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Some parents roll out of bed perky and ready to tackle the day. I am not one of those parents. Most mornings I roll out of bed squinty eyed, cursing at the alarm clock, and praying someday they invent a patch that infuses us with caffeine as we sleep. I, like many of us, was a night owl before I became a parent. Unfortunately my body never adjusted to the idea that kids like to be up in the daytime, so now my brain still thinks I’m a night owl and I’m stuck being an exhausted parent each morning. In short: it sucks. But it used to suck worse. I’ve come up with 5 strategies that make mornings better for me and my little early birds…and it really has made all the difference.
5 Strategies To Help Night Owl Moms Who Have Early Bird Kiddo’s
My kids never got the night owl memo. They wake up perky, bright-eyed, and loud. Oh, oh so loud. And while I always tell myself as I go to bed at night that the next day will be better, most of the time being so groggy leaves me in a foul mood and I have to work Really hard not to take that out on my kids. It’s not their fault that mama’s a night owl while they’re early birds.
So they come bounding into the room and I smile. My eyes are closed, my brain is shut off, but I smile. “Mama!”
“Hi babies. Did you sleep well?” Though, let’s be honest, it sounds more like, Hmm seebs mmmsleep?
Luckily my kids speak groggy mom.
“I want pancakes,” one says, whilst bouncing on my stomach.
“Eggs,” says the other before they tackle each other and I get a swift kick to the snout.
That wakes me up.
I lick my overly-dry lips, focus in on their cherub faces, and smile again. “Okay, let’s go.”
And they’re off.
Even though our brain schedules are vastly different, over the years I’ve developed some pretty solid strategies for dealing with my little birdies without going insane:
1. Automatic coffee pot: This is a night owl parent’s best friend. Seriously, I know what time my kids are going to wake up every single stinking day, so having the coffee already brewed helps me get on board with their perkiness a lot faster.
2. Freeze Ahead breakfast: I would not trust myself to mix and measure early in the morning, so I plan ahead by making homemade freeze ahead breakfasts that I know they’ll love. A couple of minutes in the microwave and it’s as good as new.
3. Playroom: Instead of a toy room, my kids have a playroom with stations that have different activities they can do mostly on their own. I’m able to sit in a chair in there, chug my coffee, and perk up a bit while they craft, color, or play pretend.
4. Mrs. Maddy: For three hours each weekday, my kids go to our neighbor’s house. She’s an older widow who feeds them cookies and tea. I’m pretty sure they watch her ‘stories’ with her, but she likes the company and my husband does all the handiwork in exchange, so I figure it’s a win/win. I use this time to either sleep a little longer, or clean, or just enjoy some me time.
5. Quiet time: My kids are at a point where they no longer believe in the magic of naps, so instead we do ‘quiet time’. They don’t have to sleep, but for one blessed hour a day they rest in the room with me and listen to quiet music. It’s not as relaxing as a nap, but it does give us some time to recharge our batteries.
Usually by the time quiet time is over (right after lunch), I’m fully charged and ready to go. And so are they. We spend the rest of our day active, playing, going on outings, reading books, working on chores, and all the other fun stuff littles who aren’t quiet in kindergarten love to do.
One of the best things any SAHM can do is make sure she’s taking care of herself as well as her family. I see too many of my friends with vacant looks behind their overly exhausted eyes and that’s not okay. We all feel like we aren’t doing enough, but most of the time we’re actually extending ourselves to the point that life is miserable for everyone. Why do we do that?
I know my strategies aren’t for everyone, but realizing I truly couldn’t do it all and setting up strategies to help me through the rough patches has made all the difference in my family. I hope it can make a difference in your family, too!