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October 20, 2014

How Getting Up Before My Kids Has Changed Everything for Me

Since having children, there have been mornings when I have set my alarm ... gotten up early ... spent some time alone ... and those days have been some of the best I've had ... because they've given me some time to gather myself before the day begins; but this was not a consistent norm for me. In this stage of life...with two little ones...I was typically woken up very early by someone needing something. My kids are early risers, so to wake up before them means getting up at a very dark time of morning...when it should be against the law to be awake.

However, over Labor Day, while we were on vacation, David and I were sitting on the balcony of the condo building...listening to the waves...and chatting. We were having one of those conversations where I was pouring my heart out to my dearly beloved....telling him all of my deepest struggles as a wife and mom...expressing my frustration with the fact that I can't do it all. Insert that ugly know the one...and you've got the scene just about right. The poor man is looking at me like I can't believe I married this girl. She's crazy. 

Not really...He's actually a really good listener and an amazing support....absolutely my best friend in life...but I have no doubt that he questions my sanity at times.

While chatting, I made the mistake of bringing up those mornings when I've gotten up early...before the roosters (We don't have roosters, but you get my drift, right?)...and he had the audacity to suggest that I start doing it everyday! WHAT?! You have got to be kidding me...I can not possibly do such a thing. There's no way. I'm not a morning person. I can not imagine how much extra coffee I would need to pull that off everyday. On and on and on. Panic. Total panic.

But for some reason, I agreed to give it a try...I committed to it, because I felt somewhat desperate and any solution was worth a try. I want to be the very best I can be for my family. I want to make sure that I am settled and ready to face them each day...with my whole self.

Now, almost two months later, can I tell you that getting up early has absolutely changed everything for me? Let me tell you how...

Getting Up Before My Kids

I wake up with my alarm and immediately head to the coffee pot~ I get to drink my coffee hot and eat a little breakfast alone - My breakfast is almost always peanut butter and banana on toast. I am totally predictable and completely boring.

If I am feeling extra eager, I get dressed before I have my coffee, but sometimes that waits until after I've woken up a little bit. Either way, I have started to try to get dressed...even if it's a day I know we aren't planning to go anywhere special.

It's about this time when hubby heads downstairs to make his coffee and gather his things for work. My man works long hours. Our kiddos do not see him in the morning and dinner runs a little late around here most nights. So seeing him in the morning like this has been great! We get to chat a little bit and I get a hug and a kiss goodbye. It has made me feel like I see him a little bit more during the week and I love it. Now if I'm PMSing, he stays away....he quietly slips out the door for work while I sit in a dark corner and drink my coffee is silence. He is a wise, wise man.

After he heads out the door, I get going. I might throw a load of laundry in the washer...wipe down a bathroom...gather homeschool supplies for the a little blog work...answer texts/ get the idea. If I am able to accomplish just one of these kinds of things before my kiddos wake up, it helps me feel a little more organized....a little more settled...a little more prepared for the day.

Because of my personality being the way that it is (loving organization, feeling most at peace when there is a little structure/routine, etc.), the result is that I am more patient...I am not as quick to get frustrated and angry with my children...I respond to them in a more loving way...To me, these things are completely worth setting an alarm for a ridiculous hour.

If you are the mommy of a newborn baby, don't you dare try to do something like this (unless you are wonder woman). Sleep whenever you possibly can. Let that laundry go. Allow someone else to cook for you. Leave your e-mails unanswered. Love on that baby. Get some rest. I have been there, and sleep has been the only thing that made a difference for me.

Also, I understand that this may not be for everyone. It has worked for this stage of life...and I realize that it may not work for you or your family. I also realize that we may someday enter a new season when my needs as a mom might change, but I think the important thing to remember is that I must take care of myself in a sense before I am ready to respond to everyone else's needs.

Sometimes my kids wake up extra early, but I have tried to remind myself that even if I hadn't set my alarm to get up, they would've been up then anyway. They have their own schedule, and it most definitely requires a little flexibility on our part.

One more thing, I know it would sound great if I told you that I wake up early and spend time in Bible study/prayer; but I have to be honest and tell you that - while I do pray throughout my morning - I have better focus, etc. when I do my Bible studies later in the day...sometimes my favorite time is in the evening...after my kiddos go to bed. Once again, do what works for you!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like reading Real Life Looks Like This:

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