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Waking up to the sound of my children begging me to roll out of bed and submit to their every demand was my normal. In fact, I thought that it was every moms normal.
I mean… who wants to get up before their kids roll out of bed when they roll out of bed before dawn??
Not me… I was a self professed night owl. Claiming I was my most creative and productive late at night and into the wee hours of the morning.
I would tell myself, if the kids were in bed I could accomplish a bunch. I could get some work done, wash the floors, fold the laundry… something productive.
But what really happened?
I would sit down, turn on the TV and binge watch episodes of Orange is the New Black with my husband while trying not to fall asleep by 10PM.
I was exhausted. The day was tiring, kids are tiring. And I never got on the computer to get work done, I never washed the kitchen floor, and I didn’t get that load of laundry folded. I went to bed exhausted and unproductive.
And then 630AM would roll around, my kids would be bombarding me to get up and, groggy or not, my day began.
I felt rushed. Unfulfilled and like I was in a constant battle with time trying to get things accomplished.
Then I read a quote about time.
“Everyone has the same amount of hours per day, it’s not that you don’t have enough time, it’s that you don’t have a clear focus” – Bridget English
Huh… she’s right. If everyone, productive or not, has the exact same 24 hours, then it’s not that I don’t have enough time, I just don’t know what in the heck I’m doing with it.
I was unfocused. Mainly because I was crawling out of bed at whatever time my kids decided was time to get up and beginning my day with the demands of motherhood.
So, I decided to start taking charge of my own days and waking up before my kids.
Yep. We’re talking crack-o-dawn morning time. And it completely transformed my days.
Hear me out, if you want to single-handedly change your entire life with a simple step… wake up before your kids.
Yes, I know they get up early (you can fix this a little). Yes, I know that sometimes seasons are different (nobody wants to roll out of bed after being up with a newborn all night). But, for most of us… this will change your life. And if this isn’t the season for you, that’s okay, come back to it when the baby grows a little.
I’ve never, ever, been a morning person. I don’t like to wake up before dawn. I love giving in to the beckon of my warm bed and sleeping in. And sometimes I do. But, for the most part, the days that I don’t give in and get my butt out of bed are my best, happiest, and most productive days.
Why You Need to Wake Up Before Your Kids
1. Personal quiet time is essential to focus your day.
Do you always get time to yourself in the evenings after the kids have finally gone off to bed? Maybe, maybe not. But, when you wake up before everyone else, amazing things happen. You almost always have that time all to yourself. I say almost because well, we’re moms and life happens.
When I wake up at 530 before everyone else. The house is quiet. In the summer, I can hear the rooster start crowing and the ducks start their obnoxious quacking (yes, it’s obnoxious). In the winter… it’s generally just dead quiet. And I have quiet time all to myself to relax, wake up, and enjoy.
I generally have a cup of coffee, check my to-do list for the day, journal, and just spend a few quiet moments reading or meditating. It’s not much, it only lasts 10-15 minutes, but it’s quiet time for me to wake and focus on the day ahead.
2. Your productivity will increase immensely.
Motherhood isn’t easy. Running a household, working, homeschooling, running a business whatever hats you wear are just added onto the basic duties of being a mom. Most of us have incredibly full plates (and hearts).
But, when you get up before everyone else and have that quiet time to really wake up and start focusing on your day something amazing happens… work actually gets done.
I usually start my days by throwing a load of laundry in the washer, unloading the dishwasher, and then sitting down to get some work done on my blog. I don’t have to try to squeeze it in in the middle of the afternoon after school, or late at night when the last thing I want to be doing is trying to form a complete thought.
My kids get up and know that breakfast will be served at about the same time each morning. They’re no longer yanking me out of bed and I get a ton more accomplished throughout my day because I began it productively.
3. You’ll have more quality time with your kids.
When you get up early and get your most pressing tasks out of the way before your kids are awake you have more time to spend with them.
But, not just any time. Quality time. Time where you’re not sitting there worrying about all of the things you should be doing right now because guess what? You already did them.
And while there are days where you’ll be over it and ready to put them to bed as soon as the clock strikes bed time, there will be many days where it isn’t such a rush. You already had some amazing quiet time during the morning. So you’re not in as big of a hurry to remove the mom hat to try to squeeze it in before you need to hit the hay.
I am able to spend a lot more time with my kids playing and enjoying them instead of nagging them to hush up so I can get work done. And it’s been awesome.
4. You’ll be healthier.
If you get up early, you’ll have that awesome quiet time which definitely can improve mental health. But more than that? You’ll have time to exercise.
Yes, you should definitely exercise. You’ll be amazed how it helps make motherhood easier for you. And once you exercise, that generally leads to other healthy decisions like actually sitting down to eat breakfast.
Whether you take a walk, follow some YouTube videos, or try some yoga. You should be getting some intentional movement into your day. We invested in a spin bike because I wanted some cardio (and I’m not a runner in the least) and the results have been absolutely amazing.
Not only can exercise help you weigh less, it improves your mental health, decreases stress levels and ….
5. You’ll have more energy.
Yes, getting up earlier improves your energy levels. Now, you can’t be burning the candle at both ends to have this benefit. You have to go to bed at a decent hour. But, most of us need 6-8 hours of sleep a night. That leaves you 16-18 hours in a day to tackle what needs done, enjoy yourself, and be the best version of you.
The exercise you’ll finally have time for will also significantly improve those energy levels.
Another bonus? If you routinely wake and sleep at relatively the same time each day, this will also improve your energy levels and help you avoid the afternoon slump.
I love that unless I’m under the weather, if I stick to my routine I feel so much more energized. I’m up and ready to take on anything that the day hands me.
6. You’ll be in a better mood.
Being able to get up before everyone else and start your day on your own terms helps you set the mood for how the day is going to go. You won’t feel so rushed which means you’re less likely to feel frustrated and irritated before 9AM.
When I’m in control of even just the first few minutes of my day… it goes better. I’m happier, I’m more focused, and I know what I’m going to do with that time I have (that everyone else has too).
There are days where things happen that can completely change the mood of the day, but for the most part, getting up before everyone allows me to control it, which controls how I feel and how the day runs.
How to Get Up Before Your Kids
1. Go to bed at a decent time.
No more staying up past midnight, mama. No more binge watching Goliath (have you watched that one yet??).
If you want the results, you’ve got to change your mindset and put in the work. The work here is going to bed before… let’s say, midnight.
It may take a while to adjust to actually wanting to go to bed before midnight, but you’ll get there. Most of us need 6-8 hours a night. So, find that sweet spot (mine is 6.5-7) and work backward from the time you want to get up (I get up at 5).
2. Set up a nighttime routine.
A good nighttime routine will help you want to go to bed as it begins programming your body to expect sleep soon after.
Lay out your workout clothes, have a mug of calming tea. Drink some water, read a good book. Whatever it is, do it and do it consistently.
I always like to set up the coffee maker and turn on the delay so that when the alarm goes off, the coffee is all ready and waiting for me to enjoy a cup when I roll out of bed.
3. Set an alarm and leave it somewhere other than your bed side.
But make sure it’s somewhere you can hear it. Whether it’s across the room on the dresser, on a table, in the ensuite… wherever. Do not lay it right next to your bed.
You need to force yourself to get up out of bed to turn it off. Once you’re up and moving it’s a lot easier to stay up and moving instead of hitting the snooze (or turning it off) without having to leave the comfort of your bed.
4. Get up and start moving.
Don’t torture yourself with the snooze button. It doesn’t help. Being woken every 9 minutes when your alarm returns to its incessant ringing is not getting more sleep.
Just get up, get dressed, and start your day. I usually walk out to make sure the coffee is brewing, then go throw on my clothes and sit down in the kitchen to enjoy some coffee.
I’ve found that once I’m up for a few minutes, I’m up and awake and no longer want to crawl back into bed. So, just struggle through those first few really groggy moments and you’ll be better on the other side.
7. Use black out blinds or curtains in your kids rooms.
We use black out blinds in all of our bedrooms. Like these. And I love them.
Don’t ask why, just do it. You’ll thank me when the sun is coming up at 5, they hear you, but they don’t realize the dawn is approaching so they drift back off.
8. Put the phone down.
Yep, I’m telling you yet again to put the phone down. Blue light is terrible for our eyes and messes with our circadian rhythms. I leave my phone in the kitchen at night, no where near my bed. I use an actual alarm clock for my alarm.
If you’re using your phone for your alarm, just put it across the room and don’t bring it to bed with you. It needs to be over there for when the alarm sounds anyway.
This is all up to you. Set goals and learn to become more disciplined and choose to take charge of your days. I promise you’ll appreciate the transformation on the other side… even if it is early.