact, it’s because they are … I can barely remember my phone number, but I’m fairly certain those wee-morning minutes will be burned into my retinas forever.)
Her psychic ways aren’t on display solely in the mornings, either. After days of dashing though a smooth bedtime routine, we’ll hit a bump in the road—almost always on an evening when I was counting on her going down on time, so I could get something done. And it’s the same story with naptime.
It’s hard not to feel as though Bea is being a teensy bit vindictive in these moments—when she’s cutting into my time and interrupting my schedule. I realize how insanely selfish and completely inaccurate that sounds. Of course my baby has no grasp of my obsessive, overachieving, Americanized sense of urgency. She’s just doing her thing, hanging out with her parents, enjoying the moment. I’m the one who is unpredictable—happy to rock her endlessly one night and rushing to get her into the crib the next.
It’s just that baby-free time is a precious commodity, and it seems like it’s even scarcer when I need it most. Or when I think I need it most. More often than not, my stress is unfounded. There’s no reason I can’t put off work or dinner another 30 minutes in the evenings for a few extra minutes in the rocking chair, and I can always wear my hair in a ponytail and slam a lukewarm cup of coffee if it means starting my day early with a Bea snuggle. And I’m pretty sure those cuddles will be a lot more memorable than my lasagna or my hairdo a few years (or days) down the road.
There’s a C.S. Lewis quote, which I’m sure many of you have seen making the rounds on Pinterest, that always helps me put this into perspective: “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”
It’s one of my favorite statements because it’s so true and also very humbling. I’m beyond lucky I get to spend so much time with Bea—and I try to remember that the late nights, early mornings and short naps aren’t interruptions to my routine; they are my routine. And I’m so grateful to have it.
So even if I can’t start my day before Bea starts hers, I’m going to try to suppress that chase-my-tail urge the rest of the day. Because, really, the only thing I should be chasing is Bea. After all, these extra opportunities for sweet Bea lovin’ and learnin’ won’t be around forever!