Mountain Mama: The quest for the 10-minute morning ritual

Every so often there’s a perk to my job. No, it’s not the free press pass to a sold out event, nor is it the self-indulgent thrill of seeing my name in print. It’s that once in a while I get to interview someone who clicks with me and suddenly the interview isn’t an interview, but a conversation.

That’s what happened last week when I interviewed Catherine Roscoe Barr for her upcoming Women Of Whistler (WOW) presentation on Wednesday (Feb. 15). What struck me wasn’t that I left the conversation wanting to be Catherine’s biggest fan and stalk her on social media in a vain attempt to pretend we are friends (albeit true); it was that somehow the 52-minute interview became an indirect therapy session for me and I hung up the phone thinking back on my life journey and the career choices I’d made. Yeah, it was that profound.

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Catherine (already on a first name basis, check) is a wellness coach. And if you’re like me and you roll your eyes at wellness because people have been throwing around that word like an eight-pound wall ball at CrossFit, let me tell you: Catherine is the real thing.

So what’s involved with wellness? Getting sleep. Before you fall on the ground laughing (because what mama gets any amount of decent sleep?) — bear with me. Sleep is most important because without it we’re tired, cranky, less able to focus and just all around less nice. I don’t think there’s any mama who can argue with that, especially when your kid is pouring Smarties in the toilet or writing on the wall or, like mine, chasing the dogs around with the colander she’s just pulled out of the dirty dishwasher.

Let’s face it; I’m not getting a decent night’s sleep any time soon, especially since I co-sleep with my toddler. So I can scratch that off the list. Does that mean my life is unbalanced? Unwell?

Probably. But in my therapy slash interview, I realized I can start finding the wellness.

Catherine has a two-hour morning ritual. Two hours. In that time she doesn’t answer her phone or emails or engage with any other electronic device, but instead journals, sets out goals for the day, exercises, cooks an epically healthy breakfast and eats with her husband. Yes, she eats with him. And they talk. To each other. Every day.

When she said this, a part of me cried inside. Two hours in the morning? I can’t remember the last time I had two hours to luxuriate into my day. I don’t imagine any of us mamas do. My mornings start at 6 a.m. on a good day, 5:15 a.m. on a bad day, and take off from there.

The second my daughter is up I’m on like a stage performer, and I don’t get intermission until she naps.

But Catherine’s all about the small steps. If you can’t find two hours, start with ten minutes, she says.

So here’s this week’s challenge: find ten minutes for a morning ritual. Make it about you and what you need in order to lean into your day and not drag your feet into it with tears in your eyes and a slump in your shoulder.

I don’t know where I’m going to carve out the ten minutes, so I’m going to start with two. While my daughter sits on the toilet I’m going to take one hundred and twenty seconds and not check work emails, or throw in a load of laundry, or try to sneak in as many bites of chocolate croissant before she catches me. Instead, I’m going to journal, set some daily goals and do one full pull-up. Sure, my journal might be the length of a Chinese fortune and my goal might be scrawled on the bathroom mirror (keep calm and don’t let the grammar errors in the coffee shop menu get to you) but hey, I’ll be taking those one-hundred-and-twenty seconds and making them all about me.

And I think that is the essence of wellness.

I’ll tackle the sleep thing next decade.

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