One day, and I think my kids were 9, 7 and 2 at this point, I was reading Proverbs 31 in part admiration, part irritation (yeah, but she had servants!) when it hit me that this woman was up before the rest of her family. “She rises while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” (Proverbs 31:15) She was up and preparing for her family, which in those times revolved a lot around food. (I live in the South, and that still holds true to a large degree!) I decided that I would try as an experiment setting my alarm for 15 minutes before my earliest riser, Emma, awoke on a normal day. So, alarm set for 6 am and I began to groan my way out of bed to the coffee pot and begin my day as the earliest riser. At first it was hard, because I was just so accustomed to hitting snooze and sleeping in till I had to get up. But after a week or so, I began to see the pay off. You can accomplish so much more in 15 minutes without children around than you can in 45 minutes with them! And in reality that 15 minutes of sleep wasn’t really giving me that much more rest.
Here’s what I discovered could be accomplished in 15 minutes of peace and quiet: fully awake mama to greet waking children, coffee already made and one cup consumed, five minutes praying for my day, aware of what the day has in store because of checking my day planner including prep for dinner, one load of laundry started and lunches packed for school. As they got older and I began working more, I exchanged “lunches packed” for “dishwasher unloaded” and added Jesus Calling in with my prayer time. The double bonus was with all that done, I could actually visit with my kids while they ate breakfast instead of scurrying around trying to multi-task. What could you do in 15 minutes of quiet that would make your day run smoother?
As I have been in this system for several years now, I’ll tell you I do not rise early on weekends if I can help it because I do really love sleeping in. So on Saturdays currently I sleep till I’m ready to get up, unless we have a commitment. This helps me care for myself and catch up on sleep I may have missed during the week. Obviously, this is a system you need to wait to use until babies are a bit older and sleeping through the night mainly. For my family, the blessing of mom rising earlier than the rest to begin our day has been huge. I would love to hear what you accomplish in your 15 minutes and what blessings you notice for yourself or kids by trying this idea!