When you’ve got a baby or very young children, it seems like you can get to 9am and feel like you’ve already had a full day. Know the feeling? I have a love/hate relationship with this feeling. On most days I genuinely love that we’re up at 6:30am, getting busy and feeling like you’ve actually achieved a few things before the rest of the world has risen (especially on weekends). But the one thing I just can’t face at that time of morning is baby/toddler play time. Call me a bad mum, but I find the idea of having to sit down on the floor and start entertaining as soon as breakfast is over (usually before 7:30am!) just so difficult.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE playtime. At 10am, or 11am, or 2pm, 3pm, 4pm. You get the drift. But when it starts super early, I generally feel like it’s going to be a verrrry long day. Which is where this ‘happiness hack’ comes into play – again, with my new-since-having-a-baby friend.
The early morning walk/coffee/breakfast:
In the very early days, each with 4-5 month old babies, we started walking. We would walk every weekday morning together and finish up with a coffee. As the bubs started their first solids, we would also take along their breakfast. At that stage, we were usually racing back in time to put them to bed for naps. Gradually their naps got later and we’d have more time to play with. We’d start meeting on the weekends with the dads as well for coffee/baby breakfast.
This little tradition has turned into one of the non-negotiable events in my week. I love that we’re setting our children the great example of getting up and exercising in the morning, and that they get some fresh air themselves. I love that we get to have our essential hit of caffeine while the little ones plough through their porridge or weetbix. And I really love that just for that first hour or so, they’re happy sitting in their prams (most of the time – we do sometimes have to stop off at the park for a quick run around!) and the dog gets his much needed walk.
Our weekends now follow the same ritual. Get up, get dressed, prepare porridge and head off. Quick walk, coffee, a bit more of a walk, often a trip to the playground, and then home. Sure, we’re often at our local cafe so early we could be helping them set up. But that’s just an added bonus – no other customers to worry about disturbing by a rogue toddler. Our little outings give us all a great start to the day and some togetherness before we get busy. Some exercise, fresh air, the coffee we’ve all become so dependent on, and postpones the need to start entertaining little ones until a much more palatable hour. I can’t imagine a time when this is no longer our morning ritual.