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What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Guest post from Laura of LauraVanderkam.com

Once upon a time, I was a night owl.

I worked some late night jobs in college, and I’d still love to write until 2 a.m. Early evening seems to me like an ideal time to exercise.

But there’s just one problem with those scenarios. Well, several problems, really.

By 7 a.m., my three children are all up and ready to greet the day. Around 8 a.m., the emails and phone calls related to my job start coming in. That continues until dinner time, when the kids are not about to let me sneak out to go to yoga class.

And so, I’ve started to see the benefits in getting a jump on the day. Last summer, I got in the habit of going to bed on time and setting my alarm for 6:20 a.m. I’d dress quickly, then go for a 40-minute run while people slept. I’d come home refreshed, with lots of great article bouncing around my head.

What could you do if you got up 45 minutes to an hour before your children? What personal priorities could you make time for when you’re energized by a good night’s sleep? Here are four ideas for morning habits:

1. Exercise.

Figuring out how to stuff three kids in a jog stroller is not so fun. But as long as your husband or another relative is home, you can get up before the gang, go for a run (or swim, bike, or take an exercise class) and enjoy some blissful, endorphin-producing solitude.

2. Do spiritual work.

It’s hard to “be still and know that I am God” when one kid is screaming in a crib and another just knocked over her milk. Get up before your kids, though, and you can pray and read the Bible or a devotional book without being interrupted.

3. Bond with your husband.

If date night rarely happens, what about date breakfast? You don’t have to leave the house — but having coffee on the back porch together, with grown-up conversation can be a great way to start the day.

4. Create.

In an hour or less, you can write a blog post. You can write a few hundred words in a novel. You can design jewelry to sell on Etsy or indulge your crafty side and become a star on Pinterest. You can paint. You can take photographs if it’s light out. You probably can’t compose a piano sonata without waking everyone up, but you get the idea!

Moms often think there’s no time for personal passions once the kids come along. But there is time. The early hours before most people are eating breakfast are available to all of us if we choose to use them. If you want something to happen, why not do it first?

Laura Vanderkam, author of the new ebook What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, blogs at LauraVanderkam.com

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88 Comments

  • Sidney says:

    This post made me smile….and reminisce about my “previous life”.

    I used to be a high school teacher and would regularly be to my classroom by 6:30 in the morning – and that was after doing my morning Bible study at home while having a hearty sit-down breakfast. I was never much of a morning exerciser, but coached track and cross country so for most of the school year had 2 hours of exercise built in to my schedule.

    Now, my daughter’s normal wake-up time is 5:15 am, and despite trying numerous things to get her to sleep in later nothing has worked. So, while I know the benefits of getting up early (and miss them!) getting up at 4:15 just isn’t realistic. I’m sure there will come a time in my life when I’ll have my mornings back, but right now am enjoying very unproductive early mornings with my little girl!

    • Julie says:

      I can relate Sidney! I have always been an early riser and my girls must have inherited that trait. They are up at 5:30 like clockwork! And like you, we have tried many ways to change our morning routine in attempt to get them to sleep later with little success. So, I’ve just learned to accept that it’s a rarity I will be up before them. Just our season of life right now!

      • Jen Olson says:

        I’m so glad to hear there are others in my shoes! I, too, have an early riser. As much as I WANT to get up at 4am to get stuff done before he wakes up, my body feels otherwise. Thankfully, my “alarm clock” (as I lovingly refer to him at times) is easily entertained in the morning, and I’m able to get some stuff done before the rest of the house is awake.

      • Jocelyn says:

        If you haven’t tried them yet- Blackout shades worked wonders for us!

        • Beth says:

          I *think* blackout shades may have helped us as well. We have had many of those seasons (I have a 3 year old, 2 year old, and 10 month old) and sleep has changed a lot. Amazingly, when we put up blackout shades, the boys started sleeping later! I’m thinking that may have been what helped, but who knows. Unfortunately, while that is fabulous, it also usually means that they take their naps later in the day (and are bears if they don’t get one) and have a difficult time settling later- so it seems like it is after 9-9:30 before all kiddos are settled and quiet. But, like you guys said- it is a season and I am just trying to accept that! My 3 year old is actually my late sleeper and it is practically impossible to wake him up in the morning….while it is nice to count on that now, I know I will HATE it when he is a teenager. 😉 Too bad the 2 year old and 10 month old aren’t the same….heehee. Trying to just accept these seasons of life and give myself grace…but it IS hard to find time to do anything on my own. I appreciated this post, though. Now that they have started sleeping SOMETIMES a little later, I have more opportunities to go to bed in hopes that it may be a night where all 3 sleep through the night and I can get myself up earlier…but it’s hard to shut off my natural “night owl” when it is actually quiet in the evening and I have some time to myself! It is a glorious feeling. =)

    • Melissa says:

      I agree with you Sidney. My son is up at 5:00 so getting up at 3:30 or 3:45 for my hour swim just seems a little too early right now but I’m sure at another season of life this would work.

    • Jessica says:

      Totally relate! My husband and I have both always been “morning people”. Our kids seem to have inherited that trait (though our 4 year old now sleeps until ALMOST 7!). 5:30 is a pretty standard wake-up time for our family. Waking up at 4:30, well, that would just be crazy, especially since I still get up with the baby once or twice a night!

      • Jenny says:

        Another one in the “my 2 kids get up at 5:30 AM and I cannot fathom getting up at 4:30 club” lol. I have to say though, it makes me feel better to know I’m not alone 🙂 I’m also 10 weeks pregnant, so there are alot of nights when I’m in bed the same time as they are.. haha.

    • Jaci says:

      Hey Sydney have to tried Daddy going in at 530 to settler her back down? My husband and I just went through this. A patient of mine recommended it to me. My daughter was waking up at 2 and 5 after we moved and I felt bad letting her cry it put because we are in an apt. Anyways my husband went in to our daughter and she fell back asleep in 5 mins the next night she slept through the night can’t guarantee that it will happen in night. But we just needed to break the habit of me going in to her

      • Sorry to hear some people have some *very* early risers. My baby was waking up around 4:45/5 or so, but then we tried just ignoring her and often she’d go back to sleep. She’d get back up at a more reasonable 6:30 or so. But yes, I agree, it’s hard to use one’s mornings with a baby. I look forward to a slightly later season of life when I know it will be easier!

      • Beth says:

        Jaci, this happened to us, too! We had a lot of transition when my boys were the ages of 1-3. First my husband moved to another state to start a new job and I stayed with my 2 year old and 1 year old in our house while we tried to sell it. My 2 year old sensed the changes and started getting up all through the night, starting at about 1 a.m. Usually I could just walk him back to bed and he would go back to sleep, but most of the time he still got up around 5 a.m. for good. I really fought it and even though it really stunk, I tried to just be consistent with walking him back to bed. We also got him a “goodnight light” that I programmed not to turn from a “moon” to a “sun” until around 6:30 or 7. (you can check them out on amazon). It finally paid off after a lot of consistency. THEN when we moved again, my 1 year old started getting up early but I just ignored him and tried to train him to wake up earlier (he couldn’t get out of his crib yet). Then we moved AGAIN (all in 6 months) and I had just had a new baby and he started waking up SCREAMING all through the night (about 7-10 times a night) and wouldn’t go back to bed. It was horrible. I literally got no sleep for about 4 months between feeding a newborn and my husband and I taking him back to bed or trying to calm him. Needless to say, I slept whenever I could at that point. He has since stopped that (now that we are more settled) but still got up around 5 or so. We try to be consistent and always bring him back to bed (or comfort him if he’s crying or whatever) but sometimes I am so tired that I just let him climb in bed and sleep until the other two wake up. =) I’m not sure if being consistent helped or if it was just a phase the boys were going through (probably a combination of the two), but now all three boys rise around 6:45-7:20). Who knows, it will probably be short lived. It’s so hard trying to change schedules constantly and adjust when it seems to change ALL the time! =) I try to just remember that before I know it, they’ll be grown and out of the house, and try to cherish the early morning cuddles if I can, even if I’m exhausted. =)

      • This was our situation as well. My son Will Not go back to sleep if I put him back down but my husband just lays him down and he is out like a light.

    • Jenny says:

      I’m another one in this spot. I tried to do this for a while, but it seemed no matter how early I got up, the tot would be getting up within 10 minutes of me. And I was being quiet! I kept trying until I was getting up at 4:30 in the morning to have some “me” time, and he somehow sensed or knew I was getting up and woke up shortly after.

      Finally I started just sleeping in as long as I could. It took a long time for him to come out of the habit of getting up at 4:30 in the morning, but now he’s back to sleeping in until around 6:30. Whew!

      • Beth says:

        Me, too, Jenny! Anytime I try to get up earlier, it’s like I have this “mommy is up” button that I have pushed and everyone seems to feel the need to wake up at the same time and interrupt my time. 🙂

  • Meghan says:

    I’m a night owl by nature, I’ve changed my habits and schedule so that I get up Monday-Friday at 5:00 AM (I try to go to sleep by 10 PM). I work out, then have an hour or so of quiet time to listen to the news, make lunches, read the paper, and get showered and ready before my kids (6 and 3) are fully up and moving about 7:15. I’ve been doing this for about a year and a half, and it makes my whole day feel better and I am much more productive.

    The last couple of weeks my husband was traveling, and I fell back into a routine of staying up late and sleeping later (6:30-7ish). I was so sluggish and unmotivated during the day. I finally realized it was because I wasn’t getting that exercise/quiet time in the morning…….it was a great reminder of why I’ve changed my habits and how much I get out of that time “before breakfast”. I’ve had many people say they’re amazed I can get up that early……but you can do anything if it’s a priority.

    • Beth says:

      This is good for me to read….I am going to try to be more consistent with being up early. 5 a.m. seems horrid to me, but if I can make myself get to bed earlier, I don’t think it will be that bad…. =) Okay, maybe not… 😉

  • Meghan says:

    I’m a night owl by nature, I’ve changed my habits and schedule so that I get up Monday-Friday at 5:00 AM (I try to go to sleep by 10 PM). I work out, then have an hour or so of quiet time to listen to the news, make lunches, read the paper, and get showered and ready before my kids (6 and 3) are fully up and moving about 7:15. I’ve been doing this for about a year and a half, and it makes my whole day feel better and I am much more productive.

    The last couple of weeks my husband was traveling, and I fell back into a routine of staying up late and sleeping later (6:30-7ish). I was so sluggish and unmotivated during the day. I finally realized it was because I wasn’t getting that exercise/quiet time in the morning…….it was a great reminder of why I’ve changed my habits and how much I get out of that time “before breakfast”. I’ve had many people say they’re amazed I can get up that early……but you can do almost anything if you make it a priority.

    • Meghan, I love this line: “You can do almost anything if you make it a priority.” So true. If someone offered to pay me $100,000 to get up at 5 a.m. I would definitely do it! So the fact that I don’t get up that early is probably more about priorities and choices than whether it’s possible or not…

  • I love the idea, but with my kids up by 6AM almost every single day, it just doesn’t work for me. Perhaps in a couple of years they will sleep in a bit more and I can get back to it…sigh.

    • Crystal says:

      Could you try getting up just 15 minutes earlier? I’ve found even waking up 15 minutes before my children get up can make a big difference:
      https://moneysavingmom.com/2012/05/how-to-find-more-time-in-your-day.html

      • Someday…right now, with the layout of our house, etc, it just seems best that I not even fight it. In fact, most days I sleep well past when the “big kids” wake up, and then I get up with the baby. It helps a TON that my husband works from home right now and gets up at 5 himself. We’ve found a rhythm that seems to work for this stage. I do hope to get back to waking up before the kids…someday!

        • Beth says:

          I used to be the same way- our old house was very old and creaky and all of the bedrooms were on one super small hallway. Whenever one of us got up, EVERYONE got up…no matter how quiet we were. It just made for super frustrating mornings and exhausted, grumpy kids. We tried to fight this for years but finally gave up. 😉 I always felt guilty because other people said you just have to get them used to it, but they never did get used to it. Now that our house is different (the bedrooms are spread apart a bit and it’s not as creaky!) my husband and I try to get up earlier before the boys and it works MUCH better! You just have to do what works best for you in this season of life. I appreciate the challenge to get up earlier, though. I am going to try to do this now that we are in a short (?) season of everyone getting up around 6:30-7 now! Who knows how long it will last, but I still want to try….such is life with babies in the house. =)

    • Emily says:

      Yeah, mine are up between 5 and 5:30. But that does mean they go to bed a little earlier too. So I find evenings to be the best time to get all of my “stuff” done.

    • Erin says:

      Same here, Susan. My kids are up by 5:45/6am… so anything earlier than that for me would be pushing it! But I do love the idea of getting up before the kids and getting some personal time in. It’s wonderful!

      • Meagan says:

        Same here, my kids normally are up at 5:30, which is also when hubby leaves for work. I tried getting up with him so I could have a few minutes of personal time before the onslaught begins but that makes me even more tired and crabby. I have “my” time during naptime and we have “couple” time after the kids go to bed (usually by 8).

    • I hear you! My kids are up at 6am everyday. It’s hard to get up before, but it has made a world of difference getting up at 5:30 each weekday and being able to take my shower and start the day with a few minutes of quiet time! I’d love to be able to have more time before they wake up, but I know that 5am is realistic for me right now as my kids are both young and I’m usually up at least once overnight with one or the other! 🙂

  • Shelly says:

    I usually wake up about an hour before the kids. So does my husband most of time. We will just lay in bed and talk or listen to the radio. It is really nice to have time with him before the kids get up. I will think about using this time for the other things you mentioned. On occasion my husband likes to sleep in and I could get quite a bit done before everyone else gets up.

  • Kara says:

    I noticed the difference in my out look for the day when I get up before our son. I got out of the habit and now its hard to get back into it. Thank goodness for my husband having to get up at 6am, for the moment that works, I may not be able to go for a morning run, but I can get schoolwork or housework that does not require much noise before our son gets up.

  • Cassi says:

    I get up at 5:30 to exercise and blog in the summers. Due to a recent surgery and my husband’s on call schedule I haven’t been able to start that routine yet but tomorrow is the day! I love being up early! I get up for a 5:30 bike ride-go about 3 miles and then come home and do a bit of writing. Because of my hectic work schedule, I was not able to continue this habit during the school year but now that I was able to give up some of my responsibility at work I will be able to continue. I hope I can get a bit more extra weight off and feel refreshed! I cannot wait to get going again!

  • Ahhh, if I could change one thing about myself it would be to be able to get up early and not feel ill. I am truly allergic to morning. My kids are 18 and 19 so I don’t need to get up at 6 am anymore, but I did it for years. I am so much more productive now that I’ve stopped fighting my internal clock. I find I have the most energy from 11 am on and especially from 7 pm to midnight. Even when my kids were young I would get so much done after they went to bed in the evening. My husband is a morning person and doesn’t need an alarm to get up at 5 or 6 am. Wish I could do the same.

    • Catherine says:

      I am the same way, I really feel quite sick when I get up early in the morning, even if I have had a full night’s sleep.

  • Tara says:

    I have always wanted to do this…its so hard. What if you just CAN’T roll out of bed? How can I motivate myself enough to REMEMBER how much better I’d feel in the morning when I’m just oh so tired?

    • Jessica says:

      Tara, I actually applied one of Crystals ideas and started setting the clock for just 15 minutes earlier for a week or two. Then bumped it another 15 minutes and so on. It has taken me a good six months to up two hours earlier then I use to but it has been so worth it.

      As for the tired feeling, your body adjusts.

      • Beth says:

        I just started doing this….I hope it will help. How long does it take? My problem is that I’ll set it ahead for 15 minutes but then one of the kids will get sick or be up through the night and so since I didn’t sleep all night, getting up is rough. Do you just get up no matter if you slept horrible and were up all night? How do you function?

        • Jessica says:

          I do get up. If I’m up a lot in the night sometimes I will set it back another 15 minutes so that when it goes off I can reset it for the original time I was going to get up.

          As for how long it takes to adjust to the tired feeling, some days will be better then others but I wanna say it was like two weeks before I stop noticing how tired I was. On bad days I just try to remind myself that I survived the day before and I will get through this day.

  • Henna-Maria says:

    Even though naturally I would stay up late and sleep in, I get so much more done if I am up early. On spring I got up at 6 every morning and it was great! I had most of the house hold chores done by 9 am plus a quiet time!

    One thing to think for the parents whose kids wake up early: Our son has always, always been a very early bird, since he was born. He would wake up at 5.30 latest. It was hard time, but remember that in that case it might be a good idea to put your kids to bed 6.30 pm or 7 pm. We realized that is he was up past 7 pm, he woke up even earlier! Try moving the bed time to an earlier hour and you get more time for yourself and for your spouse in the evening.

  • Eryn says:

    During the school year I was getting up at 4:30 am to have quiet time before my kids were getting up at 5:30. It was such a nice way to start my day, I would normally have our infant up with me, so not totally kid free. It was just so nice to sit and read or watch one of my guilty pleasure shows while I nursed her. Now that summer has come and my mornings aren’t so rushed I have stopped waking up before them, but need to get back in the habit. I have been feeling overwhelmed and I wonder if it is because I am not getting that peacefulness in the morning.

    • Eryn – my mornings often feature time with the baby too while the older kids are still sleeping. Sometimes we’ll go for a jog with the jog stroller, and sometimes we’ll sit on the back porch while I have my coffee. It’s about as relaxed as one can be…with a baby.

  • Jennifer says:

    I really like the idea of a morning date with your husband. We don’t get much time to ourselves and when the money isn’t in the budget we can’t afford a babysitter. A morning date may be perfect for us! Thank you for the idea!

    • Jennifer – You’re welcome! Any time together without the kids counts as a date. No sitter necessary.

    • Julie says:

      My husband gets up really early (4 30ish) for work 5 days a week and enjoys it, he’s the early bird type and I have (over the years) become more of an early bird myself ; as hard as it is I just LOVE the time we get to spend together. I usually get up at 5 30, which is early enough for me, and by then he gets his bible/prayer time in alone. This is such a great time to connect since (usually) our 5 and 2 year old kids have not gotten up yet with their day-to-day toddler demands, so the conversation can focus on the other things going on that are on our minds. Yes! if here is no other motivation for me to get me out of bed early, then this special “us” time always does! Then after he leaves I usually get to read my bible have prayer time until the kids get up at about 7 ish sometimes even 8. My five year old is finally starting to sleep in a little, yay!

  • I love this too, at least in theory. But it seems that no matter what time I get up, my daughter is right behind me. My husband can get up, make noise, do just about anything and she sleeps through it (not that he’s vacuuming or anything), but the moment my feet touch the floor, she’s up. It’s like she has mama radar. So like others have mentioned, I havet o use the time after she’s in bed to get things done. 🙂

    • Heather says:

      Agree. Not that I care about getting up early. But in a small house with creaky wood floors, once one person is up, others quickly follow. Our kids go to bed early, and the evenings are just great to do some of those things that others prefer to do in the morning.
      As another person mentioned, getting up too early makes me feel physically ill. I did it for years, along with going to bed early (and I was single and slept like a rock).

      • erika m says:

        I thought my little guy had mommy radar too, then I got a noisemaker from target and put it on all night…it drowns out my morning sounds and I tend to eek out another hour before he is up. Might not work, but you could try it and if it doesn’t work, return it. I carefully unwrapped mine in case I had to take it back…target’s return policy is a dream for me.

  • Kristin says:

    I go back and forth between night owl and morning person, so I struggle with sticking to a routine, but this post was a great reminder for me of just how important it is! I get up at the same time as my hubby, and usually that makes everything take twice as long, and next thing I know it’s time for work.

  • How funny! This morning, I awoke at 5:30 A.M. to buy power (yes. I said buy power). Then, I made breakfast for my husband, worked out, read, and showered. All before the children awoke. Now that I have run through my morning routine, it’s time to make the yard pretty. Let’s just hope I adjust to this schedule and don’t burn out before the end of the week.

  • It’s so good for my day when I can get a few things done before my daughter wakes. I’ve started working evenings, so this has gotten difficult. This morning’s run was worth the effort, even when I got home to a sick husband and a crying daughter.

  • I agree with this article 100% with just one small exception if you have newborns that way you up several times during the night, enjoy your rest. That said. I am often up as early as 4:30 am, and can squeeze in some blogging, some laundry, and a workout in before anyone is up, and I love it! It is so peaceful in the morning.!

  • Chelsea says:

    Although I think it’s a great idea to be productive while your children are sleeping (unless you have a newborn), your article is the exact opposite from my habits.

    My husband and I are both night owls- we always have been. No matter how early I go to bed, if I wake up too early (which is probably considered normal wake up time to most people) then I burn out very quickly. I am just not a morning person.

    My husband and daughter don’t wake up until 9 am, and I have found that I enjoy being most productive at night after my daughter is in bed (8PM), then I will go to sleep around 12 am, and then sleep in with them in the morning. I shower, blog, spend time with husband, read my bible, and do the nightly chores during that 4 hour gap at night. I exercise as part of my morning routine after my daughter wakes up.

    Many, many times, I have tried to force myself to wake up significantly earlier (like so many other super-moms I wanted to be like), but it just doesn’t work for me… and that’s okay. Please don’t get discouraged if you feel like a failure in this area like I did for a long time.

    Someday, when I have more kids or my husband works more traditional hours, I might have to get up earlier than what I’m used to. In the meantime, I’ve decided to enjoy our routine and schedules as they are because that’s simply what works for us. 🙂

    • Melissa says:

      So true. I don’t think there is a “one size fits all” in any aspect of life. We can’t compare. It sounds like this works well for you!!

    • Jill says:

      I agree with you! I have tried to be a morning person, but it simply just isn’t in me. Even after a full nights sleep, I get tired easily and crash completely by mid afternoon. I get up at 6:30am during the school year to get my son off to school, but I feel lousy until 9am or so. I have found that I get more fibro flare ups when I try to keep a super early schedule. So, I do the same as you, sleep until 8 or 9am ( during the summer months! ) and do my reading, blogging, etc. after my son goes to bed, then I go to sleep around midnight. With as much as I envy the early risers, this works better for me and my late sleeping family! 🙂

    • Erin says:

      Thank you for posting that. I totally agree. My husband and I are both night owls and he works from 10am-7pm. When he gets home if I were trying to wake up early I wouldn’t get much time with him. I try to be gentle with myself and understand that at this stage of life I don’t have to try to do it all. We have a 2.5 year old and a 7 month old. So rest is really important so I have patience and energy for my family. And thankfully I have a gym membership with an excellent nursery!

  • Donna says:

    If you don’t have to get up with a baby at night, consider trying melatonin. For the last week, I’ve taken 5mg of a time release melatonin each night.

    My natural wake up time used to be around 7:30 and I’d still dread getting out of bed. With the melatonin, I’m naturally waking up around 5:20-5:30. This morning, I woke up just before 5:00. The good thing is that when I wake up now, I feel awake. I lay there and think of all I could be doing and getting out of bed is much easier because I feel awake. And, this is happening with me turning out the light around 10 or 11 at night. Try it!

  • Melissa says:

    I’m a morning person but I can’t get up earlier that what I do. I have to leave the house by 6:15 mon-thur, to get to work until next week. I’m up by 5am to get ready, a load of wash, the night before ending dishes, water the garden (just found out in going to need 1/2 hour to do that), and prep dinner. (pull out or crock pot)
    Next week I don’t have to be in until and hour later. I planning on doing the same thing but hitting the gym everyday in the morning. I can’t wait. I need the time to get there.
    I wish I could say I do a lot at night but after 4 kids for 10 hours. I ready for bed

  • Michelle says:

    I find I really do enjoy the hour or so I’m up before the kids … and I really an productive.

    Where I’m struggling is as my older children age they stay up later … now until approximately 9 pm. So if I want to get a decent 7 hours of sleep and I want to get up at 4:30/5:00 I feel as though I’m falling into bed minutes after them!

  • Kelly Hess says:

    Completely nothing to do with that post, but that bowl of fruit looks delish! I am 34 weeks pregnant and I sure wish someone would cut that up for me in the morning! 🙂

  • Jen says:

    I think just having a set schedule can give many of these benefits. Those parents whose kids are getting up at 5:30, are probably putting them to bed at 7, otherwise they are not getting enough sleep. So use the evening time in much the same way as you would the early morning, if you can. I don’t get up early, between 7 and 8, and usually my youngest (6) is up then, but I made a summer schedule, so I can get my devotion time while she “reads” her Bible, listens to music, and prays herself (she is very into this, so it works). And then I am going to do some cleaning and take her out on her bike (where I have to chase her so she doesn’t end up in traffic, so there’ s my exercise). Just having a schedule helps me get the important stuff done rather than wasting days doing not much of anything.

  • Lisa says:

    Hmmm. I may have to consider this-even though I want to sleep in everyday. BUT the extra quiet time with the husband-maybe having breakfast together would be nice-after the kids are in bed I always have the best intentions to get a lot done, but I am tired and so is he from work and we both sit and watch TV together way to late. We should go to bed earlier and I probably could get a lot more done in the morning-I am going to try for a week and see if it helps-can’t hurt! My kids get up about 6:30/7 but even a half hour would be helpful.

    • @Lisa- I think this happens a lot, that we lose our evenings in front of the TV or internet, and next thing you know it’s way too late to get up on time. I’m trying to be better about minimizing the puttering. Easier said than done, of course. Plus, it’s so nice to have quiet me time after the kids go to bed that I just want to read and hang out!

  • mary says:

    My children are early risers also (5 am)… People can judge me if they want to, but I put on a 30 minute Curious George video in the morning so my 3 year old and 1 year old will stay in one spot and be quiet while I do my own quiet time/exercise/coffee and then we eat breakfast together as a family usually from something I’ve cooked the night before (muffins, etc).

    • @Mary- I’m amazed what one can get done during an episode of Dora. Who knew?

    • Lori says:

      No judging here 🙂 Been there, done that.

      • BUSY MOM IN AL says:

        Ha Ha! I know how you feel. I put my “littles” in front of Curious George two mornings a week so that I can vacuum my bedroom one day and clean the bathrooms on the other! I can clean two bathrooms top to bottom in 30 minutes flat! 🙂 I’ll spray one down, go to the other, spray it down and then go back to the first and give myself 15 minutes to clean it. By that time, the other bathroom is ready to be wiped and cleaned.

        They love watching the show and usually sit still. After years of saying “I just didn’t get to it today.” I can finally feel on top of the housework.

        Also, if you have an older child, give them some time reading to the little ones. This helps me have time to wash some dishes or get ready to get out the door.

  • jenna says:

    Thanks to all of you who just confirmed what I have been feeling… with a little baby, it feels downright impossible to get up earlier! My daughter gets up 1-2 times/night and I have to keep reminding myself that I need sleep in order to do my job- take care of the kiddos!

  • jenna says:

    I do miss my pre-kid morning time, but I know that one day I’ll be in a phase of life that better allows for it.

  • Amber S says:

    The key to my sanity in a busy life is getting up well before everyone else. I get up at 4:00 most mornings. Yes, I sometimes have to just force myself up, but it is so worth it. (Hint- put your alarm clock across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off- then you’re already up.) I have quiet time, get chores or homeschool lesson plans done, make breakfast, and sometimes have time to work in the yard or quilt before my family gets up at 6:00. My husband has been getting up by 5:30 so we have time to talk and pray together before the day begins. On days I don’t get up early, I feel rushed and stressed all day.

  • Jen says:

    I also have early rising kids, well 2 of the 3 are. The other is a night owl, so I don’t really even have any time in the evenings. So while I love the idea of this post, I am realizing it is not realistic for me, and honestly I don’t care. I’m enjoying my kids being little and I’ll have time for all that other stuff when they’re teenagers and don’t want to get out of bed in the morning!

  • Fay says:

    Thank you for this post. I needed it. 🙂

  • Penny says:

    I have a 20-month-old and a 3-month-old. Before my little guy came along, I loved getting up early. I actually felt more rested and less frazzled dealing with my headstrong toddler all day. Unfortunately my baby likes to get up at 4:00am to eat, so my husband has to practically drag me out of bed at 7:30 these days. I know it won’t last forever but I hate feeling so unproductive and exhausted!

    • Melissa says:

      Just keep telling yourself, it is a season! I feel like I always feel like this since I’ve either been pregnant or had a baby at most times in my life in the past 4 years. My baby is 11 months old and my oldest is 5 and this is the first time in 5 years that I haven’t either been pregnant or had a newborn (I have four kiddos ages 5 and under). =) It IS exhausting. Hang in there!

  • kat says:

    I’m in school from 7am-2pm, then work on campus as a t.a. from 3-5pm, come home to gobble down some food and sleep a few hours, then work from 10pm-6am at my other full time job. i am burned out!! 🙁 Reading your blog between classes has helped me put a lot of my hard earned income aside for my future home and i am currently debt free since i didn’t take out no student loans :).

  • Amanda C. says:

    Thank you for this post. My husband is deployed, and I have my day structured so that all my exercise, work and cleaning is done at night. It energizes me, so I’m having a hard time falling asleep. I’m going to try this.

    On a side note, does anyone have trouble falling asleep after reading their Kindle Fire? I can sleep fine after reading a REAL book, so strange!

  • Carolyn K says:

    If you’re like me, you won’t have any trouble waking up early when you hit middle age. I’m talking 3 or 4 am, and for no reason (or maybe because of hot flashes.) No small children around any more to wake me up, but I still can’t sleep late.

  • I have been really trying to work on this! It’s not easy for me, but I think it’s worth it. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  • Great advice !

    As a single mom of 4, waking up before the kids is often the only uninterupted time I have in my day. I exercise, write, shower (without someone knocking on the bathroom door constantly!), and enjoy my coffee before the chaos and busyness of everyday life kicks in.

    I used to stay up late, in an effort to have some “me” time, but quickly realized that I am just too exhausted by the end of the day to do anything productive.

    Beginning the day with some quiet time and having the opportunity to cross a few things off of my “to-do” list is a great way of motivating me for the rest of the day.

  • Jen says:

    Wow, you all have some early risers, indeed! I get up around 7:15, get my shower and get dressed and my 3-year old son is usually still asleep! Sometimes I have to wake him up. But I guess the difference is he goes to bed around 8:30 at night. Schedule works for us now.

  • SusanR says:

    Every weekday I get up at 4:45am and work out at the gym. I then shower and head home, just in time for the rest of my household to be stirring. It is easier now that my girls are 6, and it works perfectly for our schedule. But I did it when they were younger too, my husband would get up with them and start breakfast if they were cranky.

    I am so much less motivated if I don’t get my morning workout in. It is really hard to get out of bed, especially in the winter, but it is so worth it. I didn’t do it today and now I’m trying to find my motivation to either head to the basement to the elliptical or outside for a bike ride.

  • My parents rarely went out on date nights, but nearly without fail, we kids would wake up to them sitting and enjoying coffee together. They’ve been married over 40 years so I guess it was as good or better as any date night!

  • Carrie says:

    After reading these comments I realize how fortunate I am that my kids don’t wake up at some ungodly hour. LOL!

    Having a morning routine before kids has been key to my sanity. I have 6 children and am pregnant. The early hours are the only time I fully control, where nobody needs me or makes demands of my time.

    For the ones whose little people get up so early, I wonder if the answer is for mom to go to bed earlier? Could Dad help (or even do) the bedtime routine so mom can get to bed earlier and get up earlier? Even having time to shower and get dressed before they get up is better than nothing.

  • Amber says:

    I love reading all of these comments. I too feel more productive when I get up earlier than my children. Even if its at least to have my coffee and some quiet time. I would love to fit in working out too! However, recently I have taken on a new part time position teaching online in the mornings. This requires me to wake up at 5 or 530 and teach until they wake at 7-730. I do try to fit in some quiet time for 15 mins before my husband allows them to come downstairs, but its not always as much as I would like.

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