You know how there are a million and one articles extolling the virtues of moms getting up early?
Well I have one thing to say to the early-morning-rising moms of the world: I’m calling your crap.
Because do you know what happens every single time I try to get up early and have the most productive morning of all time? The mornings when I plan ahead and program the coffee maker, and write out my to do list and, heck, even line up my exercise clothes so I can’t use the excuse that it’s too hard to find them in the morning?
Someone is bound to wake up, that’s what.
I used to think it was a fluke, a chuckle-worthy coincidence, but no more. After seven solid years of parenting and seven years of consistent examples of all four of my children constantly thwarting my efforts, I now know better — my kids are out to get me.
They can sense when I have a moment of ambition, a surge of creative energy or a deadline that doesn’t involve the excitement of a full-body blown-out diaper three minutes before school pickup time. It’s like somehow the glee I am trying to suppress in my body as I giddily tiptoe past their bedrooms in my mission to make it to my office radiates so intensely that it wakes them all up instantly.
It’s absurd when you think about it, how often my efforts to get up before my kids and join the cool moms’ club of actually getting dressed in the morning have gone awry. And the varying methods my children use to ruin my mornings are almost so perfectly crafted I can’t help but offer up a begrudging nod of respect to them.
1. The “Wait until mom’s butt hits the chair” method
This one’s a favorite of mine because I fall for it every time. Employing this method requires that one or more of my children waits until I have completed the breathless tiptoe past their bedrooms in the morning, brushed my teeth and thrown on my glasses, brewed a pot of coffee, started up the computer and then, just when my butt is millimeters away from my chair and I am inhaling that first delicious scent of freedom, wakes up with a shrill cry. Damn, those kids are good.
2. The “Wake up two seconds before mom’s alarm goes off” method
I enjoyed relishing this particular evil genius method a few mornings ago, when I set my alarm for two hours early, planning to cook up a hearty breakfast and get a head start on some work. So you can imagine my dismay when my 4-month-old woke mere minutes before my alarm was set to go off — and then proceeded to linger over her breakfast of champions at my boobs for the duration of my planned alone time. Baby: 1, Mom: 0.
3. The “Let’s take shifts” method
Oh, man, we all know this one, don’t we? It begins with a few signs of brewing trouble at bedtime, when the kids will warn you what lies ahead. And then, slowly but surely, they will wake one after another, like the dutiful soldiers of sleeplessness that they are. As soon as you tuck one in and lay your weary head down, the next one pops up until you are but a sad shell of your formerly motivated self.
4. The “Breast or bust” method
The rare occasion that I am able to successfully outsmart my children and make it awake before them without anyone awakening is also the same time that the baby will choose to sleep through the night, making my “alone” time also excruciatingly painful and slightly messy when I start leaking through my bathrobe. Instead of drinking up my coffee in blissful silence, I am instead reduced to wishing the baby would wake up so I could get some relief already.
Someday, I will learn how to outsmart my own children, but until then, my friends, you will find me surrounded in the not-ever-peaceful slumber of defeated motherhood. Sweet dreams.