I never set an alarm as a child. We were the type of family that woke up early, ate breakfast and got to work — playing outside, reading, chores. It all started when the sun rose, or sooner
In college, I took 8am classes, even on Friday mornings. I worked the early shift on the weekends. When my friends and I went on vacation, we never slept in; we took advantage of every daylight moment.
It is fair to say, then, that I am a morning person. I enjoy being up before everyone else, the quiet moments, the hot cup of coffee. The sense that I am able to conquer whatever lies ahead of me that day. Morning time makes my world go ‘round.
Or at least….it used to.
About three months ago, we switched our almost-three-year-old to a toddler bed. He has been a champ of a sleeper since he was nearly three months old. He was reliable, dependable. I knew I could count on him to wake up AFTER I finished my morning routine, giving me those precious minutes to myself I desperately desire.
But that’s the thing about kids. Just when you think you have them boxed in, schedule determined, a switch flips. Braden started waking up at 4:30am, coming to our room to announce he had “a good nap” and was ready to take on the world. That should have made me happy — my son, following in my early-riser footsteps — but it was deceptive. He really needed more sleep, and an hour or so later, the emotional rollercoaster kicked in: sobbing, clinging to my leg, tantrums.
How could I possibly enjoy the morning when this child of mine was intent on taking it over?
The last several weeks have been trying. My husband is very present as we start our day, providing breakfast, clothing and diaper changes, and occasionally a round of cartoons. It gives me a few minutes to take a shower and find some clean clothes, but little else can be done once Braden is aware of my presence.
If he followed my every move with interest and joy, I’m sure I’d feel differently. This stage though, has my son crying over all the things and ensuring I am aware of his distress. It causes me to be short with him and everyone else around me, all of which makes me frustrated with myself
So as it turns out, I can’t stand mornings. At least not right now.
There are the ones, albeit few and far between, that serve as a reminder of what will be. The mornings when Braden sleeps until 5:30 and I enjoy the stillness, the quiet. The days when we all snuggle on the couch, reading a book and eating bacon for breakfast. Those early hours that allow me to put this all in perspective.
Until the next 4:30 am wake-up call.