The Secret to Being a Happy Mom

For years I woke up angry.

On good days, I was just resentful, but most days I got out of bed highly irritated. This was because my wake up call came in the form of two cute little boys.

Here they are in all of their chubby cuteness (2015)

My kids are five and six now, but in the early years, I would sleep for as long as I could and wake up when they woke me up. My boys are naturally early risers so my day would often start at 5:30 or sooner. For years, me and my grumpy-mommy face would greet the boys in the morning, setting the tone for an exasperating morning.

Then one day, I decided to set an alarm, trading precious sleep for a few minutes to myself before the boys were up. This was tricky in the beginning because my kids weren’t one hundred percent predictable with their wake times, but I was able to snatch 10 to 15 minutes to myself most mornings.

And I noticed something: on the days I woke up before the kids, I was a much happier mommy. I was able to greet the boys with a smile and a hug, setting the tone for a smoother morning. I was able to take care of some of my basic needs before tending to theirs, thus cutting down on my resentment. On really great days, I got to finish an entire cup of coffee before getting the boys out of their room, which felt a little like winning the lottery.

When my oldest turned four and could recognize numbers, we put a digital clock in their room with strict instructions not to come into the living room until the first number said “6.” Having this predictable time for them was a game changer for me, and I got greedier and greedier with my alone time! Now I try to get up close to five so I can have a whole hour to myself, to drink my coffee, read my Bible, write in my journal, and squeeze in a little work out.

As it turns out, the secret to being a happy mom is to wake up before your kids.

Please hear me, though: you do not need to be a crazy person and get up at five. And I understand that this is not the best advice for every season (there was a long time when my one year old would wake between 4 and 4:30 AM for the day, no matter what I tried!) But if it’s possible, try waking up at least ten minutes before your kids do. (An “OK to Wake” toddler clock might help with this.) You will be amazed at what a difference it makes!

What about you? What does your morning routine look like? What do you love to do before your kids are up for the day? Let me know in the comments!

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

6 thoughts on “The Secret to Being a Happy Mom

  1. Yes!! I recently made the same discovery! Giving time for the Holy Spirit and the caffeine to get to work on me before the kids wake up has my heart and head in a much better place to “mama” in love with purpose! Great message.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never mastered the getting up very early thing, but the best advice I ever got as a parent is: it isn’t “nap time,” it is “quiet time.” My sanity was saved by “quiet time”on many a long summer day. My children are now grown, but telling kids even at 12 years old that everyone was going to their rooms for an hour is a life (and mind) saver.


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