March 4, 2010

How a Coffee Break Made Me a Better WAHM

My morning coffee break started at the first of last week when both girls and I were sick. I was moving slowly at the best of times, and I kept getting the chills. So by mid morning I'd end up collapsing into the chair, usually cradling a mug of coffee or hot tea for warmth. I viewed it as a nuisance and a weakness. I had work to do! I didn't need to be lazing about in a chair.

Yet, as the week progressed, I began to notice fringe benefits to taking a half hour or hour break. Sneak would come running over and hold her arms up to me as I'd settle down in the cushioning, so I'd lift her onto my lap. We'd cuddle there, her with her juice, and me with my coffee. While Sneak and I were snuggled up, Boo Bear got a bit of quiet time to herself. And, I'd go back to work once the coffee was done, refreshed and more productive than I would have been slogging through feeling like the cat's latest find.

With as independent as she is, I guess I forget Sneak's still of an age where she needs cuddle time with Hubby and I each day. When she's learning so much the world must seem as if it's in a constant state of change, I can understand the need to be still and quiet in a place that feels stable and safe. I only noticed how much when I saw how much calmer she was for an hour or two after wriggling off my lap in the mornings instead of crying for a nap by 10.

Boo Bear always seems like she craves being around other people all the time, so I never thought she might be missing quiet time alone until Sneak and I were in the chair. Boo would go to her room and either read or play with her barn and animals without our shared shadow tagging along behind. What makes this time so different from the hour or so after dinner when Sneak is sitting either on Hubby's knee or in my lap much of the time, I don't know, but it seems to be a much needed time for Boo to "just chill."

I suppose my reluctance to take a break in the morning has to do with my dislike of stopping in the middle of something. I'd rather just see it through until the end and then have my fun after all the work is done. I've never been a late sleeper. Even on the days I have a lie in, if I'm not up by 7:10, you can pretty much bet I'm ill, so I already have a lot done by 9 a.m.

When things go according to the usual routine, I make the bed, swish and swipe the bathrooms, and settle with my first cup of coffee to check email, network, and tend to marketing if needed. The girls wake around 7:30, and they can either watch Sid the Science Kid or play in their rooms while I start some laundry, put away the clean dishes, and make breakfast. Then after breakfast, they can either watch Dinosaur Train or play while I clean up the kitchen, put away the clean laundry, and grab a ten minute workout.

After all that, I'm starting to flag, especially on my cardio days. Used to, I'd just gulp down a glass of water as quickly as I could and keep going. However, I'd start slowing down, and I wouldn't get much else done. Yet, if I take my time with a cup of coffee after the water, enjoy some time with Sneak on my lap while I watch Rachel Ray, I get back to work at 10, and get more done in the next hour than I'd finish in two without the break. Plus, I've noticed I just relax and goof off with the girls more when I don't push to go, go, go all morning with the idea of having all afternoon free. That never really happened anyway.

Then by lunchtime, the household chores are usually done, and the girls are ready for a good nap. While they sleep, I take another leisurely break for lunch, and then I can put a sizable dent in my daily writing goals if not finish them off altogether before the girls wake, leaving only preparing dinner, another load or two of laundry, and time with Hubby and my girls for the evening instead of the half a list of leftover morning jobs I used to still have on my plate.

So, do you give yourself permission to take a regular coffee break? How's it affected your routine?

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