When you become a mother, your ability to sleep soundly goes out the window. Even if someone’s not actively waking you up, you’re either worrying about something kid-related, or sleeping with one ear open, ready to leap up at the slightest bump, whine, or cough from anywhere within the house. So you’re chronically sleep-deprived as it is — but add a kid who’s an early riser to the mix, and your chances of ever catching up on your ZZZs are screwed.
I know this because my oldest son, aptly nicknamed “Crack-of-Dawn Colin,” has been awake with the first rays of the sun (or before) every single morning, every single day, of his 11 years. He’s getting up like one of those obnoxious birds that starts chirping when it’s still dark outside. He’s getting up at the time I used to go to bed sometimes in college, after a long night of…studying. (Yeah, that’s it: studying.) He’s getting up at “this is going to take an entire pot of coffee” o’clock. And he’s getting everybody else up with him, whether he means to or not.
I was hoping this would correct itself as he neared adolescence, but so far, no luck. I hear moms talking about how their children are still asleep at 9 a.m. and I wonder if they’ve suddenly switched to a foreign language because I just can’t comprehend. Parents of early risers are not privy to these types of conversations, and I’m not gonna lie — it kinda sucks. But that’s not the only thing. In general, having a kid who wakes up before everyone else is for the (early) birds.
1. Sleeping in is OUT.
Kids are about as silent as a hippo in tap shoes, even when they’re trying to be quiet. You might think it gets better once your early riser is old enough to fix breakfast alone, or turn on the TV, or entertain himself, but that’s not usually the case. How can we possibly rest when our supersonic mom hearing is dialed into the sounds of the cereal bowl being dropped in the kitchen…and the milk being spilled on the counter…and wait, is that the bag of chocolate chips rustling? Which brings us to the next point…
2. Kids are freaking sneaky.
Still lounging in bed while your early riser is out and about in the house? Then your carefully hidden candy stash is in peril. So is the Scotch tape, the Band-Aids, the cupcake sprinkles, the glue, the cornstarch, your favorite pen, and anything else you’ve deemed off-limits. Children see the wee hours of the morning while everyone else is asleep as a golden opportunity to poke around in places they wouldn’t dare touch under a watchful parental eye.
3. If they’re awake, then so is everybody else.
Slumbering siblings don’t stand a chance against an early riser, who wakes them up because a.) they’re loud as hell, b.) they’re bored and need someone to play with, or c.) they’ve decided to seize the prime opportunity to startle them awake or draw a mustache with a Sharpie.
4. They’re SO. ANNOYINGLY. ENERGETIC.
An early riser loves mornings – the earlier, the better – and bounces out of bed bright-eyed and fully rested, with the boundless energy of a rabbit on No-Doz. By the time we forcibly pry our eyelids apart and slump half-upright on the edge of the bed (and on the edge of consciousness in general) for five minutes, they’re babbling on about wasps and shaving and Minecraft and wanting breakfast and is it shorts weather? I’m sorry, kid, but my brain is still booting up like an antiquated IBM. I can’t even deal with all this overly-chipper chatter.
5. They have a totally unfair napping advantage.
Early risers don’t care about getting up with the sun (or before), because they’re kids and nobody ever discourages them from taking a nap. Tired at 3 p.m. because you woke up at 5 a.m.? No problem — just zonk out adorably on the couch. Parents, however, don’t get that luxury most of the time. We get to be woken by the early risers and are still expected to put in a full day of adulting with nary a nap in sight. Talk about adding insult to injury.
Someday maybe I’ll get to join the ranks of mothers with teenagers whose kids sleep all day. But until then, you can find me double-fisting caffeinated beverages and propping my eyes open with toothpicks. At least I get to Instagram some killer sunrises.