The Culture of a Family {Bedtime and Mornings}

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I was strolling through a thrift store the other day (note: strolling, not purchasing because has anyone else noticed that thrift stores are EXPENSIVE these days?!  The thrill of a sweet find is lost when I could get the Joe Fresh skirt cheaper at the grocery store than at the thrift shop!  Lame.)

Okay, let me start again.

I was strolling through the thrift store the other day (fast forward rant) and I passed a book about Christmas and how its celebrated in various cultures.  It struck me as funny because as I flipped through the book I realized that the basics weren’t that different at all!

Christmas trees, carolling, candles and wreaths.  Of course, the style of ornament on the tree was different from Austria to Brazil but the bottom line is we’re still just cluttering up a tree!

It made me think about our family and the definite culture that we’ve created in our home.  I think that each home has one whether you’ve intentionally set out to form it as you wish or it has just happened by default.  It’s cool because I think the culture in the homes of our next door neighbours could possibly be as different as cultures in homes across the world.  And that makes me want to get to know my neighbours even more!

My kids often bemoan the fact that they have to go to bed so early while they’re friends seem to be up until all hours of the night.  But in our home we’ve created a culture of early bedtime.  The Mister around here sets his alarm for 3:50 each morning and that means that movies until midnight just don’t work in our home.  My phone sings me awake at 5:30 and all of the kids start being shaken awake around 6:30.  Why?  Because we do mornings slow around here.  It’s a culture we’ve created and we like it.

We all get up without a frenzy and we mosey into the shower at a snails pace.  We sit by the fire for a bit before breakfast and drink our coffee or steamed milks or hot chocolates long before food even dreams of entering our system.

Breakfasts, even midweek, are warm more often than not meaning it’s oatmeal or french toast or eggs instead of cereal and all of that just takes time.  And it’s time we’re happy to take.

It’s not something I planned in our pre-marriage counselling or stated when I first learned I was pregnant but it’s something that happened probably partly because of who we are and partly because of what we deem important.

The way I start my day is important to me.  I don’t want to be rushed or maniacally trying to make it out the door and so I rise early.  Knowing that I need time to read, time to pray, time to ingest some caffeine before hoping to lead 3 munchkins in their morning.

This has become important to our boys as well and I know it because if we do have to get somewhere in a rush?  We might as well just throw in the towel early on cause we suck at it.  Our showers are too long and breakfast conversation gets in the way of actual eating and we just can’t do it.

But that’s okay.  Because I’d rather wake my kids up with back rubs and a soft voice than screaming at them to “Go go go!”  And I’d rather spend some time with all of us sitting down at the table to chat as we start our day.  And I want to see my boys all cozied up by the fire warming their socks and hoodies before putting them on.  I want them to remember these moments and head off into their day feeling ready to go instead of feeling like they’ve been pushed out the door at break neck speed.

Our culture is busy.  Kids are being diagnosed with anxiety and stress at very young ages.  The last thing I want is our home to breed these in our kids.  To constantly be pushing them out the door.  To be rushing them at every stage of the game.

So early bedtime it is.  If we want our mornings to look like this then some sort of sacrifice has to take place.  So, whenever possible,  by 8:30 every last one of us is under the blankets.  The littles have books in their hands and most often we do too.  Sometimes there’s a recorded hockey game to flip through or emails to return but it’s quiet and we’re cozy and we can all nod off as we need to.

And we do this so that the next morning we can start all over and do it again.

I think age has so little to do with when our kids should be in bed and more to do with what you want your home to look and feel like.

How about you?  What’s the culture of your home  in the late evening/early morning?  Do your kids all have the same bedtime or does it vary as they get older?

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5 thoughts on “The Culture of a Family {Bedtime and Mornings}

  1. That sounds wonderful! I wish I was a morning person. I feel my day would begin better if I could get my feet under me before everyone else woke up. However, I am NOT a morning person. My husband is usually up between 4-5am and out the door for work by 6:30. My little girls have always been early risers, so they are usually crawling into bed with me between 5:45-6:30, so I am usually the last one to wake up. However, even though getting up “so early” is not by my choice, our mornings are usually not hectic, which is nice. My time comes in the evening. Our girls are little yet, so bedtime is early (they get up at the same time regardless of when the GO to bed, so I opt for the early bedtime), my husband falls asleep early, so then I get a couple hours for me to regroup before I head off to bed myself. I’m tried retraining myself to get up early to shift the time, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I function better at the end of the day.

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  2. But that’s what’s so cool, Lara! You get to determine the culture in YOUR home and it’s not more or less right than mine it’s just the way you do things! It’s your families culture and that’s awesome if it’s what works for you. I could never stay up late into the evening reading without nodding off in a few sentences!!

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  3. I guess I wish my husband would see it that way. He’s always giving me grief because I have a hard time getting going in the morning and enjoy staying up later, when that’s just the way I function. Would it be harder for you to maintain your current way of doing things if your spouse was at the other end of the spectrum from you?

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  4. It would definitely be harder and we’ve lived that way in the past. I’ve always been a morning person and my husband would be defined as a night owl. It was very difficult when we operated by those schedules because we felt like we were always missing each other. I was at my best early and would be grumpy when he was still sleeping. He was at his best late and so we ended up going to bed at different times. Definitely far from ideal!
    I’m thankful our schedules have forced us to be more in sync!

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