How do you feel about getting up early? Whenever I tell people about my early morning wake up time I get a wide variety of responses. "Why would you get up that early when you don't have to?!", "Don't you work at home?", "I don't do mornings.", "I get up when my kids do." and my personal favorite, "I wish I could get up early, but I just can't." Today, I am sharing how getting up early has changed my life in a huge way and why I can guarantee that an earlier wake up time could change your experience with motherhood and your work life.
*Before we get started let's make sure that one thing is perfectly understood between us. I am not a morning person and I am not a night person. I am a sleep person. My parents and husband can attest to my very real need for a solid eight hours of sleep. Everything that follows needs to be understood in this light. Okay? Okay.
- Waking up before my kids. When I am woken up unexpectedly, i.e. by the screams of a child or the poking of a little finger, my day has happened to me. I did not choose how I woke up, I was awoken and immediately sucked into my day. No preparation. No time to focus. No choice. No control. My day is now in the power of someone else and that someone else may have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. I am rarely woken up by my kids anymore (because I get up early), but those days when I do sleep in, I find that my whole day becomes lost. I am not nearly as productive, I don't have any quiet moments and I end up frustrated with every human who happens upon me. When I wake up before my kids, I wake up to a quiet, dark house and ease into my day. My coffee pot is set the night before, so I can shuffle out into my kitchen filled with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. I sit, alone, for a few minutes, sipping my coffee, reading a short devotional and taking advantage of a house at peace to pray over the day. Then I slip into my workout gear and I go for an early morning workout. I get home, shower and get dressed all before my family is awake. Let me tell you: I sleep better at night, my day is more focused and regardless of how my kids wake up, I am grounded and ready for them. They get up to a happy mom who is ready to snuggle them while they finish waking up.
- Early Saturday mornings too. I do sleep in a little bit on Saturdays, but still get up at least thirty minutes before my kids usually launch out of bed. Some of you may be ready to throw a pillow at me, but hear me out. When do you feel most rested? While you're sleeping that extra hour, or when you have an hour of quiet (that you're awake for) to just 'be'? For me, I need that peaceful awake time. Now, having these early morning hours does mean that I am in bed earlier than most. Lights out for me is typically around 10p. "That's crazy!" you say, "When do you watch TV or go party or surf the internet for hours?" Well, it's not crazy and I just don't. My kids go to bed and my hubby and I spend a little bit of time together. We both love to read so sometimes it's just sitting in bed reading next to each other and I spend enough time on social media during the day for work that I really don't need to stay up late to catch up with anybody.
- Waking up with purpose. I alluded to this under the first point, but I wanted to focus on this a little bit more. Do you constantly wish that you had more hours in your day? Is there always a shortage of time? I could write a month's worth of posts about how to manage your time, but for our purposes right now I will share this little tip: Add more hours by waking up early and manage those hours by planning for them the day before. My work out clothes are laid out in my bathroom while I am getting ready for bed so that in the wee morning hours when I hit the pavement, I don't waste valuable time searching for my shoes, ear buds or Zoe's leash. Same goes for the kid's lunches and clothes, the coffee pot, breakfast, and any packages that I need to drop off at the post office while I'm out dropping off the kiddos at school. If I have errands to run, I make a list and put it in my purse. Errands are always easier in the morning while everybody else is at work. The second my alarm goes off in the morning, I know what I need to do and I do it. This is that 'huge' habit that has changed my life and I don't use that phrase loosely.
- Sunrise I have been through some pretty dark seasons. There is something therapeutic, something that touches your soul, about seeing the sun rise. The hope and the promises that are kept each morning when those first rays creep over the horizon bring renewal and healing. If you've never seen the sun rise, I encourage you to try it tomorrow. Even if it is grey outside, get up before the sun.