For the first twelve months of Charlotte’s life, she was my alarm clock. I convinced myself that it was normal – good even – for your child to dictate your waking time! Of course, it is necessary for your child to wake you for the first few months of their life when they need feeding, but I let this continue long past that stage.
When Charlotte started sleeping better through the night, I was still letting her dictate my wake time. I was constantly hearing other people talk about how waking up before their family saved their sanity. Honestly though, I didn’t actually believe them. The way I saw it – I was staying up until midnight and getting my alone time then, why switch things around just to go to bed earlier and wake up before the sun even shines?
Well, after testing it out for myself, I actually have three answers on why. I have permanently switched up my routine and I think you should too!
1. The quality of sleep improves.
Going to bed at midnight only to be abruptly awoken by a crying baby at six or seven in the morning sucks. Sure, it’s a long period of uninterrupted sleep which is definitely nice, but having no time in the morning to just sit and breath took its toll on me.
It was not Charlotte’s morning cries that got me to reevaluate my
morning routine, but instead my realization of how much I actually
needed time to myself in the morning before hearing the cries.
I don’t know about you, but being woken up abruptly just makes me more tired for the day. Instead of waking up feeling rested and rejuvenated, I would wake up with a feeling of needing to rush. Rush to get Charlotte, rush to make and feed her breakfast, and rush to get her ready for the day.
I didn’t even feel like I could pee in the morning due to needing to hurry for my child.
How did waking up earlier help?
Once I started to wake up before Charlotte, I noticed a massive change in my quality of sleep and in my mood. I was waking up feeling relaxed and ready for the day! There was no more needing to rush to go make breakfast; instead, there was time to enjoy the warmth of my bed!
In addition, I actually started to look forward to going to sleep! Sounds crazy that a Mom to a young child would dread getting some rest, but I saw it as robbing me of my me-time. Once I moved my me-time to the morning, I began to get excited for bedtime knowing that I would get alone time once I awoke. With an excitement for sleep intact, I began to sleep better!!
Waking up was also a lot easier (after the initial adjustment period). With higher qualities of sleep under my pillow, I was waking up in higher spirits. I was waking up ready to start my day!
2. Productivity levels skyrocket.
As silly as it sounds – when I was waking up with Charlotte, I used to have a hard time brushing my hair, eating breakfast, or even peeing before Charlotte’s first nap. This wasn’t because I didn’t want to or would forget, but because Charlotte didn’t want to let Mommy do anything that would involve putting her down. Charlotte is a morning snuggler – if it were up to her, we would snuggle from the moment she wakes up (7am) until the moment she has her first nap (9am).
This made it extra difficult for me to do anything for myself without having to endure either lots of screaming from Charlotte being upset that I am not holding her or the physical pain of trying to do things while holding a 15lb baby. It became a pick your poison type of situation for a while.
I also avoided doing anything productive after Charlotte went to bed due to being so overly tired. Instead of cleaning the house or reading a book, I would scroll social media. Often, I did this until I fell asleep – phone in hand!
This got particularly worse once I returned to work. It was so hard for me to find a balance between work life, mom life, and personal life. Eventually, all aspects of my life slowly began to suffer.
Waking up earlier fixed it all.
Once I started waking up earlier, it all got easier. Having that time to focus on what I needed to do for the day made all other aspects of my life run smoother. I was able to use my solo mornings for my own to-do list and my own self-care. And the best part – it was completely at my own pace! There was no need to rush for a needy child or for bedtime.
Starting my day intentionally gave me the motivation to get stuff done.
Having the extra time in the morning combined with a higher mood made me enjoy getting things done. Housework, for example, went from a repetitive task to a relaxing activity. I now get more accomplished in my first three hours of my day than I ever did at night!
Waking up early provided me with the ability to have an unrushed morning. Being able to enjoy a peaceful, laidback morning not only had a benefit on me but also on Charlotte. She was able to get her morning snuggles without me counting down the minutes until I can pee in peace. By waking up before her to take care of myself, I was able to fully give Charlotte the attention she needed once she awoke.
3. Your time with your kids is less rushed.
I’ve touched upon this already, but it is such a huge deal that it gets it’s own number too! When you wake up to your child crying or whining or nudging you for food, you immediately go into “reactive mode”. In other words, you’re reacting to what is going on and not choosing your moves intentionally.
For most, this mode doesn’t really end until the kids are fully taken care of and you’ve downed a cup or two of coffee. It’s usually the same time you’re sitting down at work and needing to react to what to do there. Also, usually coming after you’ve raised your stress by needing to rush your family through their morning routine in order to get to where you need to be on time.
I know for me, this mode doesn’t tend to end until after Charlotte has gone down for her nap. That is the first time of the day when I can finally do something for myself.
By waking up earlier, you’re able to be proactive about your actions and prepare for the day. You can have breakfast made before anyone starts to whine for it! You can take a few extra minutes to snuggle your child instead of forcing them out of bed.
By being well-rested, you’re able to greet your kids with happiness as opposed to stress. This will benefit all members of your family! You may notice that when Mom is happy, the whole family is happier!
Not to mention, waking up earlier makes your nighttime more enjoyable.
When you’re not in a hurry to get your kids to bed to have some personal time, you’re more likely to want to read them that extra story! By achieving higher levels of sleep quality, you’re more likely to have the energy and the good mood to do more with them throughout the day!
Since waking up earlier, Charlotte has enjoyed being able to get her uninterrupted morning snuggles. She has even decided that she only needs twenty minutes as opposed to the two hours she was trying for before!!
So, what are you waiting for? Set your alarm a little earlier and wake up before your family tomorrow. Taking that time for yourself (not being awoken by cries or whines) will do wonders for your sleep quality, productivity, and family time!
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