Rise and Shine Mama Challenge

I am currently participating in Shawn Fink’s “Rise and Shine Mama Challenge.”  (If you haven’t already, check out my unsolicited review of the AMP).

Yesterday’s prompt involved journaling about our needs.  Not our needs as mama (though those could be included too), but our needs as women — as the woman who still exists (somewhere in there) outside of our role(s) as mom/wife/partner.

I found myself getting caught between needs and wants, but ended up writing down both because I believe “wants” was more the intention of the exercise.

First I made myself chuckle since “sleep” was the first thing on the list.  This often feels to me like the great paradox of  the “rise and shine” aspect of AMP: I need to get rise early in order to start my day off “right” (that is, right for me), but I also need sleep. I believe that Shawn would say that we make this decision each day, in the moment, by truly responding to what we need. If it is sleep we truly need when that alarm goes off at 5:15am, then it is sleep we should have.  If not, well then, get up and greet the day.  In one of the early e-mails for this challenge, Shawn included a quote (I’ve not forgotten the exact words and who said it) — something to the effect of — If we lose an hour in the morning, we spend the rest of the day looking for it.  And I feel this is so true.  Often when that alarm goes off, I am not even fully in charge of making the decision.  Some days I instantly drift immediately back to sleep.  Those are the days that I try not to beat myself up for missing my morning me time (though I am truly sad to have missed it, I don’t need to layer guilt on top of that).  The rest of the days I need to do a lot of self-coaxing but ultimately the pay off of padding groggily through my house to get my coffee and settle in at my desk is so worth it.

Truly, the most important thing I believe I have gained so far from AMP is the skill of reminding myself/telling myself how much better I’ll feel if I can just start my day with writing and end my day with yoga (most days) and my gratitude journal. If I can hit those three marks, then even missing other important elements like working out and making a home cooked meal feels like not such a big deal.

As she often is, Shawn was right in encouraging us to journal our needs (all of them!), because as she said, often what we think we need might not be what we actually need.  Yesterday I believed that I “needed” to figure out which writing project to work on in the morning and  from which angle I needed to be approaching it.  What I found out, however, was that I just needed to allow myself time to journal — to write and doodle and imagine and plan and dream without an agenda, theme, or topic; without worrying about audience or whether my writing was any good.

A couple of other realizations I have to come to in the five days of this challenge:  my evening rituals and rising early plans are pretty solid and effective but could be tweaked a bit.  For example, I could be much better about using my evening time to prep for the next day.  I’m generally so damn tired in the evenings and so much more a morning person that I tend to leave everything for morning.  However, packing lunches (especially on the eves before Levi goes to daycare) and picking out clothes in the evening could go a loooong way toward making mornings feel a little less like a marathon.  I also need to figure out a morning contingency plan for the days when I go through the effort of rising early and my little guy rises right along with me.  My default mode on those mornings is supreme aggravation and frustration.  Coming up with a way to transition into a pleasant day/morning with my little one alongside me is important, but something I have yet to figure out.  #Goals, as they say….  🙂


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