Many aspects of life change after becoming a parent. The freedom to manage our time is one significant change.
Many parents find themselves mourning this lack of personal freedom. Amidst the joy of new motherhood/fatherhood, the realization that our time and how we spend it will be largely dictated by the needs of someone else can be a challenging adjustment to cope with.
Once children (and, thus, parents) can sleep through the night, one simple idea can reintroduce the concept of personal time for parents. While quite simple, it may not be easy, but it’s benefits are numerous.
If you’d like more time to do with what you wish, to work on your personal goals, to get things done so you no longer feel like you’re drowning, to simply drink a cup of coffee in peace… wake up first. Simply be the first person in your family awaken every morning, preferably by a long shot.
Making the effort, whatever that means for you—setting an early alarm, laying out your clothes the night before, removing digital devices from your bedroom, getting to bed early each night—can be well worth it when you experience the benefit of solo time in the morning.
One way to motivate yourself to always be the first one up is to make your morning as delightful as possible. Do what brings you joy or satisfaction during those precious hours you’ve set aside for yourself. You’ll find yourself looking forward to this time each day and doing what it takes to make sure you don’t sleep through it.
What makes your morning a delight will, obviously, be unique to you. Perhaps you dream of working on a long-term project, uninterrupted. Perhaps sipping coffee on your porch as the sun comes up would be the perfect way to start the day. Maybe being able to work out or even get ahead on house chores would go a long way in starting the day on the right foot. It’s up to you.
When you allow yourself time that is free, uninterrupted, and all yours, you’ll nourish yourself in a way that may make you happier and more effective as a parent.
As every parent knows, life will get in the way from time to time. Aim to experience your morning as often as possible, but expect it to be derailed by sick children, family or work obligations, a poor night’s sleep, or even (gasp!) another family member waking unusually early one day.
Being the first one up the majority of your days is a simple way to enjoy this parent life even more. Give it a try!