There’s nothing quite like the excitement surrounding a pregnancy. The joy of knowing you are growing a tiny human who will soon join your family. The anticipation that grows with the baby, presenting itself as pure excitement and pure fear. Many moms wait several weeks before announcing this news to the world and thus allowing the world to weigh in. The announcement is made and now you are fair game for an onslaught of comments, questions and suggestions.
I waited awhile to announce my pregnancy to family and friends. I hoped less time would fend off some of the inevitable onslaught. I still received a ton of advice from others but when my precious bundle arrived I forgot most of it and turned to google and new mom groups for feedback on my most current and pressing situations. There are so many resources available for new moms, so I decided to simply seek out the advice I needed as situations arose.
However, the best advice I received was not advice I sought out on my own. One day I was at the park with my two boys, 1 month and 20 months. I was exhausted and reeling in the world of “What have I done to myself?” when I started a conversation with another mom in my neighborhood. At that time she had one daughter and she looked at me and said, “The most important thing I do for myself is to always wake up before my daughter.” I nodded at her and thought, “Easier said than done.”
You see, I had two boys under two. My younger son slept okay at night but never slept more than thirty minutes all day long. Twelve to fourteen hours of every day were spent with someone awake who needed all of my attention and this mom had the audacity to tell me how important it was to make sure I forgo any extra sleep just to make sure I had some time to myself. I decided she knew not of what she spoke and dismissed her comment as outlandish and unreachable.
However, as we got into a groove around our house, I started setting my alarm clock. I stopped waking up to cries or talking from a crib and I CHOSE to wake up to an alarm. Some days I had plans to meet other moms for a run. Some days I would sip a cup of coffee and spend twenty to thirty minutes with a book. Some mornings I would tie up loose ends around the house or finish up a project I had started. Ultimately, I discovered it really did not matter how I spent those thirty to sixty minutes in the morning. I quickly learned that when I chose to wake up in the morning to an alarm set at a certain time I was starting the day on the right foot. I may be taking thirty minutes from my already limited sleep but the benefits made it justifiable. Waking up before my kids each day allows me to be me before I am mom. In my thirty to sixty minutes I have to myself I am able to accomplish something that is important to me and prepare myself to face the day ahead with the unpredictability of toddlers.
Incorporating this advice into my everyday life has made me a better, more patient mom for my boys. While sleep may arguably be the most valuable asset to any mom of little ones, I challenge you to decide if you can give up just thirty minutes of that precious sleep to wake up before your littles each day. Each morning, give yourself the gift of just being you. I would almost guarantee you are better for it and you won’t even miss those extra minutes in the bed.