To the Mama of Early Risers

Good morning, mama.

You double-check the video monitor to be sure, but no, your ears are not deceiving you. They're awake.

Brother is awake. Sister is awake. Baby is awake.

Everyone but you. You stretch and roll over - can't you catch just a few minutes more of sleep, please? - but you know that it is futile. The time on the clock reads an hour that you rarely saw before kids, but is now your new normal. You were hoping that maaaybe today they'd forget to wake up for another hour or so. It's been so long since you've had a full night's sleep, much less woken up on your own. Most of your daydreams now revolve around a night in a hotel. ALONE. Clean sheets, fluffy pillows, and quiet.

It's hard. You're so tired. Your body is sore and ache-y from never getting a proper amount of uninterrupted rest. Your cloudy mind tries to mentally prepare for what should be the simplest of tasks: throw back the covers, roll out of bed.

Why is your bed always it's coziest at six in the morning?

Sometimes it seems so unfair. The fact that your kids,  yes, all of them, wake up so early. Earlier than any of your friend's kids. They don't quite understand. Just the other day one of your good friends complained about their baby waking up "sooo early". Which was at 6:45. That day, like many days, you'd been awake since 5:30. You managed not to punch her. You are friends, after all.

This is maybe the toughest thing you will ever do. Looking at the long stretch of another day at this early morning hour. Talking yourself into getting out of bed in the morning can be quite the mental chore.  On your worst days, you start the countdown until 5:00 - daddy's home! - before 8:00 am.

It might not be fair, but it is your reality, so you do throw those covers back. Contacts in, a splash of water on your face. Do you have enough time for a whole shower? Or maybe it's another dry-shampoo-will-do kind of day. Dab of makeup. Exchange your nighttime pajamas for what is basically a daytime set. Thank goodness for leggings. At least athleisure is a thing now.

Small blessing that this morning there were no potty emergencies or tantrums that demanded your attention before you were even awake. No pressing needs. But that's just the thing, isn't it? How much they NEED you right now. So many little, little ones. Too many, it sometimes seems. Who need you for ALL the things. To get their food, change their clothes, wipe their bottoms, plan their activities, clean up their messes. It's exhausting. Especially when, most nights, you're still up with the baby a couple of times. Maybe a toddler a time or two, with a nightmare or help on the potty.  You know this is important work, you do. You're just not so sure that the people telling you to "enjoy it because it all goes so fast!" remember what a luxury their very own quiet bedrooms at 6 am are.

And yet.

This is a season. I mean, it remains to be proven, but you do hear that these little ones grow up. They start to fend for themselves more and more. They don't need so much help on the potty. They can pour their own bowls of cereal.  Even better: maybe you can train them to make your coffee.  Maybe - miracle of miracles - they start to sleep in a little bit. You're not sure that you'll ever mourn the passing of these early mornings, that

can't come soon enough. But their littleness? That you will miss. A snuggly baby. Toddlers still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, blankie trailing behind, and a sleepy, "hi mommy!". Footie pajamas...what screams "baby" more than that?!? Yes, you will definitely miss the footie pajamas.

But that day is not today. Today still requires you to focus, to be present, to do all of the things. You're still quite surrounded by toy blocks, sticky fingerprints, and, yes, footie pajamas.  

A pause at the door, a breath.  It's the beginning of the day, so (in theory, at least) your reserves of patience, gentleness, and kindness should all be full. You wing up a quick prayer - HELP will suffice - and move forward to greet your little ones for the day.

And hey, maybe it's not too soon to train them in on how to prep that coffee.