My mom always got up before the sun. In fact, I can’t remember a single day as a kid that I went downstairs to find mom still in bed. Most days, she’d been up for hours. By the time I bellied up to the kitchen island for my bowl of cereal, she’d already read her Bible, unloaded the dishwasher, folded two loads of clothes, sent three emails, played a game of Spider Solitaire, mentally planned her next home project, and downed four cups of coffee.
Despite eye rolls from us kids, she’d bounce around from task to task and chant, “Energy produces energy!” Mom gave that Proverbs 31 woman a serious run for her money.
Even now, although 20+ years my senior, Mom is a beast. My husband has fondly named her “Janine the Machine.” She comes to visit and makes our home sparkle in under an hour—a task that generally takes me an entire Saturday.
I’ve come to grips with fact that I’ll never have quite the natural energy and drive that seems to pump through my mom’s veins. God made me more laid back, and I’m okay with that. However, I am starting to think Mom wasn’t completely off base with this whole “getting up early” thing.
You see, I’m not a morning person—but I am an introvert. My mind, body, and soul require a certain amount of alone time to be a decent human. However, I’m a young mom with four boys under age seven, so to say my days are loud and long and action-packed is an understatement. Both “quiet” and “alone” seem like novelties.
But I’ve come to realize that self-care is essential.
So taking a page out of Mom’s playbook, I’ve started getting up at 5:30 each morning. While reluctant at first, I’ve come to love it. By beating the sun out of bed, I get to enjoy somewhere between 30 to 60 minutes of solitude. I drink coffee and read; I write and reflect. I soak in the quiet and make space for God to speak. Sometimes I even get a lunch or two packed before I hear the boys’ footsteps upstairs.
This simple practice of getting up early has changed how I do motherhood. I don’t start the day rushed and panicked and inevitably crabby. Instead, my heart is full and refreshed. I am awake and ready to embrace the day. My boys come downstairs to find a mom who greets them with cup of coffee and a smile, instead of one who rolls over wishing for ten more minutes of sleep.
While the kid in me kind of hates to admit it, Mom had it right. Energy does indeed produce energy, and quiet lends itself to calm. I may never have six loads of laundry done before dawn, but thanks to my Mom’s example, these early mornings might just help me escape these young mom years with my head and heart intact.