Waking Up Early Makes Me A Better Mom. Yes, Really.

by Joanna McClanahan
Originally Published: 
A close-up of a woman drinking from a grey cup while wearing a beige sweater
Jamie Gril/Getty

I have never been a morning person; I’ve always preferred to stay up late and sleep in. But then I had kids, and before I knew it, sleeping in became a thing of the past.

So I did what all moms do: I adapted. I have learned that waking up early is worth the extra exhaustion for those few precious hours of silence while the rest of my family is sleeping, and this is why.

In the midst of the chaos that is parenthood, it’s the only time I can hear myself think. Seriously. And let’s face it, we’re always tired, anyway, so we might as well enjoy a few minutes of bleary-eyed silence when we can.

In those precious pre-dawn hours, I can truly get shit done, without anyone yelling for me. I can take an uninterrupted shower or get in a quick workout. I can drink my coffee while it’s still hot and/or put on makeup without an audience. I can read a book, or write, or listen to whatever music I want. I appreciate the silence; it’s the only time I can meditate and remember to relax and breathe deeply.

Waking up early is the only time I really get to be me: doing the things that I enjoy and putting my needs first.

Yes, sometimes I wake up at 5 a.m. and one of my kids wakes up at 5:15. I don’t know how they know, but they can sense some sort of disturbance in the force, and then I’m back into mom-mode and we snuggle. But even 15 minutes of silence is better than zero minutes of silence.

Because the alternative is getting woken up and having to hit the ground running. I’d rather have time to wake up, stretch, and plan out the day ahead. I love having a little bit of alone time before the standard morning shit show begins and everyone is running around, screaming, looking for clothes and homework, while trying to get out the door on time.

In fact, it makes me a better mom to take some much-needed time for myself in the mornings. Those few moments of solitude are what I need, especially as an introvert, to fully recharge.

That way, by the time my kids wake up, I feel like I’ve already accomplished things—even if it is just brewing a fresh pot of coffee or writing down a to-do list to get an idea of what my day/week is going to look like. Once I’ve taken some time for myself, and I’ve fulfilled my own needs, I’m in a better place to fulfill the needs of others.

You know that saying “You cannot pour from an empty cup?” Well, the mornings give me time to fill my cup, both literally (mmm, coffee) and figuratively. I am able to think without distraction, and fulfill my own needs, so that I’m better able to help fulfill my family’s needs.

Motherhood is hectic and we’re all looking for any solace and peace of mind that we can find. My morning routine is about making time for that peace and quiet, so that I can start the day feeling that I’ve already accomplished something — even when that something is just a few moments of solitude, it’s totally worth it.

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