The Crack Of Dawn

the-crack-of-dawnAbout 5:45 every morning, including Saturday and Sunday, the vibrating alarm on my watch starts buzzing. Often waking me from a state of total unconsciousness, I begin furiously tapping on my watch to make it stop. No worries though, I have a second alarm set for 7 minutes later… and third alarm set for seven minutes after that. Outside of the rare occasion where I manage to snooze through all three alarms, I will be up and out of bed by 6:00 AM every morning of the week. And while this certainly isn’t an ideal arrangement for me, it is the only way I get through my daily, often growing, to do list.

If you’re an overworked, over scheduled mom (and let’s face it, that’s all of us) you’ve probably found yourself becoming more and more acquainted with a time of day affectionately referred to as “the crack of dawn”. You know the time I’m talking about. That time in the early morning when no one should be awake, but so many of us are because we need more hours in the day and this is the only time we can steal them from. Take heart my fellow early morning risers – you are in very good company.

These precious hours in the morning, the hours before the rest of my household is awake, are often the only “free” moments I will have all to myself for the rest of the day. Whether it’s grading papers, working out, folding laundry, doing dishes, or even knocking out my weekly grocery shopping at 6:30 AM on Sunday, if it’s going to happen, this is when it’s getting done.

I absolutely love my children. And because of that, I want the time I have with them to be quality time. I don’t want to just sit them in front of the TV or the iPad while I’m on my laptop working, although admittedly, that happens from time to time. I want to be with them, not just in the same room with them. But since I work primarily out of my house, accomplishing that becomes a bit of a challenge. On top of that, I have my household responsibilities as well. Try loading a dish washer or folding laundry with the help of an adventurous two year old. What should take twenty minutes takes hours! And the last time I took both my children to the grocery store to pick up more than a few items, I believe we all left in tears with no groceries. Let’s be honest, there are just some things moms need to do alone.

But as busy moms, where can we carve out some time? As more of a night owl, I originally tried setting aside time for these tasks after my kids went to bed. The problem with that was by the time 9:00 PM rolled around, I was exhausted! The only thing I had the energy to do was sit on my couch and stare blankly at the television. And while that was relaxing, it wasn’t terribly productive. So I started getting up earlier. If I’m out of bed and working by 6:00 AM every day, I’m guaranteed two hours of uninterrupted time, before my kids wake up. And on weekends, even longer. While it took some adjusting to, this has become one my favorite parts of the day. I get to actually sip my coffee instead of chugging it before someone knocks it over. I can turn on the TV for background noise and get caught up on some shows on my DVR. By the time my kids wake up, I’ve gotten many of my work logistics taken care of, so now we can just hang out and enjoy our day.

So if you’re like so many of us moms and you just need a few more hours here and there to get it all done, try getting up a little earlier. It works. My only caveat is that you’ll probably find yourself having to go to bed a bit earlier as well, as we all know there’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep.

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About This Blogger

Jen Gehring

When she’s not managing political campaigns or teaching law classes, Jen Gehring enjoys spending time with her family, including her two young children. A fashionista and recovering-perfectionist, this busy working mom uses her precious seconds of free time to run, sip wine, and escape into reality television. She’s been a freelance writer for the last five years.