In her book, A Mother’s Rule of Life (which I haven’t finished reading yet), Holly Pierlot suggests that a mother wake up before her children and use that time for prayer and spiritual reading. For me that was a huge sticking point when I was reading the book. I kept feeling like she was really addressing the needs of mothers of larger families, mothers with older children, mothers in a very different stage of life than mine.
I also had the nagging suspicion that Pierlot, and others who advocate getting up before your kids, are morning people, and that they have kids who are older and don�t wake so early. (And that they aren�t pregnant and exhausted.) I�d be interested in seeing testimony from a mother who is like me, not a morning person, who has young kids, and who still manages to implement that advice and find it works for her, improves her day and makes things run more smoothly. Then, I might be tempted to try it too.
For now, though, I’m resigned to the fact that I�m a night owl. That’s just how I am. I’ve read articles that suggest there is a biological difference between night owls and morning larks, that it’s not just laziness that makes mornings torture for us and there’s a reason that the late-night hours are our high-energy time of day. Get me up any time before 8 and I�m groggy and cranky. But I find a sudden spurt of energy and creativity always hits around ten or so in the evening.
My daughter, of course, has other ideas. She gets up at 5:30 or 6. Trying to get up before her, would not really improve my mood any, I don�t think. Much less, trying to use that time for prayer or spiritual reading, as Pierlot’s book suggests. That would be useless, I�d just fall asleep. I know. I’ve tried. The prayer book falls to the floor or closes on my lap. My head nods. Nothing is accomplished, though I’m sure God appreciates the effort.
This topic comes to mind today because Jen at Et, Tu? linked to a blog post by Hallie, a mother who is struggling to reform her attitude and start her day off right. She writes:
I have been struggling to start my days with a cheerful attitude lately. The problem is twofold:
First, I have been letting my children wake me up in the morning. Not a great idea. Somehow this little habit turns my sweet children into tribal adversaries. My opening thought of the day becomes:
Please tell me I am hallucinating. Why on earth are they awake so early? Is it really so hard to wait for the sun to rise before greeting the day? What does a Mom have to do to get some sleep around here anyway?
And so on. Yes, I do know that I should wake up before my children do. Many, many mothers far wiser and more experienced than I consider this a cardinal rule of motherhood. The resolution has been made. Implementation may be a bit delayed due to slow learning curve. Check back in a month�
I was glad to read her post, to find another mother who knows she “should” wake up before her children and yet who can’t quite do it. I’m hoping that Hallie is able to do it, to find (with God’s help) a way to cheerfully wake up before her children do and start the morning off with a better attitude. I will check back with her to see how she’s doing and to cheer her on. But, like I said, I’d love to hear more input from mothers who have successfully implemented this plan. Or who’ve tried and failed. I’d like especially to hear from those who are natural night owls. I’d like to hear about their struggles to wake up before their kids, to hear about how they conquered their nature. And I want to hear how they deal with babies who wake up at the crack of dawn, especially with newborns who are up all night long, with pregnancy exhaustion, etc. Do they relax their rule at those times? Do they get up even earlier? Do they somehow find a way to sneak in a nap? As long as I’m convinced that rising early only works for those who aren’t night owls, I’m going to stick with what works for me, no matter how many veteran mothers have suggested otherwise.
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