Like I said, I've read a lot of women talk about why getting up before your children is important. But the first person I read talk about this concept was Rich Mullins. I was still a young teenager and it was before his death. I didn't really "get it", but it stuck with me anyway, so I've always remembered it. Once I had a child, I learned the frustration first hand of not getting up first hand and this concept came back to me.
I started getting up before my daughter around the time she was one. I attempted to before then, but she'd still out do me sometimes or if I got up, then I'd wake her up, so it just wasn't smart. But after she turned one and we were living in our own place, everything started to settle down. And although there have been short seasons (early pregnancy, postpartum) that I've slept to the last minute, for the most part, I make a point to be up and going a good hour before them.
There are three main things I want to do before any children wake up:
- say my prayers
- read some Scripture
- be dressed and ready to go
Those are the bare essentials. All that takes, me at the minimum, half an hour. Some other things I like to have time for are exercising, writing, email, and reading on the internet. It's also nice to have a jump start on chores if there's a lot to do that day. Those are all things that I can do if one child is up and my husband is still home. But, the praying and reading... I like to have silence in the morning for those things.
Saying my prayers and strengthening myself with Scripture just gets me ready for the day. Being dressed and ready is like going to work with clothes on. It just feels better. In general, it's annoying to be interrupted, especially when I'm not prepared. Being woken up is like that to me. My sleep is interrupted and I'm not ready for it, or the day. Those are my reasons for getting up before.
When I first started out, I determined how much time I wanted. Then I figured out how early I needed to get up to be sure I had that time. I can't remember what that time was then, but about a year ago, it was 6:00 or 6:30. For about a month now, I have getting up at 5:00 because Michael was waking up around 6:00. He's sleeping better now, but I don't think I'm going to go back. It feels amazing to have so much silence and uninterrupted time! For some reason it was an easy stretch, and I feel more alert than I did at 6:00. I never thought I'd be this way, but here I am!
This does mean that I need to be in bed around 10:00. This was the goal even when getting up at 6:00. Now that everyone is sleeping through the night, I'm good on 7 hours. Getting up earlier means I'm really ready to sleep, which is a good thing for me since I can have trouble going to sleep. I can handle staying up until 11:00 one or two nights a week.
Over time, these things that have helped me get up and stay up:
- Have an inspirational song on my phone as my alarm.
- Have a little snack while I read Scripture so I won't fall asleep.
- Have an incentive to get up like a chai latte or check out a new blog.
On the Weekend
I usually "sleep in" on Saturdays, getting up at 6:00 or even 7:00, depending on how I feel or if I was up late. Even though I'm home everyday, Saturdays still feel like a weekend to me. So if I roll out of bed with the kids and make pancakes in my pjs, I actually like it - for that day. Hubby and I will take turns letting each other sleep in past the kids. On Sundays I like to sleep until I wake up. In a way I get to catch up a bit, but also, church isn't until 10:00 and I don't like doing much more than pray or read before church.
One More Thing
I have never claimed to be a morning person, and still don't. In fact, my husband and I don't really talk for a good hour or more besides an occasional "Good Morning" with a little smooch. I need a good chunk of time before I'm ready to be personable. I don't think this hinges on how much sleep I get. I think I simply need time to "wake up" and be ready, no matter what time I get up. Hence, the point in getting up early!