Episode 15 of the Best of Both Worlds podcast was about Mornings. I appreciated that the title itself was not "Morning Routines"! Sarah described her morning routine, and Laura talked about how she doesn't necessarily have one, and that you might not really need one unless you need to accomplish things daily that can be accomplished only by a firm routine. She mentioned that there is no need to get up at 5:30 AM unless you really need to do so!
I'm fascinated with people describing their morning routines. Before kids, I found them aspirational, but now that I have children and they are quite intense, my ideas have definitely changed. (I read My Morning Routine mainly for the comic factor.) Here are some things I've come to realize and do in the mornings, somewhat related to being in higher ed.
- My children are awful sleepers. Things have calmed down a bit since they are both post-24 months, but I have learned that their deepest sleep is early in the night and their most fractured, most easily broken sleep is in the early morning. We live in a so-called "Top 25 Highest Earning Town" and I do not make that kind of a salary, so our house is small, old, and creaky. Thus, I have learned to not get up before they do unless I absolutely have to, because one of them will wake up if I just walk past their door. (However, at least one of them inevitably wakes before 6:30 AM at the very latest, so it's not like I'm lazing about in bed every morning.)
- Related to that, I have learned that the margins between kid school start up time and my institution's course schedules in the morning are just too close to have them closely related. So many things can go wrong with course prep and demo set up that it is too risky to have a tight timeline in which I drop off a kid and assume that I will waltz into the classroom ready to go fifteen minutes later. At the very least, the most probable problem that will occur is that the projection system won't work for my 8 AM course, and our institution's tech office doesn't open until 8 AM, so it won't do me any good to get there early anyway. Additionally, sometimes I will need to doublecheck something related to course prep, which sometimes involves checking in with Physics Prof Twitter, my colleagues, or my husband, and I need to allow morning time to do that. We have also had our fair share of a kid waking up with some kind of medical issue (rash, coughing, etc.) and so I have learned that I need to have margin for my husband and I to call the doctor, make an appointment decision based on urgency and parent availability, etc. So I've learned (more about that later - the learning) for which courses I have flexibility to schedule as I wish, and I've done that so that I can focus on getting people to where they need to be and not having my first professional thing be teaching. For the past few semesters, I've been able to avoid scheduling 8 and 9:15 AM courses, and that has been better for all of us (including the students - they generally hate 8 AM courses).
- Laura and Sarah talked about trying to use an alarm so that it doesn't wake up other people in the house. When I can't avoid waking up before the kids do, I depend upon my FitBit Alta HR to buzz me at alarm time. At the very least it reduces one element of sound that could wake everyone up.
- Most evenings, my husband and I make plans for who is going to shower when the next morning. Having that locked in helps tremendously with making a morning go smoothly.
- We feed our kids the same breakfast most mornings: a handful of cereal (they don't like it with milk, so strange), cut up fruit, and some string cheese. And my husband just automatically makes the coffee - no wondering about who is going to do that.
Friends, what is your morning routine?