My mother likes to tell people that she kept me up until midnight each night when I was a baby–because I would sleep until noon the next day. It gave her the opportunity to get lots of housework done, without me hanging onto her ankles.
Fast forward 33 years, and I’ve always struggled with going to bed at a decent hour and getting up early.
When I have absolutely had do to it for a job, etc., I’ve done it, but it’s never been something I’ve enjoyed.
But as the mom of three little ones six and under, work-at-home business owner and homemaker, I’ve come to struggle with just not having enough time in the day to do everything.
(Don’t we all?)
I’ve especially seen a lack of time for self-care–in particular exercise and quiet reading of God’s Word.
For a long time now, I’ve wanted to try getting up early. I had read so many posts by bloggers–like Crystal at Money Saving Mom and Kat of Inspired to Action–who just raved about the benefits of rising early, long before your children wake.
Can I just be really, really, painfully honest here?
For the past, oh, six years now…I’ve woken up to my children.
I’m not kidding. And my health, my productivity and, sometimes, my sanity have suffered.
The crazy cycle always starts with me staying up super late to work on something, and then I’ll be too tired to even attempt getting up early in the morning.
So I’ll wake up when the girls jump into my bed. Around a year ago, after the baby turned 1, my oldest began getting her out of her crib for me. She brings her to me each morning to nurse, so I haven’t even had to get out of my bed to tend to them.
Now, I will say that we’ve had some lovely memories of mommy-daughter cuddle time each morning–and I hope to still do that on Saturday mornings.
But I finally realized if I were ever going to get some control over my life and schedule, I needed to start waking up earlier than my girls.
For the past three weeks, I’ve been getting up around 5:30 a.m. most week days.
After the first week or so, I told my husband: “I feel like I’ve just added two extra hours to my day!”
“You have!” he responded. “You literally have!”
Here are 5 things that have helped me to get up early, resulting in me adding two extra hours to my day:
1. Going to bed earlier.
You might say: “Well, aren’t you trading those nighttime hours for the morning hours?”
Yes and no. I am going to bed a bit earlier, but what I am doing with my morning time is giving me the best results. I literally have more energy and am more productive overall.
So even though I am not staying up as late, I feel like I’m actually accomplishing much more than when I succumbed to my natural night owl tendencies.
I will say that I still think I need to go to bed even earlier than I am right now. I was staying up well past midnight–and probably going to bed closer to 1 a.m. most nights. Now, I catch myself yawning between 10 and 10:30 p.m., and I try to be in the bed no later than 11 p.m., which puts me asleep between 11:30 p.m. and midnight.
I know this may still sound late for some, but it is most definitely progress for me.
2. Setting an alarm clock.
Like I said before, my children have been my alarm clock for six years. No, I’m not lying. (And it’s a humbling confession to make!)
Baby Girl #1 was only a few days old when my husband and I realized she was our new alarm clock.
And seeing that I had three babies within four years and have been nursing babies for six years (and going) now, I never bothered to use another alarm.
Coupled with the fact that I was already sleep deprived from going to bed late, I was bound to sleep in until my kids woke up without the use of an alarm!
My excuse? I didn’t have an alarm clock, and I didn’t want to buy one. I didn’t want to use my cell phone’s alarm because I didn’t want to sleep with it by my head.
I did start out by using my cell phone, but I quickly transitioned to just using my new Lady Comp Fertility Monitor (which I am currently reviewing!) as my alarm.
3. Having a reason for getting up early.
Really, if you are a mom, I think getting up early just for some peace and quiet is reason enough! But it has helped me immensely to name a reason for rising early.
For me, getting up early means I have time to exercise, read my Bible and gather my thoughts before my girls wake up.
4. Establishing a morning routine.
It has really helped me to develop a routine for each morning, so I can maximize those extra two hours (which seem to go much-too-quickly, if I am honest!).
Right now, my morning routine consists of:
- My fertility monitor alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m. I immediately take my temperature via the monitor.
- Lay there for a few more minutes before hopping out of bed.
- Brush my teeth, wash my face and pull my hair into a ponytail.
- Put on my socks and shoes. (Another humbling confession: I’m sleeping in my workout clothes, so I wake up dressed.)
- Grab my water and a banana or 1/2 apple with almond butter.
- Put on my fit splint (since I’m still healing a diastasis).
- Leave the house for my exercise class.
- Listen to worship music (usually via KLOVE) in the car, on the way to class.
- Exercise for 45 minutes.
- Sit in the parking lot or my driveway and read my Bible and pray.
- Sometimes I will also run by the grocery store or fill my car up with gas after I leave my class.
- Come home, shower and start fixing breakfast. By this time, my girls are waking up.
Now, it is likely this routine will change when school starts.
My oldest will be starting kindergarten at a university model school (which is like part-time homeschooling), and I’m super spoiled in the summer to have my husband–who is a teacher–at home. When he goes back to work, I will most likely have to get up at 5:00 or 5:15 a.m. if I want to continue exercising in the morning. I’m not sure if that will happen, but I hope it does!
5. Being determined.
Seriously, this is the number 1 reason I’ve been able to stick to getting up so early the past three weeks.
I guess I am stubborn, but when I first told my husband my plan to do this, he laughed and said I would never be able to get up that early. I think he might have just said that because he knew that was exactly what I needed to hear to become all-the-more determined to make it happen!
A Note to Young Mamas
If your child is less than two years old, or if you are still night nursing, I do not recommend trying to get up so early in the morning. My youngest will turn 2 in August, and I am just now at the place where I feel this sort of schedule is feasible. Give yourself grace!
A Note on Keeping Your Kids in Bed
After writing the original post, I had several people ask me about how to keep their kids in their own rooms/beds if they happen to wake up while you are still having your morning time. When our girls were toddlers, we used this color changing alarm clock. It teaches children to not leave their beds or rooms until the clock changes a certain color. Hope that helps!
Do you get up early in the morning? Have you found it can add hours to your day?
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Crystal has been an early riser since age 11, and she is an expert on maximizing morning time before her three children wake up.
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