Do you know what you get when you search for an image of a sunrise? Pretty much the same thing you find when you search for an image of a sunset. The end of the day is, in many ways, indistinguishable from the beginning. The temperatures are cooler, and everything is quiet. And the sun is orange and hovering on the horizon.
But in many other, crucial ways, sunset is worlds apart from sunrise. This fact, along with the knowledge that Daniel Tiger is on Netflix and recipes for sneaking veggies into meals they love, has been one of the most valuable realizations of my parenting life. Because when I understood the grace a morning’s fresh start can offer my relationship with my girls, it was heart-changing and life-changing.
I wrote about this realization last year. We were using the same behavior color chart Annalyn’s first-grade teacher used in her classroom, and for me, moving her clothespin back to green each morning reset my own attitude. But that’s not the only way you can start fresh with your girls each day.
I know how many nights I close my daughters’ bedroom doors and sigh, relieved the day is done and I don’t have to answer any more questions or fill up anymore cups or wipe any more bottoms. I’m glad the time for back talk and whining and even the alternating giggling and screeching of sisters who both love and antagonize each other is over for a few hours. More than rest, though, I need refreshment. I need a way to turn the page, literally if I have to, to start fresh when the sun comes back up.
Could a fresh start, every single morning, could breathe life back into your relationship with your girls, too? Maybe you could use a blank slate when you open your eyes, whether your alarm is a cell phone ring tone or a newborn cry or a toddlers fingers in your eyes as she asks, “You ‘wake yet, Mommy???” or a teen hollering about her sweater, the one she wanted to wear today, the one you forgot to wash.
Here are a few ways we could make sure our sunrises look different than our sunsets:
- Journal each night before bed. Whether you’re letting go of the worst parts of the day or recording the best ones, get it out on paper before you go to sleep.
- Pray each night before bed. Ask God to use the night’s sleep – however long or short it may be – to refresh not only your body but your love for your girl.
- Start each day by looking at one of your favorite photos of your daughter. One where she looks cute or innocent or happy or sweet. A friend suggested this one for me when my oldest was going through a phase full of backtalk and I was struggling to like her as much as I love her!
- Get a daily calendar or planner, so you have to physically flip over a new page each morning. (I love the (in)courage day brighteners from Dayspring, and I’ve given a Jesus Calling for Kids daily calendar to my daughter.)
- End each day by asking your kids for their high and low of the day. Then put them behind you.
- Wake up a few minutes before your girl and pray for her. (Prayers for Girls is a great resource for this one!)
I’ve read and written about dozens (hundreds?!) of parenting tips, but starting fresh each day is the one that makes the most difference in my heart for my girls and the relationship we have.
How do you start fresh each morning?