Why I get up at 5am

I have written before about how I strongly recommend waking up earlier than everybody else when you have a family to look after.  I recommend it even more so after the events of this week.

I have been waking up at 5am for almost four years now.  That is every single day, with weekends included.  I wasn’t always an early riser and it took some training to get used to doing it but I quickly realised that I far preferred the benefits that it brought.

Getting up before everybody else gives me the opportunity to “get my head straight”.  I can prepare myself, physically and mentally, for the day ahead.  I can breakfast and have a coffee or two in peace.  I can get the chores started and get ahead of my work and I can get myself dressed and ready before the small people start demanding my time and attention.  I can deal with my online banking, my emails and I can write up a blog post or two.  I like having the quiet time before the busyness of the day begins.

If I can get myself that one hour it makes a lot of difference to my whole day.  This was brought home to me this week when I did the unthinkable and overslept.  I hardly ever oversleep and if I do it is rarely by more than ten minutes.  With a couple of babies to get up for during the night sometimes the tiredness tends to kick in.  This week it gave me a real good kicking and I ended up oversleeping not once but twice.  Furthermore,  it wasn’t by minutes but by over an hour each time!

By the time I awoke, the children were already awake and demanding my attention.  The chores that would normally be done and out of the way were left so that I could deal with the kids.  I hadn’t had a coffee, hadn’t had breakfast and hadn’t even had time to run a brush through my hair, let alone get myself dressed and made up for the day.

As the morning passed by and I tried to play catch-up on the things I would normally have dealt with I got more and more stressed and short-tempered.  Before I knew it lunch time had arrived and I still hadn’t caught up on everything.  I hadn’t eaten all morning, not having had the chance to eat breakfast after all.  The laundry was behind, schooling started later and I was trying frantically to prepare materials for lessons that I didn’t get the chance to do already.  The hoovering and dusting wasn’t done and every crumb on the carpet screamed at me.  The result?  I was rushing around, maligning myself and getting in a fouler mood as the day went on.

I hadn’t realised until this week just how much having this time in my day means to me.  I hadn’t realised until now just how much the benefits far outweighed anything that the extra few minutes of sleep could give.  I appreciate far more the things I can do, the amount I can achieve and the peace of mind it gives me when I am firm with myself and my early morning starts, and this in turn goes a long way to improving my mood for the rest of the day.  And the rest of the family appreciates that!

I often hear from other mums who say they wish they could do that, or have thought about trying it but then finish with, “… but I’m really not a morning person”.

You don’t have to be a morning person.

You just have to be firm with yourself for two weeks.

Don’t look at me that way. 

Two weeks.

That is all.

Try getting up before anyone else in the house for just two weeks and work out your own little routine.  Make the most of having your morning coffee in peace and note how many chores you can get done in that time, without having to rush and without having the distraction of little ones under your feet.  See if it makes any difference to your mood (once you’ve got going and stopped cursing my name under your breath).  Try it out and see if it gives you a head start to your day, allowing you to get on top of things before they get on top of you.

I much prefer my 5am starts to a day of rushing about, getting an already stressed me into a worse mood as the day progresses.

I am willing to bet you will notice the benefits too.

Let me know if you try it.


Subscribe to Larger Family Life and get the latest news directly in your inbox or reader.  You can also join us on Facebook and Twitter too!

Follow largerfamily on Twitter

Larger Family Life is also available on Kindle!

9 thoughts on “Why I get up at 5am

  1. i have a set bedtime routine for myself…i am always in bed for 8.30pm and up in the morning at 6.00am…..i have an hour to myself, cuppa, check facebook and blogs, get the kids breakfast things out and makes the baby's bottle…go to the loo in peace and then i get everyone one up in a happy mood x

  2. I have tried this, but my girls (one in particular) seem to be able to sense when I am awake – whatever the time – so it doesn't matter if it's 3am or 6am I always have a "shadow" or two… or three or four….

  3. What time do you go to bed Tania? Having several teenagers in the house means they rarely go to bed before 10 pm which means it's always after 10 by the time I go. Also with a baby waking throughout the night and the horrible dark mornings I struggle to get up for 6.45 am! But the same applies to you too (except you have TWO babies waking up) so where am I going wrong?

  4. What a coincidence that you've posted this today – I loathe mornings, absolutely loathe them, but I've just reached that stage of pregancy where sleep is becoming much more difficult and I was up at 6:30 today (for me, that's aminor miracle on a workday, let alone a Saturday) and had an hour to have my morning cup of milk (gone off tea!) start breakfast, empty the dishwasher, get laundry started and generally acclimatise to the fact that I'm awake, and it really did make a difference to the rest of my day. I don't know how successful I'd be at making it a consistent thing, and probably at least 50% mornings I wouldn't get the whole hour before someone else was up as well, but I think it's worth a go.

    Thanks for posting this – I think if I hadn't read it I might not have made the connection between my good day and my early start!

  5. WOW !!! Just found your blog and although inspired and SOOO want to be you , I am ALWAYS the last one up on our house and struggle to get up to take the kids to school. How do you do it, do you think you are naturally programmed that way or do you really think you can go from say me ( who loves her sleep more than anything ) to you??
    Would love to know

  6. I am not a morning person either, but I have started getting up at 7:30 to get in some exercising and have a few moments to myself before my daughter wakes up. One of the tough things is that I have an online business and do most of my work after my daughter is in bed. It's often 11 or midnight before I realize what time it is! Also my husband works from home and he hates getting up on the morning. I sometimes feel grumpy that I'm the one getting up and he's still laying there peacefully!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.