My mom always makes her bed. For as long as I can remember, she always has. I never understood why. It seemed silly to me to spend time and energy doing something that would be so quickly undone. So, once I was living on my own, I never made my bed and that habit lasted for almost 25 years.
I can’t pinpoint an exact day that making my bed became a crucial part of my daily ritual. I do know it was after my children were born. Children tend to bring about a loss of control. Your days are no longer your own, you are subject to the whims and moods of tiny people who demand all of your time, energy and attention. I remember getting out of bed one morning and having a crazy desire to make my bed. A feeling of overwhelming NEED to make my bed. Like….I couldn’t leave my room without making it. So I did. And I haven’t looked back.
It seems silly, doesn’t it? To write about making my bed. But here is what I’ve come to learn about myself. I enjoy some semblance of control. (I assume many people are this way to some degree) But the events of my life in the last six years have taken a lot of that control away.
The ups and downs of parenting are never-ending. And it feels like the older they get, the less control I have. They suddenly have opinions of their own. They have schedules, practices, homework and plans.
There are a thousand things we can do to make our lives easier. Meal plans, grocery delivery, shared family calendars, and so on. But sometimes, the instant gratification of crossing something off the “to-do” list is needed.
So, I have discovered a few (small) things I can do that help me feel a little more together:
- Clear the kitchen sink before bed: This is great in theory, but hard in practice. Sometimes, I just want to sit on the couch and watch TV after I get the boys to bed. But I have found that if I take time to clear the sink, my morning goes better, and I’m not cranky at the end of my work day when I come home to a sink full of crusty dishes.
- Shower at night: My kids are sleeping, so no one barges into the bathroom asking me to take apart legos, or referee a fight. BONUS, I can hit snooze at least once if I’m already showered! Which brings me to my third suggestion…
- Don’t hit snooze: I would do well to remember how much better my mornings go when I just get up when the alarm goes off. We are less rushed, and there is a greater chance that I won’t yell at anyone.
- Drive in silence: Once I drop my kids off at school, I have a 20 minute drive to work. I usually make my commute sans radio. It gives me some time to mentally think about my day, or pray, or reflect or just enjoy the beautiful sound of nothing coming from my backseat.
- Make your bed: It just takes a couple of minutes, and it feels good to have accomplished something first thing in the morning.
So, if nothing else goes my way on a given day…if I never shower, or the laundry is still in the baskets, or the kids end up eating dinner from a Happy Meal box….at least my bed is made.