Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A single mommy tip

This is a little gem I learned from my own single mother, all in the name of getting just a little more sleep in the mornings. As soon as your child is old enough to entertain him/herself without direct supervision for a little while in the mornings, make it easy for them to make their own breakfast.

I know. It's not exactly mind blowing. But I'm pretty sure little tricks like these are the only things keeping me from a shaved head Britney style breakdown.

Since preschool, my son has had his own shelf in a lower kitchen cabinet that holds his plates, bowls, cups, and utensils (all plastic and unbreakable in the early days). Select snacks are also kept in the cupboard: usually just cereal, but sometimes crackers and fig newtons and other healthy treats. Before he developed self-restraint, I kept only a single serving of each treat in small containers in his cupboard. Eventually, I could just throw entire boxes in there. My kid is a big cereal eater, so when he was younger I also kept some milk in a water bottle (easier for little hands to grip while pouring) on a low shelf in the fridge.

As a working single mom (or, I would assume, a parent of any circumstances), every extra second of sleep helps, right? With this set up, I used to get anywhere from 20 minutes to an extra hour of sleep. I always woke up when I heard his little footsteps heading to the kitchen, and would listen for any "uh oh"s in case I needed to clean any spills. But then I could doze blissfully while he ate his breakfast and (on the glorious days) returned to his bedroom to play quietly by himself for a while.

He thought it was the coolest thing in the world because it made him a big boy, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world because sleep is awwwwwwesome. Total win-win.

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