“Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.” Chief Hopper, ‘Stranger Things’

Every morning I have a daycare child arrive right before 5:30am (don’t worry, he goes back to sleep right away). I know, this is waaaaaay early for childcare, not to mention I am not a morning person. But while waiting for my own kids to get up and around, and/or for more daycare kids to arrive, being up this early affords me a small amount of some much-needed alone time to sit at my kitchen table (alone) with my coffee (alone!). It wasn’t until well into adulthood that I realized what an introvert is…and that I definitely am one. I best described it to my kids like this….

You know your phone has a battery. I have what I refer to as my “social battery.” When you use your phone, you wear down your battery. When I interact with people, I wear down my social battery. In order to charge your phone battery, you plug it in and allow the battery to replenish. Instead of plugging me into an outlet, the way I charge my social battery is nice, big chunks of alone time. With your phone, if you take it off the charger before it reaches 100%, your battery wears down faster because you’re already starting with your charge much lower. If my social battery is already running low, and I don’t get my alone time in, my social battery also wears down more quickly. And lastly, if you try to use your phone while it’s charging, it takes longer to charge. If I am constantly interrupted when I am trying to disconnect, I too take much, MUCH longer to charge.

So, in running a daycare I have zero alone time for 12 hours a day, and during those 12 hours it goes far beyond basic human interaction. I’m caring for tiny humans who are totally dependent on me and require literal hands-on care and interaction in order the ensure proper care and development, every second of every day. It’s intense most days, even for non-introverts. Then, after daycare closes, my own kids finally get their mom back, only by this point mom’s social battery is on the last 1%. That last percent where I’m running on fumes but somehow it lasts longer than the previous 99%, the quality of performance during that last 1% is pretty lousy, though. Stretching every last bit of energy to scrap together dinner, listen to everyone’s demands, break up fights, who needs money for what, who needs a ride where for some activity I forgot about, clean up from the 12 hours of daycare plus the mess the other five people (well, plus myself) in my house have left from the day(s) before, running errands for all items that unexpectedly ran out before the weekend (usually milk and toilet paper). I try as hard as I can to make it stretch, but I start snapping at people for things that normally would be nothing to get upset over. My youngest usually takes the brunt of this because she’s one of those kids that always takes it too far, refuses to stop, and insists on getting in the last word…and also, negative attention is better than no attention, right? 😞

My diet and excise have suffered immensely lately because of this lack of alone time. I still haven’t figured out a schedule yet that actually works to squeeze in regular, consistent work outs — and every time I think I’ve got it figured out, everyone seems to find a way to make sure it doesn’t happen. I’ve tried to be bitchy-mom who demands to be selfish and get in my me-time to exercise no matter what. I laugh at bitchy-mom for even thinking this could possibly work, because it never does. The more sternly I demand something be done, the more everyone else sees to it that it canNOT be done, it’s almost like they think it’s funny to blatantly disregard everything I ask them to do.

Ever since I returned from that nice, relaxing, Belizean vacation, I feel like I’ve been barreling along at 100mph, only without the energy to do so. I have had very few chances to recharge my battery, yet I continue to drain it more and more every day. All that relaxation was negated within a week when I went straight back to the daily routine. I know the number one complaint people have when it comes to exercise is that they don’t have time. Well, what about me? I do everything I can to try and make time, but there simply are not enough hours in the day for me to do all I need to do. The cleaning/sanitizing is never done, the floors are never done, the dishes are ever done, the laundry is never done, the rooms are always a disaster (no, not just “messy”, I mean destroyed), the errands are never complete, grocery lists and menus are always veering off course.

Occasionally, I’ll hit a streak where I’ll have to time to get in several workouts in a week, and it feels great. My mood is instantly fantastic, not only because I exercised but because I also got that crucial alone time that I need to survive. But just as quick as those rare weeks come along, the ones that follow are wrought with unforeseen challenges and time constraints. Sure, I could I’d always just get that workout in after everyone goes to sleep and daily chores are sort-of, half-assed done around 10:30pm, but when I have to wake up at 4:45am every week day I simply cannot do that. If I exercised that late, chugged some water, took a shower so I don’t ruin my clean bedsheets, and finally relaxed enough to fall asleep, I would not be getting to bed until at least 12:30am (more likely closer to 1:00am because I’d find 20 more things I forgot to do or pick up in the short walk from my basement to my bedroom). I would get a whopping 3-4 hours of sleep before that alarm would go off and I’d have start all over again.

Starting over again each morning with a battery that’s already drained is the worst feeling. I’m already in a bad mood when I wake up, I’m so tired I’m relying on coffee again every day just to function at a basic zombie level, and I have to pretend like I’m not. This is when I realize I’m STILL stuck in this same cycle — I have no energy because I’m fat and out of shape — but I need energy to workout and stay organized on this diet because I don’t want to be fat and out of shape anymore.

One thing I have not been strict with lately is taking all my PURE supplements . These increase my energy and mood significantly, but I ran out of several items, and timing for any additional orders (between my regular auto ship dates) did not work out with this month’s budget — but more are on the way very soon!

Another thing is that school will start August 15. I will be loosing 2 daycare kids but gaining 2 daycare babies. To other people, this may seem like an enormous increase in my workload, but for me it’s not. I freakin’ love babies, babies are where I do my best work in my daycare setting, and they do not stress me out at all. I know, I’m strange this way! Combine this change up in daycare with the fact that my own 4 kids will be back in school all day, stress will a little more manageable.

I have also been having a lot of doubts about my plan to switch my daycare to a preschool in a year’s time. Sure, the pay increase would be huge, but I will have 3X the number kids and families in and out of my home every day — that’s a lot of people, and a ton of traffic outside my house circling my cul-de-sac. The noise level will be even louder. The damage to my house will most likely increase. I will probably have even more cleaning to do after everyone leaves. Uuuggghh, guys, I just don’t even know what to do anymore!!! I would absolutely love to only accept infants, the maximum I’d be allowed is 3, so financially this doesn’t work for us, I need to be bringing in way more money than that.

Well, let me end this exhausting blog on a positive note — while getting in a Saturday morning walk while everyone else slept in Saturday morning, I SAW THE FIRST SUNFLOWER OF THIS SUMMER IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD!!! No one can be stressed looking at a sunflower. 🌻

(Excuse the construction zone around the sunflower.)

I need to choose a song to bring all this mess together…I going to choose Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” You can feel the unease and sadness throughout the entire piece, with moments where you can feel the sun just about to burst through some happier chords, only to fade back into cloudiness. Ending on a hopeful, peaceful major chord, yet still feeling somewhat uncertain in how you got there, not quite ready to trust that hope and peace yet…

~~ Amie


One thought on ““Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.” Chief Hopper, ‘Stranger Things’

  1. clint says:

    Love the battery analogy for explaning introversion. As an introvert with a toddler and a full time job, I know exactly what you mean about feeling stuck at 1%.


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