We’ve all heard the advice: If you truly want to get a handle on your day, you must wake up before your children.
I can personally vouch for the truth in this statement. I love padding down the hallway in slippered feet, brewing coffee, and organizing the day’s demands while my family still slumbers.
The problem is, with children on the scene, mornings go according to plan approximately 3% of the time – which leaves me tired, grumpy, and stumbling under the weight of unmet expectations for the remaining 97%.
So I’ve decided to stop getting up early. (At least for a season.) And here’s why:
The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short
Emphasis on “the days are long.” When a stay-at-home mom gets up three hours before her brood, she can get a heck of a lot of work done. But ultimately, let’s face it: she’s just made her day three hours longer.
I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I’ve done 6 loads of laundry, worked out, showered, mopped the floors, and organized my closet all before my children get up for the day.
What I don’t love? Pulling out ingredients to start dinner and realizing IT’S ONLY 10 AM.
We can only do so much in a day, mamas. And three hours of early morning solitude sometimes just translates to three extra hours of laundry, dishes, and other adult responsibilities.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
It sounds ridiculous, but my husband and I bond over Netflix. Since I’m an early bird and he’s a night owl, for the first six years of our marriage I would head to bed literally hours before he was ready to turn in for the night.
And then we got a Netflix subscription. And suddenly we were staying up until 11:30 to binge watch entire seasons of TV shows together.
I could no longer start my day at 5:30. But I was spending time with my husband again. We were having actual conversations, laughing until we cried, and remembering just how much we enjoy each other’s company.
We regularly set aside two evenings each week as our “Netflix Nights.” (Sometimes three. Okay, sometimes four.) And I wouldn’t trade our late nights together for all the early morning solitude in the world.
My Kids ALWAYS KNOW
It never fails.
Every time I try to get a head start on my day, my daughters’ spookily accurate MOMDAR alerts them to the fact that I am awake and *gasp* actually attempting to do something productive without them hanging off of me like spider monkeys.
It’s one thing when my kids pull me out of bed earlier than I’d like because of some ridiculous reason or another. In fact, I expect it. But when they pull me away from early morning endeavors such as Bible study or my beloved CIZE workouts (don’t judge: I love me some Sean T.), it’s far too easy for frustration and resentment to creep in. (e.g.“You are not supposed to be up for another hour. YOU ARE THE REASON I’M A SINNER WITH A MUFFIN TOP.”)
I love the order and intentionality of a well-planned day just as much as the next girl. But in this season? Rigid schedules and lofty intentions are just too fragile a foundation on which to build my goals. I’m a much happier and more peaceful mama when I learn to adapt creatively to each unique stage, rather than imposing my will on circumstances out of my control.
And besides… I know Sean T. will be there for me any hour of the day. (I love you, Sean.)
Lazy Mornings Are a Blessing
I used to feel guilty for staying in bed a little longer while my husband gets ready for work, for sometimes wearing my leggings and sleep shirt well into the noon hour. But lately? Lately I’ve come to realize the blessing of these lazy mornings.
There is such a small season in a mama’s life where sleeping in, snuggling through cartoons, and noshing on pancakes for lunch are not only acceptable – they’re actually considered perfectly normal. My girls are growing at a rate that is completely absurd, and I know my time left in this sweet season is slowly ticking away.
What do I want my children to remember about their childhood? Sure, I want them to remember a mom who was disciplined and driven, who made good choices and set an example of how to be a responsible, hardworking adult.
But I also want them to remember a mom whose personal value wasn’t determined by how many goals she accomplished in the course of a day, who wasn’t so wrapped up in achievement and productivity that she forgot how to slow down and savor the simplicity of these early, uncomplicated years.
Because as much as my life with two little ones sometimes feels like chaos – I know it will only grow crazier as the years wear on.
So in this season, I will not feel guilty for hitting snooze 37 times.
I will pad around my house in leggings and slippers and I will binge-watch Netflix with my husband and I will teach my girls to find joy in moments rather than check marks on a page.
I will not get up early.
And I won’t regret it.