I'm sure it could all be achieved if I didn't spend 4-5.30am breastfeeding Violet who intermittently bellows MORE EAT! should I attempt to disengage her. She's a wakeful little thing in the early hours, so without me in bed, there would be no V in bed.
Then at about 5.30am Cherry comes and gets into bed with us all. Once in a blue moon she will fall asleep next to me, usually if Violet is already asleep and I can turn over and cuddle Cherry. But most of the time she wriggles about for a bit, whispers a few things then looms over Violet giggling, Violet's eyes ping open, and that's that.
We're morning people, people.
With two girls up and about from 5.30-6am Noel and I have plenty of time in the mornings before he leaves for work and I can usually fit in a workout and morning pages. I find these two the most important of the long list.
Meditation will have to wait, I can become an accomplished yogi another time, and I manage smoothies about four times a week.
Morning pages are the most powerful of all the morning tools in my humble opinion. I came across the concept reading The Artist's Way. The idea is simple. First thing in the morning, you sit down and you write three pages of longhand.
And then you go about your day.
You can write, literally, anything. Even if all you can think is 'I can't think of anything to write. What should I be writing? Am I doing this right?' You just write that, and keep writing. Even if you have three pages in which you have simply repeated 'I can't think of anything to write,' then you have done it 'right'.
Only you're highly unlikely to have three pages of 'I can't think of anything to write' as it turns out once you disengage your sceptical brain and simply spill the contents of your head onto a page, you have plenty to say for yourself.
All those worries, niggles, thoughts, arbitrary things that pop into your head. Down they go, onto the page.
It's really freeing to just sit and write in this way. I'm a writer by profession and that means initially I had to work hard not to over-write, just to convey thought from brain to page.
I find all sorts of things become clear through the morning pages. On a very practical level they are great for problem-solving. It's basically impossible to continue to complain about the same thing over and over again without identifying some form of solution, or at least acceptance. I also find them very powerful creatively. All kinds of ideas and plans come through the pen onto the page.
Taking the time to write three pages feels like something I can do to help take care of myself. I have been thinking more and more about the concept of self-care recently, as in what does self-care look like on a practical level? Unloading my mind in the morning definitely falls into the category of a very practical way looking after myself.
Children can sense when you aren't present and they don't like it - well, mine don't. The demands of being a mother have stretched into the very roots of me. Thoughts cluster up and become crowded, knocking against each other like one of those awful corporate toys to be found on the desk of a high-flying business executive.
Spilling it all out on to a page, however jumbled the end result, creates space for my children. I feel safe, knowing that I haven't lost anything if I let go, that whatever it is that seemed so important is written down, waiting for my attention another time.
Funny, I've been a writer my whole life but am only just starting to discover the true power of the written word.