My oldest son has always been an early riser. He regularly wakes up between 5 and 6am. Still. Every day. He is 6-years-old. I have gone through many stages with my feelings regarding this fact. Disbelief, anger, passiveness, anger, frustration, anger, acceptance and – did I mention anger?
I felt furious that this kid was waking me up and sometimes also waking his brother. (Dad never woke up, but that’s a different story!). He seemed to do it because he was up and wanted company. I figured that when he was little it was a baby thing. Then when he was potty training I figured it was because he had to use the bathroom and then couldn’t fall back to sleep. But I realized soon enough (6 years later) that this is just him.
I can’t be angry anymore; it’s a waste of time and energy because this is how his body rolls. One way that I have adapted to this is by going to bed a little earlier myself. Another way is by consistently getting up early myself. Our school-day schedule demands that we leave the house at 7:15am. If I am up at 5am, I often have almost an entire hour to myself before he is up and ready to go for the day. Here are a few reasons why I am starting to love this quiet hour.
1. Alone time. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get alone time in my world. My kids are with me all the time at home, in the car and on the weekends. If it’s not the kids, it’s my students, co-workers or husband. Unlike my son, I am not an introvert – but even I need time along once in awhile! The quiet hour gives me time to shower without kiddos knocking on the door, catch up on emails, or even sit down with a cup of coffee to read the news.
2. Workout time. I used to be an after work gym rat. Before I had kids I was at the gym most days at 4pm. It was a great way to get in a workout and not eat all the snacks at home between work and dinner. Since my two boys came along, that after work time doesn’t exist. It’s now just a drive from work to day care, often squeezing in a trip to Stop and Shop because I forgot to take something out for dinner. Now the quiet hour gives me the opportunity to workout before the sun comes up. No kids hurling hand weights at each other or bouncing off the Bosu ball and into the coffee table head first. Just me and my “trainer” (I’m lookin’ at you, Tony Horton!).
3. Catching up with the adult world time. I remember talking to my mom about things that my sister and I liked in our childhood and her not remembering a thing. We would ask her something like,“How could you forget when Madonna danced on stage at the VMA’s, mom?!” She would reply with, “I had other things to worry about! I was raising kids in the 80’s. I didn’t have time for Madonna.” Well, now I get it. I don’t have much time during the day to read or watch the news let alone any relevant TV shows.
Thankfully, we have something my mom didn’t have – the internet. (Thank you, Amazon Prime and Netflix – I could never parent without you!). The quiet hour gives me time to sip coffee and catch up on the latest news and my favorite blogs. Then I can discuss relevant topics with adults and not just trade mommy stories.
So maybe my son will always be an early riser, but for now I see it as a positive thing. I’ve decided to make the most of my quiet hour instead of being angry about it.