My children started school on August 14th. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the fact that they went back to school in the absolute middle of summer. As someone who grew up in New Jersey, it is anathema to me to begin school in August, let alone in the middle of August, but here we are.
The start of the school year always seems like a new beginning. And, what better way to begin again than a 30 Day Challenge? I really love a 30 day challenge. It’s just long enough that you feel like you’ve gotten something done, but not so long that it feels like it will never end.
I decided to start a 30 Day Wake-Up Challenge to tie in with the start of the school year. For 30 days I would wake up at 6 am in order to have an hour of writing time before I needed to take my daughter to the bus stop. It seemed like a reasonable challenge. This sort of thing is all over the internet, in fact, waking up at 6 am is quite tame by internet standards.
Well, how is it going? Not as I might have expected. Actually, and I never do this, I ended the challenge after 2 weeks.
- When I wake up super early committed to spending that time in creative pursuits, I need to wake up well-rested. For me, that meant going to bed before 10. Really, it probably means going to bed around 9, but that’s difficult to do. It also makes me wonder what time people go to bed who wake up at 5? I could barely function, most of my morning pages are me blathering on about how I need to figure out how to get more sleep, and the early afternoon when my Kindergartner goes upstairs for her rest-time saw me staring blankly at my phone wasting away my free time.
- If I am going to wake up super early, I need to have a place to go. My children saw me at the desk – sometimes with headphones on and background noise pumped into them – and still interrupted to ask me what was the menu for the school lunch, where the cookies where, or why can’t we get a different kind of chips. I wanted to wear a sign that said “WRITING IN PROGRESS – DISTURB AT YOUR OWN PERIL!” but, I doubt that it would have made a difference.
- I started experiencing health difficulties. I’m sure I’ll get to this in later posts, but I have a condition called Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). I have worked extremely hard over the last 5 years in order to get my body to a place that is comfortable and in control. Generally speaking, these days I frequently forget I have POP, but there are two things that will make my POP symptoms appear without fail: screaming at my kids and lack of sleep. I definitely noticed that the early wake up time was making my POP symptoms more prominent. It happens every year with the start of school. But, getting less sleep was also making me less easy-going and more prone to completely flip out. Flipping out is bad for POP. Flipping out will make symptoms appear even if you are very well rested. I was not.
When I looked at the last item on this list, I knew that I couldn’t continue to wake up so early. When I combined all three items, I knew I had to end the experiment early. The irony is, of course, that I’m really not getting all that much more sleep. I’m now waking up with my daughter at 6:30 so that I can get in my morning pages before I bring her to the bus stop. Somehow, though, those extra 30 minutes are making a difference. I’m not in a haze. I’m less tired mentally. And, things have started to even out physically.
I’m back to the drawing board about how to fit my creative endeavors into my life now that I’m homeschooling my daughter and my day is really not my own.