Wake Up Early to Transform Your Mom Life

September 19

wake up early, woman stretching

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Where are all my night owls? Two hands WAY up over here! In order for this natural night owl to wake up early, I had to come to the end of my rope. Taking care of 2 kids under 3 was overwhelming. Taking care of my husband was just not getting done. The housework just kept piling up, and don’t forget about our poor attention starved dog. It was looking pretty bleak.

I don’t know about you but chores are the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE! I can drag my feet like nobody’s business if I don’t want to do something. Being raised by Asian parents, I was told to just keep my area relatively clean, and to study. Okay, mainly study. These factors in combination, as you would expect, molded me into a struggling mess of a housewife and mom.

No one officially taught me the ins and outs of running a household! This life skill was learned through some serious trial and error and TONS of internet research over the last couple of years. Thank you Rosemarie Groner!

Once, a good Virgo friend of mine informed me that she woke up at 5 am every morning! She swore that it kept her organized and sane. I thought about doing it for approximately 5 seconds. Then came to the realization that I was probably not going to be able to pull it off.

But after a long period of feeling like I was coming up short as a wife and Mommy, it was time to bite that bullet and initiate some drastic change.

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Wake up Early to Start Your Day Off on the Right Foot

Having a head start on your day is LIFE! Getting all the boring stuff out of the way in the morning frees up so much time throughout the rest of your day. The best part is that you aren’t worrying about chores all day long.

You have time to be present and engage with your children. Greeting them fresh and awake right when they wake up in the morning with nothing else on your mind is such a blessing. And now, the dreaded morning routine is actually one of my favorite parts of parenting.

Bonus: They are still sleepy and oh so very delish to kiss and cuddle when they are groggy. It’s so different than when you are abruptly awakened because they woke you up.

So here’s a look at my day when I start it off on the left foot:

I abruptly wake up to bright-eyed, attention hungry, whiny children who don’t seem to be satisfied with my half-awake approach to parenting. Then, I struggle to get them something to eat or drink and I resort to YouTube videos to keep them quiet so I can get coffee and a small lunch ready for my husband who is leaving in 20 minutes for work.

My face has not been washed. My teeth have not been brushed. I haven’t even gone to the bathroom. I’m still in pajamas. And there is NO time to quiet my starving stomach with breakfast.

That’s just a glimpse of the morning, the afternoon isn’t much better:

I can’t fold laundry because the pile of clean clothes is too high (it would take way too long). I can’t cook right away because the kitchen is a mess and there are so many dirty dishes in the sink. And I can’t downsize or even think about organizing because there is an avalanche of toys to wade through. It’s a very slippery downhill slope.

The Wake Up Early Schedule:

Time blocked schedule with pencil

This is my daily schedule that I follow diligently so that on the random days when my kids want to wake up SUPER early with me, I won’t feel behind.

Keep in mind, this regimen only takes me 1 hour in the morning, MAX. And it all gets done before anyone else wakes up! So awesome!

Sneak Out of Bed

family of feet in bed

Sometime in the middle of the night, at least one child ends up in my bed. The kids are apparently unaffected by the alarm clock that goes off at 5:30 in the morning. Great for now but not good foreshadowing for future school days).

But if these children just feel me trying to get away, they are instantly awake.

So when my alarm goes off, I begin my slow and steady decent from the bed. Average speed: 5-10 minutes. I know (eye roll). But at least it helps me wake up gently.

Wash Up

Washing my face and brushing my teeth with no one interrupting me is a treat in itself. I even get to look in the mirror instead of having to look down the hall to make sure no one is getting hurt. OMG! Is that what I look like now?!

The way my schedule works out, I shower at night. But, if I were to shower in the morning, I would have ample time to enjoy a morning shower instead.

Meditate

wake up early to meditate

Before I started waking up early, I used to only have time to meditate at night after my babies went to sleep. But now I have time to meditate in the morning as well.

Meditating twice a day makes all the difference in the world!

My mood is calmer and my priorities are at the forefront of my mind. Setting the tone for the day helps me start off clear and centered and is a game changer when it comes to Momming.

Put away the clean dishes

5 minutes. It never takes me longer than 5 minutes to clear out the dishwasher of clean dishes.

Having an empty dishwasher means being able to clear out the sink of dirty dishes throughout the day. Trying to ignore a sink overflowing with dirty dishes is the worst. The dirty dishes easily go into the dishwasher after a quick rinse and my sink stays clean.

The cooking gets started right away since my sink is clear. I have learned to do dishes as I cook, and it makes cooking that much more pleasant because when the cooking is done, so are most of the dishes!

After dinner, it takes less than 5 minutes to clear the sink and start the dishwasher.

Then I just clear out the dishwasher in the morning when I wake up early again! Voila! Empty dishwasher!

Wash AND dry a load of laundry

I used to dread washing and drying laundry, but then I realized that it was because I was associating it with folding laundry.

Washing and drying laundry is a piece of cake! It takes about 1-2 minutes to start a load of laundry, and about 30 seconds to start drying a load of laundry. Cake.

Bonus: Since I do one load DAILY, yes, DAILY, there is WAY less laundry to fold with each batch! Ugh, speaking of folding. . .

Possibly fold my laundry

folded laundry with Tiffany blue background

Pro tip: If you absolutely HATE doing something, setting a timer is GOLD!

Busy Budgeter: Real Life Laundry Solutions

I HATE FOLDING LAUNDRY!

Let’s face it, the worst part of doing the laundry is folding. The washing and drying part is so easy that my 3 and 1 year old already help with that part. It’s the dreaded folding that’s the hard part.

I just leave the folding for after I finish every other chore in the morning, or worst case scenario, the afternoon when the kids are playing or sleeping.

But, if I happen to have extra time in the morning to get it done and out of the way, my day is that much better!

Folding and hanging the kids clothes: 15 minutes max

Folding and hanging our clothes: 10 minutes max

And again, since I do the laundry on a daily basis, I only fold one batch of clothes a day, either the kids clothes OR our clothes. Never both.

Every once in a while I get my kids to ‘help’ me fold. It takes twice as long, but at least they are having fun. But usually I’m just better off saving it for the next morning before they wake up.

Total time for folding: 15 minutes MAX!

Let’s do the Math:

  • Sneak out of bed: 10 minutes
  • Wash Up: 10 minutes
  • Meditate: 15 minutes
  • Put away clean dishes: 5 minutes
  • Washing and drying clothes: 2.5 minutes (active work)
  • Folding 1 batch of laundry: 15 minutes
doing math with calculator and pen and paper

Drum-roll please. . . 57.5 minutes. Uh, I think. . . Wait. . .Yup.

Count walking from place to place and going to the bathroom and it’s an even 60 minutes!

Only 1 hour in the morning, with no one bothering me and I basically finish 75% of my annoying chores for the day. BEFORE ANYONE IS UP!

And since I wake up at 5:30 am and usually the first person to wake up is my oldest son at 7:00 am, that gives me an extra 30 minutes in the morning to do whatever the heck I want!

I mean I even have time to work-out in the morning, you know, if I really wanted to.

Scheduling out my Meals for the week

woman writing in notepad, with phone, and cup of tea

All this daily efficiency has led to my ability to keep my head clear and think straight. It has given me the ability to MEAL PLAN, a lifelong dream of mine since becoming a wife.

Meal planning has been my life saver throughout this process.

Let’s be clear, I meal plan not meal prep. Huge difference! I don’t do any extra work or cooking on Sunday except think and write.

I don’t know about you, but thinking about what we are going to eat every night, deciding which meat needs to be defrosted, and figuring out how to prepare it with two kids running around the house is the stress of my life. The DAILY stress of my life. It can feel like it takes up your whole day.

Deciding what to eat on a daily basis takes up WAY too much brain space, and time. Something is always bound to go wrong if you don’t plan ahead. You forget to put out the meat to defrost, or you bring the WRONG meat out to defrost, or you don’t have that one essential ingredient but you already started working on that particular meal. The possibilities for failure are endless.

Like I said, stress of my life.

Meal planning for the week every Sunday night has transformed the nightly stressful dinner making to quite possibly, a delightful experience.

The longest it takes me to make dinner now is 30-45 minutes. Sometimes, I can finish dinner in 20 minutes FLAT! AMAZE-BALLS! That’s practically just one or two YouTube Kids videos.

All this is possible thanks to an easy, organized wake up early chore schedule.

More Math

woman doing math on blackboard

So 60 minutes in the morning and on average 30 minutes in the late afternoon now, comes to a grand total of 1 and 1/2 hours TOTAL a day for chores.

That’s it!

That’s all it takes to gain back control of your daily life as Mommy!

If you sleep 8 hours at night, there are 16 hours left in your day! Minus 1 hour in the morning and another 30 minutes later for cooking, you have 14 and 1/2 hours left.

I can’t even with the percentage calculations, but you get me. It is a very minuscule percentage of your day.

Waking up early gives you the head start you need to be prepared for your day, so when something inevitably goes wrong, you will have the extra time to fix it without feeling overwhelmed.

Wake Up Early to Make Everything Better

Waking up early will help make you a better Mommy, a better wife, and it will help you have a better life! Basically it will make everything better.

Wake up early for more quality time with the kids

I can be a fun Mommy now! Since all my ‘chores’ are done before the day is officially started, and it takes me less than an hour to cook dinner at night, I have so much more quality time to spend with my kids!

It really has been amazing for our family.

This is the first time since becoming a Mommy that I feel like I have some control over my life and my time.

Wake up early to YELL LESS

woman yelling

I admit, I am a yeller. I wasn’t always a yeller. My theory, mommyhood is to blame. But I have learned to stop, take deep breaths, and center myself when the urge comes over me (hardest thing I ever had to learn).

Less stressors in your mind, means a radical increase in tolerance for the ‘treacherous threes’ or ‘threenagers’ (all real things, by the way).

End result: Less Yelling

My mind is not bogged down with an ominous list of things to do before the end of the day. Therefore, I am not rebuking the kids when I can’t seem to get anything done. Poor things just want some attention.

I actually FEEL like I am being a good mom now. I couldn’t say that before starting to wake up early.

Wake Up Early For a Cleaner House

a clean and organized modern kitchen
Not really my house. Lol!

I do LOVE a clean and organized house. But more importantly, my husband LOVES a clean and organized house. Borderline obsessed with it, okay! He just feels like he can’t think straight if there is clutter.

More props to him for staying married to me these last few years while I figured this homemaking thing out.

I get to feel like the “perfect” homemaker for at least some of the time now, and that counts!

My sink is always clean and empty. My laundry is always washed, dried, and put away. Making dinner is a breeze. I now have control over my day! Before, it always felt like there was not enough time, like I was always catching up.

My oldest is officially potty trained! Yay! But what does that have to do with the house being cleaner, you ask?

Well, just because he is potty trained doesn’t negate the fact that he sometimes forgets that he is potty trained when he wakes up from sleeping. That sometimes means EXTRA laundry loads. Thanks for nothing Pull-Ups.

But remember? I already washed and dried and sometimes even folded the laundry in the morning! Yup, GO MOMMY!

So one more small load of laundry is nothing in the grand scheme of things. All clean again! And no having to hold back yelling on my part, no crying on his part from my stifled attitude, no problem!

Waking up early makes for better organization skills

When you don’t have to think of anyone else you get so much more work done. You know what I mean, your husband is home and you want to hang out instead of fold laundry. Your babies are up and you want to cuddle them instead of finish the dishes.

When I am not endlessly thinking about doing chores, my mind is free to think about other things.

Now, I even get to slowly finish Marie Kondo-ing the rest of my house. You should see my newly organized pantry, it’s WONDERFUL! All because I finished everything else in the morning.

I have time to work on my blog, during the day, SAY WHAT?! Unheard-of.

It really is amazing what an organized household can do for the stress levels. *sigh of relief*

Frequently Asked Questions about Waking Up Early

post it on board reading frequently asked questions

Let’s put all your fears to rest. . .

What if I have a hard time going to sleep early at night?

This was actually my biggest hurdle in embarking on this life changing journey. I am a night person. Always have been, always will be. Or so I thought.

People say to make sure you go to sleep early the night before you begin.

Nope. Doesn’t work.

Go to sleep at your regular late time. FORCE yourself up at that ungodly hour when the sun is still not even awake. Then soon enough, your body will be so tired that it will start to self-adjust and fall asleep earlier.

I used to do 12 hour long day shifts then changed to 12 hour long night shifts at the hospital. Then I started doing 12 hour long mid-shifts and then, like a crazy person, back to 12 hour long day shifts.

All this to say: Your body knows how to adjust. It may take a little while, but it will sleep when it is tired and wake up when you force it to.

If you try to go to sleep at 10 pm when your natural sleep time is 1 am, you will toss and turn and give up pretty quickly.

If you gird your loins and only get a few hours of sleep to start off with, you will naturally fall asleep earlier at night.

My advice: Just try it for a week. You can do ANYTHING for one week. Your body really does adjust.

When I started this waking up early thing, I thought to myself, “This will never work because I ALWAYS go to sleep late (like 1-2 am sometimes). I won’t get any sleep!” Lo and behold, my body adjusted. After a couple of days, I could not keep my eyes open for the life of me after 12, then 11, now 10 (okay, 1030).

I can definitely stay up if I absolutely had to, or if my husband puts a really exciting movie on like John Wick 3.

But for the most part, I dose off on the couch at around 10:30 cuddling my hubby. Then mosey on up to bed around 1 in the morning. Then I get a solid 4 1/2 hours of sleep from there in my comfy bed.

But night time when the babies are asleep is my only time with my husband.

My husband works 9-5, 5 days a week. I work on the weekends. The only time we have a day off together is when one of us calls in sick.

So night time really is the only time we have to spend together.

The key words are QUALITY vs QUANTITY people. QUALITY vs QUANTITY.

You will still have a couple of hours together before you end up having to hit the hay.

I love to stay up at night and binge on Netflix with my hubby. LOVE IT! It just happens for a shorter period of time now in the evenings. But maybe once or twice a week I can stay up for a longer session.

Keep in mind, I have finished all my chores for the day AND we don’t argue about the messy house on a almost daily basis anymore.

I’m not wasting time on laundry and dirty dishes. I am actively engaged in the time I have to spend with him.

QUALITY vs QUANTITY people.

What if I just do everything the night before?

Hey, if you are able to get everything done the night before, more power to you, Mama! But for me, it is way too hard. . .

At the end of the day when I’m hanging out with my husband, after a nice hot shower, resting on the couch watching Netflix, I just can’t seem to get any chores done.

The dishes will stay in the sink, and the laundry will not get done. If I’m lucky, I can muster up enough strength to clear some toys out of way.

There is no refilling the kid’s diaper bag, no getting up to prepare snacks or clothes for them for the next day. Only laying on the couch.

It is so hard to pull yourself away from something you want to be doing.

It is easier to do something you don’t want to do when you have nothing else better to do (like early morning when no one else is awake).

What if I just can’t make it work?

Same here. I had little hope that this schedule change was going to benefit me and my personality. But this regimen actually works with my lazy personality.

It forces me to complete the undesirable tasks in the morning time when I haven’t turned on the distracting TV yet, my eyes haven’t adjusted to the light so I haven’t looked at my phone yet, and no one is up to distract me. So essentially, it’s almost like I’m bored with nothing else to do. Might as well finish my chores.

The fact that everything is timed out already helps a lot with my procrastination as well. I know that if I just push through, I will be done in 1 hour. Then the rest of my day is free!

Sometimes, I even go back to bed and snuggle for a little bit if my morning works out that way.

What if I am more sleepy throughout the day?

wake up early dog with clock

I don’t drink coffee. No caffeine what so ever for the last 10 years. It was during my night shift stent. I had to quit because endless Monsters and Red bulls weren’t working anymore. More importantly, I was starting get palpitations, not to mention just a generalized ‘feeling weird’ all the time.

If I can do it without caffeine, you can do it with or without caffeine. Every once in a while, when I stay up too late one too many times, I WISH that I still drank coffee. But I just push through to the next baby nap time, or newfound early bedtime and I feel caught up again.

Wake Up Early for a Happier Household

This is the ultimate life goal, right?

Does anyone want to live in a house where no one is happy? Where nothing gets done on time? Where you trip over clean (and dirty) laundry piles? And where you can’t remember if you have a stainless steel sink or a porcelain one because you haven’t seen it for ages due to the chronic pile of dishes covering it?

Waking up early has TRULY transformed my daily life! Everyone I know said they didn’t think I could do it. Hey, I didn’t think I could do it. Point being: If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT!

Everyone is happier and more content since I started this journey. It has been worth the difficult transition period from night owl to early morning day walker.

What helps you wake up early? How has it been? I would LOVE to hear from you! Email me or leave me a comment below and please share! Every struggling Mommy just trying to survive needs to try waking up early to help them thrive!

All the love!

-Jen

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1 Comment
    1. Getting up early is an ongoing struggle for me but when I do I’m definitely more productive and happy than hitting the snooze button. I really like how you laid out the sections with usable links to scan and read. Thanks!

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