How often are you woken by the sounds of your kids waking up? Or better yet the sound of a whining kid staring you in the face. My favorite is when my 5-year-old comes into my room and opens my blinds allowing the insanely bright sunlight to flood into my room…all before 7 am.
I remember a time when sleeping into 9…no 10 was my life. As a mom, I am lucky if I can sleep in until 7!
I needed a morning routine
Before starting a morning routine (which I was skeptical about) I would be woken by two mini versions of my husband and me who for whatever reason seem to think I am the only adult in the home who can take care of them. They’d either climb in bed demanding they lay their head on my pillow or more commonly found laying on top of me completely. Meanwhile, my husband sleeps peacefully.
If I am lucky, they will both go back to sleep and I will try to awkwardly sleep sandwiched between both kids. On those not so lucky days, which is most of them, I am quickly brought back to reality by the sound of a tiny voice saying the words “I am so hungry mommy”. I slowly come to terms with the fact that I will not get another minute of sleep. “I am hungry mommy” is repeated as I slowly bring consciousness to my body and in a cloudy haze make my way to the bathroom – followed by the pitter patter of tiny feet.
As I emerge from the bathroom to find my husband still sound asleep, unaware of any activity in the room I silently curse him as I head downstairs grumpy, frustrated and oh so wishing it were just a little bit quieter.
Does this sound like you? Do you feel you’ve set yourself up for success this way?
A business coach of mine told me in the early stages of us working together that I needed a morning routine and I thought she was crazy. She was not married and had no kids, she had no idea what my life was like. But I humored her and said I would try it for a week. I set my alarm for 6 am, about 30 minutes before my kids will wake, and followed her tips for a morning routine.
After a couple of days, my husband told me I was visibly in much better spirits. He couldn’t understand how waking up would make me feel better. But it did. And when mama’s happy the tone in the house follows suit.
And that is when I became a believer in early mornings.
When I wake up before my kids, that is my time. No one else is awake – my dogs even look at me like I am crazy – and I get that time all to myself to do whatever I want to set my day up for success.
I start with a few minutes of meditation, straight out of bed I sit right on the floor or bed and meditate. Then I throw on my clothes and head out to our garage gym. I am big into fitness and my current routine takes me about 45 mins. If my kids haven’t woken yet, I will take a few moments to read my Bible.
And by the time that is done I am ready to interact with the world. I am not a morning person and need this me time to wake up.
Sets The Mood
Now that I have had time to actually wake up on my own terms and not by two kids jumping on me, I find I am in a much better mood. And when I am in a good mood, most everyone else is also.
When I am able to knock out some morning routine activities earlier, I am allowing myself extra time to complete other tasks that need to be taken care of. So once the kids are off to daycare/school I am able to take another hour to knock those tasks out. I am much more productive in the morning than during late night hours.
Less Rushed = Less Stressed
I am totally that mom who is running around the house like a chicken with its head cut off trying to wrangle kids and all their belongings so we can leave the house on time. How stressful is that right? I hate that feeling and used to think this was just mom life. But I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be. I am more relaxed in the morning because I have set the stage the night before. By the morning we are all just falling into a well-rehearsed routine.
Ways to prepare for early mornings
You might be thinking this sounds all well and good, I really love my sleep and my kids make a great alarm clock. How on earth will I get myself out of bed that early in the morning? Here are a few tips I use.
Go To Bed!
Sounds simple right? I am a night owl. I mean last night I went to bed at 12:30 am because I was wrapped up in a really good book.
But you have to force yourself to get to bed at a decent hour and allow yourself time to get adequate sleep.
For iPhone users, there is a feature within the alarm clock called “Bedtime”. You set the time you want to wake up and the number of hours you want to sleep and the app will alert you when it is 15 minutes prior to your bedtime. I love this feature! And use it often. When my phone says time to go to bed, I shut everything down. Head upstairs and get ready for bed. Sometimes I get a little distracted with a good book. But nine times out of ten I am off to bed on time.
And I have found that most mornings my body wakes up naturally just before my alarm and I feel great because I have gotten good sleep.
Use An Alarm Clock
Going back to the last tip, I use the bedtime feature on my alarm clock. If you do not have that feature, use an alarm clock anyway. For far too many years, my kids were my alarm clock. Take control of your sleep. Don’t allow yourself to be grumpily woken by the kids.
Don’t Hit Snooze
The snooze button is a blessing and a curse. I use to factor in the snooze into my wake up routine. But once I hit snooze, I continue to snooze until I turn the alarm off and don’t wake up on time at all. As soon as your alarm goes off get up and out of the bed. Put the alarm on the other side of the room if that helps you get up.
Prepare Everything The Night Before
If you read my post on activities I do every Sunday for a productive week you know I like to plan things out ahead of time. So the night before I prepare lunch, snacks, backpacks, and clothes for everyone in the house. This way I have a few extra minutes in the morning to work on my morning routine. And I don’t spend that time running around looking for this or that.
So start today! Try it for a week and see how it changes your life. Create a morning routine that works for you and your needs and get after it. I would love to hear your thoughts on waking up earlier and how it helps you in the comments!