Menu Close

The 5 a.m. Experiment

photo credit: markus spiske via photopin cc
photo credit: markus spiske

A few weeks ago, I embarked on an experiment that I so creatively dubbed, “The 5 a.m. Experiment.” The idea is just barely more creative than the name.

Levi, my 17 month old, is an early riser. You can bet that if the kid isn’t up by 6:15 he’s sick or going through a growth spurt because that kid likes to be up before the sun. He gets it from me since I consider myself a morning person. It wasn’t until I had kids, though, that I realized I’m not so much a morning person as much as I am a person who hates being woken up unless it’s by my own doing.

If I have a good reason to be awake and it’s my choice, I don’t mind my alarm going off telling me it’s time to start the day. I’m actually quite chipper and pleasant because it was my doing.

I do not, however, enjoy being woken up by my husband coming home or a loud noise outside or my son deciding it’s time play. Especially considering that about half the time when he wakes up, he also wakes up Lillian, and she is also not one who enjoys being woken up unless it was her idea.

I realized that since my kids were becoming my alarm clock, I was getting cranky. Really cranky. Like, “Here’s your milk, here’s breakfast, please don’t talk to me for an hour” kind of cranky. I didn’t like them, didn’t want to be around them, I just wanted to go back to bed.

Well that’s not a real great way to start one’s day, now is it?

So I decided to start waking up at 5 a.m. on my own. I would wake up, drink some coffee, check all the social medias, and then work on my book before Levi woke up. Theoretically, if I was up of my own accord I’d have a better attitude when my kids were up because I had some me time in the quiet stillness of my apartment.

And you know what?

It worked.

Suddenly I found myself enjoying my children more. I enjoyed snuggling with them as we watched Sesame Street in the morning. I was more apt to play with them and do fun things with them because I didn’t wake up ticked off.

There’s been a few snags as there are with any plan. Levi was waking up even earlier–one morning at 4:45–and those days I kept telling Luke, “I can’t get up any earlier. I can’t get up at 4 a.m. That’s just madness.”

Luckily, it seems like he’s returning to his old schedule and I am once again enjoying my coffee and getting some work done as as Toni Hammer the writer and social media addict before truly starting my day as Toni Hammer the surprisingly happy mom.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

8 thoughts on “The 5 a.m. Experiment

  1. Christy Landefeld

    I’ve been saying I am going to do this for a couple of weeks now. I am by far the most productive first thing in the morning. However, I have a bad habit of staying up way too late and therefore am quite reluctant to rise earlier than absolutely necessary to get Emy ready for preschool. You have inspired me to make another attempt. It will be creatively called, “The 6AM Experiment.”

  2. Jaime

    This sounds nice. And I would totally do it, except my twins keep waking anywhere from 5am onward. Or 3am some nights lately. Well, one twin does…the other sleeps like a dream. And then theres the whole two older kiddos that leave starting at 6:30am for school. I would literally have to get up at 4am, and I MIGHT be inclined to attempt such a feat, but it’s the getting to bed early enough part I can’t seem to manage! Ya know, homework with my oldest and chores and stuff. I do agree though, I like waking on my own versus being jolted awake when I really want to still be sleeping. I might try this again in a year or two…;)

  3. Dakota

    It’s funny you post this… I was reading over on another blog some ideas for self-care, and one of them is getting up before your kids. I love the idea, don’t get me wrong (I’m totally a morning person, unless, as you say, it isn’t my idea), but Elf has got to sleep through the night more consistently for me to brave getting up this early. You’re brave!

  4. Toni Hammer

    I couldn’t be doing this before my kids were sleeping through the night. When you’re still waking up every couple of hours in the middle of the night, you sleep for AS LONG AS YOU CAN.

  5. Toni Hammer

    I totally get it. I’m enjoying this time now since I know in a couple years when they start school it’s going to be a whole different ball game.

  6. Toni Hammer

    Hahaha! I love you, Christy! Lemme know how it goes.

  7. lisa

    my boy was an early riser until he turned 4 – now he graciously sleeps until 6:30 most days…once he slept until 7! but, due to medical issues, my younger son still gets overnight bottles and my shift is the 4:30am one. i get up 5 days a week and give him his bottle then get everything ready for the day. and although i am an exhausted mess by friday evening, i love the quiet time i have to my self in the morning (especially in the shower, without someone constantly opening the door to check and see if i’m “all done yet”!)

    my hubs complains of the chaos he awakes to each morning and i’ve reminded him that getting up BEFORE the kids is the only answer.

  8. Victoria

    My kidos tend to wake between 6-7am. So on weekdays I get up at 6, get myself washed and dressed etc, have a coffee and make the packed lunches for school, so when they get up im ready to just help get them ready for school. It makes mornings so much easier as before I started doing this they would use the time I spent getting dressed etc to fight and demolish the house and inevitably make us late every day. Im totally all for the waking before the kids idea

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.