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What time should I wake up?

By: Nikki Oden

As moms, we are always on call.  Literally. In my house, I know if my kids are awake, I’ll be hearing, “Mom!” at least twenty times throughout the course of a single day.  Sometimes they call me to tattle on each other.  Other times they need help finding something and believe I have a magical honing device that can conjure lost sweatshirts, face masks or homework out of thin air.  Sometimes they’ve hurt themselves and need a kiss and a snuggle.  Most often, though, it’s to ask for a snack.

At this stage of their lives, my kids depend on me for a lot.  It’s beautiful.

And it’s exhausting.  

So naturally, like most working moms I know, one of the things I crave more than anything is time alone.

The question, however, is how do we get it with all the balls we’re juggling between the demands of our careers and the perpetual chaos of our homes?

I won’t claim I have a one-size-fits-all solution, but after enduring a ton of trial and improvement, I know what works for me.

→ Insert morning routine here. ←

I know.  It sounds kitschy and played out, but don’t knock it just yet.  With an intentional morning routine comes guaranteed “me” time.

You’re probably wondering, “what time should I wake up?” Now, let me assure you right off the bat that I am not about to tell you to wake up at 5 AM. But if you’re not currently getting time to yourself every single day, I am going to tell you to wake up earlier than you are now.

Before you click away, hear me out!

Waking up earlier doesn’t have to be painful. Promise. 

You only need 20 minutes to yourself—before everyone else in your house gets up—to “fill your cup,” so to speak. What you do in that 20 minutes is entirely up to you. Maybe it means you get to sit somewhere cozy and enjoy that first, blissful cup of stress-free coffee without anyone interrupting you.  It might mean you read that novel you’ve been wanting to dig into, or that you meditate, journal or exercise. I use that first 20 minutes to work on my biggest, hairiest, most audacious goal.

Whatever you do with that time, I strongly urge you to spend it on something you love. Something that’s just for you.

Now, if you’re shaking your head like, “Gurrrrl, I snooze three times before I make it out of bed as it is.  How am I supposed to wake up twenty minutes earlier?!”

I got you, girlfriend.

Here’s what I suggest:  start by waking up five minutes earlier.  Just five.  (You’ve got five in you, come on).

And then once you have that down, set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier.  And when you’re rocking that, move it to 15.  Eventually, you’ll get to 20 minutes like it ain’t no thing.  The best part is that you get an immediate benefit.  While you’re working your way to your goal, you’re going to get an extra five, ten or fifteen minutes in your day of guaranteed “me” time. Take a sec’ to imagine how glorious that would be.

You’re a morning routine away from making it happen.  

The “what time should I wake up” question is most easily answered by what time you go to bed. To really seal the deal, I also suggest going to bed at the same time every night (and no, that’s not code for, “Go to bed at 8 PM”).

My go-to bedtime is 10 PM.  To help me stay on track, I use the “Sleep | Wake Up” tool in the Alarm section of the built-in Clock app on my iPhone. Going to bed at the same time every night solidifies my routine in the morning, and allows me to get seven and a half hours of sleep before I’m up at 6:00 AM to enjoy the peace, quiet and productivity that comes with the stillness of my household at that hour.  I’ve worked my way up to a sixty-minute morning routine which, in addition to allowing me to work on my BHAGs, gives me time to meditate, journal and pray.

Try it this week.  Decide what you would do with guaranteed alone time.  Visualize how your life would improve—both personally and professionally—if you got that time to yourself every single day.  Then set your alarm for five minutes earlier than it is now (or twenty if you’re feeling robust) and start going to sleep at the same time every night.  Remember that it’s OK to start small, but start.

You got this, mama!

Nikki Oden is the founder of Your Ideal Mom Life and host of the Love Your Mom Life podcast. She teaches working moms how to own their day and crush their goalswithout the mom guilt. She is also a lawyer, a happy wife, mom of two and creator of the Super Mom Starter Guide. Download it for FREE to learn the three things all moms who are rocking it know!

Looking for more morning tips for working moms? Read …

Bobbie’s Tips: How to Make Mornings Easier as a Working Mom

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