It’s a popular productivity tip to get up an hour before the rest of your household and get stuck into those things you need uninterrupted time to do – like partaking in exercise, studying, writing and planning world domination. It’s a good tip and one I have employed at various points of my life. I like the early dawn when the birds begin to chirp and the neighbourhood seems to unravel from its collective doona.
But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about when instead of a gentle unravelling with a couple of snooze button hits, the wake up is a 4.30am stomp of feet on floorboards by a two or four-year-old, or in extreme cases both, yelling MAAAAMMMAAA at the top of their lungs. Times this happening by seven and you end up with one tired and cranky ‘mama’ by the end of the week. I’m sure dadda is tired too, but his ability to snore right through some of these occurrences is truly startling.
So what are my options? Option number one is to get more sleep and that’s a work in progress at the moment. The four-year-old is coming around to the idea through some gentle bribery and he managed to sleep until 5.15am this morning (small wins and baby steps, people!) and his little bro managed to get to 5.30am without his brother screaming the house down. Option 2 is to wrestle some sanity out of my mornings from such an early awakening. I’ve quickly found that yelling out ‘it’s too early, go back to bed’ to no avail is a fast track to a grumpy, frustrated mum before the sun is even up, which is no way to live. So, how can you turn an early wake up call into a productive start to the day?
Don’t lose your cool: Look, I’ve done it. It never achieves anything other than leaving me tired, cranky and frazzled instead of just tired. Take a couple of deep breaths and see if you can get them involved in a quiet activity while you try and simulate a more dignified awakening, or try and catch a few more Zs.
Put a positive spin on it: Breathe in, breathe out and tell yourself that ‘this too shall pass’. This is advice that can apply to all aspects of parenting that sucks. ‘This too shall pass’. This morning is a snippet of time, that although ridiculously annoying, will eventually fade into the haze of early motherhood to be replaced with staying up late at night for teenagers to return home. Gah!
Get up: If the Zs elude you (which they often do for me), get up and start your day. I find the more I lay around trying to get more rest, the more agitated I become. By getting up I signal my intention to make the most of the day, however it began.
Remain detached: Try not to get involved in internal finger pointing about possible reasons they’re waking up early. If you’re anything like me, you’ll start to blame yourself for this. Which is just wasted energy. By keeping emotions out of it, you can keep a calm head that will allow you to brainstorm any possible changes you can make to move your children gently towards more sleep.
Hatch a plan: Take your brainstorming and start to implement small changes to encourage more sleep or if that’s not possible – more independent play in the morning. This is still a work in progress in my household as many tried and true methods have proven unsuccessful so far, but I’m working on consistency and patience and hopefully we’ll get there at some point!
Coffee: No explanation required!
So, there’s my tips for early morning sanity! I’d love to hear yours… Bel xx