I like to say that I’m a “sleep person.” Not a morning person or a night person… just a mama who really, really loves her precious sleep.
But a few years ago I came to a crossroad and desperately needed to make a change in my life and do things differently. There was just one problem – I didn’t have any wiggle room in my daily schedule to move things around.
As moms, our lives tend to revolve around everyone else’s needs and schedules so I knew if I wanted more time, and time that I could have consistently, I was going to have to steal it from myself.
And that’s what I did.
I took baby steps and started waking up before my kids… and the results were life-changing. No seriously, waking up early changed my life.
And I won’t sugar coat it for you, it was never and is never easy. It takes tons of sacrifice every single day. Again, I really LOOOVE sleeping in.
However, I made a choice for myself that I’m so happy I did.
But before I share all the details of why I made this choice, I feel it’s necessary to cover a few points first.
The first is that learning to wake up early was a process that evolved over a couple of years. And the goal to start shouldn’t feel like a load of weight or pressure to do one more huge thing as a mom. Motherhood is hard enough and this is NOT the only way to do things.
In fact, read to the end to hear my full thoughts on this issue.
And second, motherhood is filled with so many expectations on what we should be doing and when. Only you can decide if this is the season for you to add on something new. And you’ll know inside when the time is right.
7 Life-Changing Effects of Waking Up Before Your Kids
However, waking up to the sound of children running around, whining “I’m Hungry”, and fighting over toys can be literally the worst way to start your day… ever!
Even if you decide to wake up a simple 15 minutes before your kids and steal a moment to soak up the quiet stillness of the morning, you’ll feel so much more ahead of the day instead of running behind.
This is the most obvious benefit of waking up before your kids. And it’s a BIG one!
But there are also more little-known and life-changing benefits of rising before your little ones and that’s what I’m covering in detail in this post.
1 – You Come to Know You are Loved by You
As women, we struggle with self-care and self-love. It’s not hard to see why with all the constant pouring out we do every moment of the day. We’re too often left bone-dry and feeling underappreciated.
We often fight feelings of guilt, failure, and not being a good enough mom. I believe in many ways motherhood is the great equalizer for women, who all experience these feelings in their day-to-day mom life.
With all those negative feelings stewing around our amazing qualities, our unrelenting love for our families, and all the great things we do every day can become dull and unnoticed.
Why? Because motherhood is expected and simply a part of your daily life. Moms don’t get awards for doing an amazing job… it’s expected.
But when you suddenly decide to make a sacrifice and do something for you… something unexpected happens. You start to notice that YOU matter too. That YOU are still there. And YOU are loved by you.
And when that self-love kicks in, you start thinking, doing, and acting differently. You wear better clothes, you take a shower every day or most days, and you begin thinking about those old dusty goals from your pre-kid days.
2 – You Become Stronger
If you know anything about working out you know that when you first start… your muscles are crazy weak. And after you work them they revolt and make you walk around in serious pain for a few days.
Walking around like a duck after a great leg day is the best. 😉
But after you keep showing up and working out those same muscles they hurt less, grow bigger and stronger, and help to burn all that suffocating fat that surrounds those sexy muscles.
That process of growing stronger at the gym is the same process that happens when you stick to your goal of waking up before your kids.
It gets easier and you start to experience an inner strength rising up inside that’s the best kick starter for your day.
3 – You Gain More Confidence
Confidence is something I’ve always struggled with in my life. I spent so much of my energy comparing myself to everyone around me which always left me drained in self-confidence.
That was partly because I never gave myself the space to think my own thoughts, create my own ideas, and even set my own goals.
When you never give yourself the place to stretch yourself and only rely on doing what everyone else thinks is best, your mind starts to believe you aren’t capable.
Yes, waking up roughly three hours before my kids allowed me to see that I don’t have to just take life as it comes to me, but I have the power to write my own story as I want it to be told.
Here are some amazingly helpful self-confidence tips for moms who struggle with low self-esteem!
4 – You Learn to Trust Yourself
No one likes being stood up, especially on a continual basis. In fact, if one of your friends constantly invited you to meet up for coffee and catch up but left you hanging again and again, you probably wouldn’t be friends for long.
That’s because that’s rude and disrespectful. It sends the message that you don’t matter to them. But it also brings into question their integrity. You simply can’t trust a word they say.
Now let’s talk about how many times you invited yourself for a quiet run in the morning and stayed in bed instead. Or a million other times you told yourself you’d be somewhere, doing something and decided your Netflix account was a better friend than you are.
Here’s the real danger in not keeping your word to yourself. Studies on cognitive dissonance show that when people’s actions and beliefs don’t line up, they usually change their beliefs to match their actions.
You’re actually telling yourself you don’t matter and don’t deserve the time you’ve tried to set aside for yourself. And learning to stick with your early-rise goal allows you to start trusting yourself again.
5 – You Become a Master
Malcolm Gladwell shook the productivity world when he said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a master of anything.
This can totally feel overwhelming but it’s also strangely encouraging because there’s a clear number… a clear goal to be attained.
Now, whether or not you believe this 10,000-hour rule or not (and many do not) the fact is, the longer you do anything the easier and better it gets.
And I’m not talking about trying to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer if writing isn’t your thing. We’re talking about doing something you’re already passionate about and already doing or want to do on some level.
When you set aside a consistent time to write, read/study, sow, design, build, workout or whatever it is, you will gain your own kind of mastery!
6 – Your Passion Comes Alive
When moms sacrifice their precious sleep it’s got to be for something that really matters. Something that’s deeply personal and inspiring to their soul.
And in most cases, that thing is closely connected to their passion or purpose. And when you give yourself permission to pursue your passion, over time it starts to evolve and come alive.
Things that don’t get watered and fed wither and die. When we feed our passions they get stronger and begin to thrive.
I believe we as moms all have unique God-given passions and interests outside of motherhood. These may even be closely related to being a mom but motherhood is a ministry and a season of its own.
Giving time to your gifts and giving yourself time to have quiet time with God is so important to your personal growth.
7 – You Become a Better Mom
Finally, and not at all the least, is that you actually become a better, happier mom. Didn’t see that coming, did you?
When you make time for you and just you, something powerful happens… you lose mom-resentment. You know those thoughts that creep in and tell you how you could do this or that if you didn’t have a house full of kids… or one kid.
I know, I know it doesn’t feel right when we think those thoughts or even when I just talked about them but all moms think about them from time to time.
But here’s what happens when you give consistent time for you… all you. The resentment fades, you feel more fulfilled as a person outside of being a mom, and you actually feel more tuned in to your kid’s needs.
We need to be filled up so we can be adequately poured out for our families. And that’s what happens in those quiet, early hours.
3 Easy Steps to Start Waking Up Before Your Kids
Before we dive into these super practical steps to waking up before your kids. I need to share the absolute importance of you knowing your “why” intimately.
After you start you’ll want to quit this new wake-up time many, many times down the road. And when the urge to quit jumps all over you in your comfy bed, you need to know why you want to wake up so early in the first place.
Is it to have some quiet time to connect with God and grow stronger spiritually?
Is it to have consistent uninterrupted time to write or work on your business?
Is it to work out and lose 50 lbs and stay healthy and active?
Is it to drink a cup of coffee and stare out the window in the blessed quiet for 15 minutes before your crew wakes up?
It doesn’t matter what your reason is… that belongs to you alone. And your reason doesn’t have to be super significant in the eyes of the world… only you.
Without trying to sound like a cliche hair dye commercial… you are worth it!
Just know your “why” and get started. Here are the easy 3 steps that any mom can start right now.
Step 1 – Roll Back No More Than One Hour
If you’re an overachiever like myself, you may be tempted to roll back your clock at least a couple of hours. DO NOT DO THAT… yet.
Roll back your clock by 15-30 minutes increments if you’re really not a morning person or one hour if you really feel you’re ready. But no more until you’ve been waking up at this new time for at least 3 months.
Shocking your body into a drastically early wake-up time can cause your body to revolt and we don’t need your mind and body plotting against your new goals! Slow change is lasting change.
And be sure to get to bed early enough to not lose your recommended hours of sleep!
Step 2 – Gracefully Reset Every Time You Sleep In
This process really isn’t as hard as you may think. The biggest obstacle to lasting change is failure. Failure to get out of bed!
You WILL hit snooze, cover your head with your pillow, or throw your clock across the room some mornings. Especially, if the baby was sick or your toddler starts hating their bed for the 100th time this year.
#MomLife is full of sleep stealers so when you just can’t get up, cut yourself a much-needed break. Don’t let frustration linger and reset tomorrow.
And repeat this process as long as needed.
3 – Play Hide and Seek with Your Alarm
This final step is one I actually had to add to my wake up routine when I started snoozing my phone in my sleep repeatedly. I’m so sneaky in my sleep!
I would wake up so frustrated because I felt like I had no control. Until I decided to be sneaky with myself!
I would lay my phone in different places that required me to get up and move to turn it off. It worked like a champ!
What To Do When You Can’t
You may be reading this and for some reason, you can’t wake up early or you feel like staying up late would work better for you.
Let me be super upfront here, this post isn’t to put pressure on moms who are already doing too much. Or the mom who just had a baby and now is feeling guilty that she’s too exhausted to try this new goal… yet.
Here’s one mom’s honest story of why she doesn’t wake up before her kids.
This post is for the mom who is ready and wants to stretch herself in a new way but needs a little push and a whole lot of support and inspiration.
And finally, if you are a classic night owl then honestly do what works for you. I used to stay up late when I was younger and it worked fine for me.
Productivity studies actually show that people are more productive at the times they “think” they are most productive. Mind over matter, I guess.
The whole point of this post is to help you find time for you. And anyway you get it is a win in my book!