Thursday 27 November 2014

Early bird

Are you an early bird or a night owl? It seems you have to be one or the other and for me, I'm at my most productive in the morning and not much good for anything in the evening.

Don't get me wrong, I can come over all Garfield-like on a Monday morning, clinging onto my duvet for dear life, trying to gain just a few more moments of shut-eye before the working day begins, but I know that once I am out of bed, it doesn't take me long to get going and I know that if I start as I mean to go on, my day should go well.

Should. Since Ethan came onto the scene, I've tried to be on time and keep my life to a rough schedule as I like having a plan and I like it when things go to plan. But I've learnt that as a mum, and a working mum at that, that children don't particularly like plans or sticking to them, so a bit of flexibility is needed.

And I'm coming to terms with that. It's taken some time, but I know that it's ok if Ethan decides to schedule his nappy change just as I'm flying out the door, laptop bag in one hand, nursery bag in the other. And it's ok if he doesn't want to play ball and eat his breakfast - it's not the end of the world if we're just a little bit late going out for the day...

It's amazing how quickly you adapt to early starts once you have a baby. In fact, I was only talking about this the other day to a colleague, it's amazing how you go through those early months dealing with sleep deprivation and then when your little one does start to sleep through the night, how quickly you adapt. Early mornings don't feel quite so early for me any more and the majority of the time, Ethan is completely out for the count still when I get up so I can get a few things done and get myself ready before having to wake him from his slumber.

Free Office Finder, a free search facility to find office space in London or the UK, is running an #EarlyBirdChallenge and I thought it would be a fun idea to think about how getting an early start can make a real difference to my day, compared to those days when I seem to be in a rush and running late for everything, in a Sliding Doors kind of way...

Scenario 1: early bird catches the worm

6am. Alarm goes off. Hubs hits the snooze button but I leap out of bed, ready to face the day. Well ok, not quite 'leap', but I manage to get up without too much moaning and groaning.

I quietly go downstairs, passing Sherlock the cat on the stairs, give her and Arty their breakfast and pop the kettle on. It's a Starbucks Toffee Nut day I think. I pour my coffee and take a cup of tea up for hubs, who's still sleeping, fighting that snooze button.

I wash, put on my make up, taking my time, whilst watching Good Morning Britain on my iPad and mentally planning the day ahead. Must remember to confirm my doctors appointment. Oh, and I have those couple of bills to pay. And at lunch, I must pop out and pick up a few bits. Ok, check, check, check.

I get dressed, managing to pick something to wear that's a) clean and b) doesn't need ironing. I finish my coffee, and make another to take in my thermos to enjoy later at my desk, whilst putting together a lunchbox to take with me to work. I've got some porridge to make for breakfast, a pasta salad for lunch and a few snacks so I should be covered.

I check my blog to make sure my latest post has gone live, skim through my emails, Facebook and Twitter. I pack everything up, grab a coat then a scarf and pair of gloves as it looks chilly outside. I've the foresight to take a bottle of warm water to the car to defrost my car windscreen with. I put all my things into the car, then head back inside the house.

It's time to wake up the little monkey. I go in, open his curtains, pick out his clothes and gradually encourage Ethan to wake up. He obliges, eventually. He lets me dress him and get him ready and after checking his nursery bag, we're ready to leave the house. On time, if a little early in fact.

It takes me just a couple of minutes to drive from our house to the nursery, as the traffic is clear - it's just a tad too early for the school run to have started. I drop Ethan off and he happily goes off to have breakfast with his play mates.

I jump back in the car and head for the city. Traffic is still quite light so I manage to get to my office before 8.30am, thanks to a few lights in my favour on the way. I have time to run through my to do list, working out what needs to be done and checking my latest emails. As I sip the coffee I brought from home, I decide to tackle my 'big task' for the day first, get it out the way.

And I feel good.

Scenario 2: running late

6am. Alarm goes off. Hubs hits the snooze button once, twice, three times, upon my sleepy request. Just a few more minutes. And a few more. Don't need to wash my hair, dry shampoo will do the trick. Don't need to make my lunch, I'll just go out on my lunchbreak for something. Just. Want. To. Stay. In. Bed. A. Bit. Longer.

6.45am. Really got to get up now. I open the bedroom door, trip over our two hungry cats and plead with the dog not to go downstairs before I've been to the bathroom. I feed our animals, spilling Watson's water and almost cutting my thumb on his can of food in my rush.

Hubs and I battle for the bathroom sink as we both try to brush our teeth at the same time. I quickly slap on some slap before flinging open my wardrobe and trying desperately to find that shirt I haven't seen in ages but for some reason really have to wear today. It's like the only thing I have that will go with these trousers and these are the only trousers that are a) clean and b) don't need ironing.

I half write a text message reply and forget to finish it before flinging my phone in my bag. I run upstairs and go into Ethan's room - 'wakey, wakey!'. Nothing. Come on Ethan, Mummy's running late!

He doesn't want to wake up, doesn't want me to undress him, doesn't want me to dress him, doesn't want his teeth cleaned. I have no patience and he's not willing to make this easy. Sigh.

Finally, he's ready, so I run downstairs, only to remember I've forgotten his nursery bag. Back upstairs I go.

I fly out the front door, shouting 'bye' over my shoulder to hubs. Damn! The car's frozen up and the de-icer ran out two days ago. Grr!

After chipping away at the ice on my windows for 10 minutes, fingers frozen as I left my gloves inside the house, I jump in the barely warm car. Ethan's still half asleep and grumpy looking.

I sit at the end of our road for AGES waiting for a gap in the traffic. I get to the nursery late, Ethan's not in the mood and gets upset when I try to hurriedly hand him over.

I get back in the car and head for the city. Traffic is terrible. Everyone seems to be in the same boat as me, running late and impatient for the lights to change. I arrive at my office, late and irritable. I have no time to look at my list of things to do before going into my first meeting, feeling flustered and slightly out of control. Guess I'll skip breakfast. Unless I grab a stale biscuit that someone brought in as a treat a couple of days ago...

God, I feel shattered already.

In a perfect world, we'd always be an early bird wouldn't we? It just helps to make everything we do go our way somehow. So, do you think you could take the Free Office Finder #EarlyBirdChallenge?

What difference could it make to your day?

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