I have never been a morning person.
I’m sure getting up early works for some, if not most, people, but there are some of us that simply are not early rising people and our reasons for not getting up early vary widely.
A few days ago I ran across an article by June over at This Simple Balance called A Morning Routine for Moms Who Can’t Wake Up Early. I knew immediately that June was my tribe! It inspired me to take a look around the internet and see how many other “don’t get up early moms” are out there.
So I did a quick Google search. In the first five pages of results, I found three articles. Three…in five pages!
Clearly, we are a small tribe.
The Art of Simple has a great article 11 Strategies for a Morning Routine When You Can Not Wake Up Before the Kids.
Life Around the Coffee Cup tells us all about her morning choice in the article Why I Don’t Get Up Before My Kids in the Morning.
Kirsten Oliphant, who apparently has children who think like mine, has her own Why I Don’t Get Up Before My Kids article.
I am a night owl. My brain functions at its peak between the hours of 9 pm and midnight. That’s just the way I am wired. I have always been this way, even when I was a child.
I listened to the “wiser” people of the world tell me that in order to be a good mother and a good Christian I had to rise early and have quiet time with the Lord before my children woke up. It was that time, they said, which prepared me for the day and would help me to keep my attitude in check. Lord knows I need a healthy dose of attitude check on a daily basis.
I set my alarm for 7:00 am and hopped crawled out of bed. I made my coffee, wrapped my hands around it’s warm, eye-opening goodness, turned around and nearly tripped over my 5-year-old.
So much for quiet time.
I continued this same routine for the rest of the week and he was up with me every morning. By Friday I determined that 7 am just wasn’t early enough.
I set my alarm for 6:30 am the next week.
So did my son apparently. My daughter joined him that week as well.
At this point, I’m waving my hands at God wondering what the heck is going on. I’m trying to get my morning quiet time here! My kids never get up on their own that early, and I knew that I was being super quiet, so clearly this was His doing!
Not only was I frustrated, but my kids were cranky. They weren’t getting enough sleep and neither was I for that matter!
What To Do, What To Do!?
I threw my hands up. Literally.
I didn’t know what else to do. I was failing, and feeling guilty and miserable not only because I wasn’t able to get my quiet time in, but because getting up early was actually making the environment in our home more volatile!
I was cranky. The kids were cranky.
Not conducive to a loving, nurturing environment.
The only good thing about getting up that early was that I got more accomplished in the day. Unfortunately, quiet time wasn’t one of those accomplishments.
So I stopped getting up “early” and went back to letting my kids wake me up. They went back to sleeping until 8 am. Their attitude improved and so did mine. But there was still this underlying guilt associated with the failure to start my day as the good Christian mentors said that I must.
One day I was reading Jen Hatmaker’s A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study - which is an AMAZING book by the way. If you haven’t read it you totally should.
I’m reading this book and she is talking about committing to a specific time and place to meet daily with God in His Word. She says to choose a time that is free from distractions and is quiet and conducive to learning.
Ding, ding, ding!!
She said to choose a time, not make a time.
That was easy! Nighttime was best for me. After the kids are in bed, the house is quiet and my brain is functioning at full capacity (even if my body isn’t!).
It was a life-altering moment.
Here was a Christian mentor telling me that it was okay to NOT be a morning person. That it was okay to embrace the way that God made me. That it was okay that my best wasn’t at 6 am, but instead was at 9 pm.
What I Do Now
I am a firm believer that beginning my day with prayer is important. Having a conversation with God first thing in the morning gets my heart and mind where it should be. If I skip my morning prayer time, the day goes terribly. I am centered on me instead of on God. That’s never a good place to be.
So here’s how a typical morning runs (a.k.a. the perfect scenario, but not necessarily how it actually goes every day).
7:00 am - Nerdy’s alarm wakes me up, I just lay there hoping to go back to sleep, sometimes I even doze a bit, but I refuse to get up.
7:40 am - Nerdy tells me bye as he heads off to work.
7:45 am - I hear the kids in the living room (please note that Nerdy has been up for 45 minutes at this point and they didn’t bother him! Humph!)
8:00 am - I crawl out of bed and go find coffee. The kids are eating breakfast. I slowly sip my coffee while I check email and scroll through Facebook.
8:15 am - Get dressed, yawn a lot, have a few moments of quiet in the bathroom to pray while I get dressed and discuss my day with the Lord.
8:30 am - emerge from the bathroom semi-refreshed and ready to start the day. Make another cup of coffee.
8:45 am - morning chores for everyone.
9:00 am - school time
Does every morning go like this? Nope, not at all. Sometimes we don’t get to school until 10 am or later because we didn’t crawl out of bed until 9 (the kids do sometimes sleep in, though it’s rare).
The times may change, but the routine is pretty much the same every day.
I don’t get to actual Bible reading until later in the day when we all have a quiet time. I don’t actually study the Bible until at night after the kids are in bed.
And you know what? I don’t feel a bit guilty about it!
I have come to believe that God doesn’t expect us to adhere to some sort of “perfect” timetable. Yes, the Bible has verses that talk about getting up early, giving the first part of our day to Him, but what does that mean exactly? How does that work for the mother or father that has to work third shift? Or who is up all night with a crying baby or an aging parent who requires constant care?
So instead of telling you that you MUST get up at 5 am to be a good Christian, I say embrace who God has made you to be and the circumstances of your life right now. Give Him your best, whenever that is, whether in the early morning or the middle of the night.Give God your best, whenever that is, whether in the morning or the middle of the night. Click To Tweet
Always, always begin your day, no matter what time that is, with prayer…even if it’s a 2-minute prayer while you take a shower. That much I’m certain will change your day.
Are you a don't get up early mom? How does your routine work?