This is a new habit for ME... And it's definitely no big secret as I've heard about it and been told to do it many, many times before. But hearing about and thinking about it are very different than my actually DOING it. Others have planted these seeds of change in my mind on this topic over time, so I'm hoping I might plant a seed for you so that you'll reap a harvest of peace as well. <--- When the timing is just right ;).
Ready for it?
Wash your dishes and clean your house before you go to bed.
Huge secret, right?
There might be a blatant *duh* there for you, but for me, despite it sounding good, I had excuses to not do what I knew I ought to. Here are a few subconscious objections I had to overcome to make the leap and be a nighttime chore-killer:
1. It's MORE WORK. Common sense and wiser women have told me for years that this is a thing, and that I should do it. That I wouldn't regret it, ever. But I was not keen on the idea. I mean... Nighttime is for vegging, relaxing, TV time with the hubs, completing put-off projects, or just an extra hour of sleep or two. Definitely not MORE WORK.
But my mindset was all wrong. It's not more work, it's *less* work. And it's SO MUCH EASIER work. Once the kids are in bed and I've had some TV time with the hubs, I'm free to move about unencumbered (assuming I'm not holding a sleep-fighting baby). No one screaming at me, needing my undivided attention, needing to be fed, asking how to do this multiplication problem for the 85th time in a row... QUIET. Quiet, undisturbed cleaning- which means I get done in half the time. And because it's more peaceful and twice as fast, it's definitely less work. (If you need a little help getting your day better organized or down on paper in front of your face- head on over and snag my FREE 13 page organizer and planner from the Practical Joy Resource Library!)
2. I should get up and do these things first thing in the morning. I love the Proverbs 31 wife, and I aspire that my life and character would one day resemble her as much as possible. Verse 15 says "She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants." As much as I aspire to be this woman, I'm JUST NOT. I've made plans to "get up while it is still night" 4.2 million nights in a row. IT AIN'T HAPPENING. Especially in the season where I'm routinely awoken 3-10 times a night by one of two babies.
I'm not a morning person, and that's putting it mildly. New research shows that this doesn't make me lazy- just a human with one of many sleep cycle variations created by a Perfect Designer. So, I don't HAVE to get up in the morning before the sun rises to be productive. I can simply achieve all of those same tasks before I head to bed (while it is still night, mind you), when I'm naturally more alert and productive.
3. I'm too tired. Actually, I'm not. I AM tired, and I AM sinfully lazy and self-indulgent. I'm all about some lounging around, "me" time. But I'm not TOO tired to take 30 minutes to create a sense of peace and un-rushed-ness in the mornings. Even though I homeschool, I always feel a pressing need that I (again) "should" get up early, get things going, blah blah. And whilst laying around until noon probably isn't a good idea, we do have more flexibility in our schedule.
However, that freedom gets plowed over by my anxiety over strewn toys and a messy kitchen as soon as I wake up. I can't see the people for the mess, and so my day is started on a bad tone, from the get-go. However, waking up to a clean kitchen ready for whatever cooking I need to do that day, and a clean playroom for my big baby to explore, starts us off on such a happier note.
One of my biggest "psycho-mommy buttons" is a messy kitchen and needing to make formula, almond milk, whatever first thing in the morning... And having to rush the girls to get ready and either do their chores or watch the boys so I can clean? It gets my panties all in a twist, which of course trickles downward and outward to everyone I love (causing rifts in my marriage that require restoration and creating a heavy burden of mommy guilt). This isn't about perfection, mind you, but stewardship.
I'm sure I've made many other excuses for not just pushing through and doing this little thing each night to make a huge difference in my days. But these 3 have been my major hang-ups. Since I've begun this new habit, current me has been exceptionally thankful to past me for the peace in store for future me.
Do yourself a favor, stop making excuses like I was, and just do it (if you don't already ;). You'll thank yourself.... Every single morning.