Did you know there's a special club that tons of parents belong to? This isn’t one of those super exclusive memberships with long waiting lists. Oh, no. No one is itching and clawing their way into this not-so-secret society. There definitely aren’t any cool perks or benefits, but if you drew the unlucky parenting straw of birthing an early riser, welcome!
With our matching heavy eyes, all us members know the real struggle of having little ones who decide it’s time to party long before our bodies are ready to wake. Just to clarify, I’m not talking "ass-crack of dawn" early. I wish! I’m talking "people are still out from the night before" early. It’s dark outside. The moon is sitting high and bright in the sky. The birds are still sleeping.
It's misery at its finest.
If you’re left wondering whether or not you have an affiliation to this association, here are 8 signs you may be the parent of an early riser:
1. You aren’t granted the luxury of waking up to an alarm clock, beautiful sounds of birds chirping or the pleasant feeling of your body naturally coming to consciousness of its own free will.
You’re startled out of a dead sleep by tiny humans crawling, jumping and bouncing on you while screaming, “It’s time to get up!” You’re anxiously awaiting the day when your little ones can be unsupervised in their morning rituals, pour their own cereal and milk, and operate the remote. One day.
2. Extreme desperation sinks in when trying to convince your little ones to go back to bed. Bribes, in all forms, become serious negotiating tools.
Extra screen time, cupcakes for breakfast, new toys. It’s amazing the stuff you’ll come up with that’ll grant you a few more moments of shut-eye. Coming from experience, promising them a trip to the zoo is well worth that extra hour of sleep.
3. In those horrible sleepy beginning moments of your day, TV is a crucial instrument to distract your little ones while you suck down your cup of coffee.
You definitely are thankful to live in a world that appreciates children’s programming at all hours. When we were young, our only viewing options were infomercials trying to sell us a vacuum.
They’re on their third breakfast by 9 a.m., which sometimes serves as lunch, and end up starving for dinner around 3 p.m.
4. Caffeine in any form is permanently attached to your hand and in constant consumption all throughout the day.
Coffee, Monster, Red Bull, soda: Whatever will trick your body into thinking it’s awake, is what’s on tap. Your Starbucks habit might’ve gotten so out of control, you logistically rotate between locations in hopes of preventing the baristas from labeling you as "that crazy mom in the minivan full of screaming kids."
5. You’re out in the world while everyone else is starting to wake up.
As the sun begins to rise, your children have been up for hours and you most likely find yourself at the park. It’s nice the kids have their pick of equipment, but because no one is there, you serve as their primary playmate as every other child loves their parents enough to sleep in.
6. You can also be found kicking ass, accomplishing those errands while morning mist and dew is settling in.
On the plus side, nothing is ever busy. Premium parking spots, no lines and lack of people are all appreciated. The downside? Besides the employees, you and your clan are the only occupants at a store, creating ideal acoustics for your kids’ screaming which can be heard echoing all throughout the store.
7. Your children don’t follow the same timeline as the rest of society.
They’re on their third breakfast by 9 a.m. ,which sometimes serves as lunch, and end up starving for dinner around 3 p.m. Nap times are early AF, meaning you can find them dozing off around 11 a.m., sometimes earlier. Early to wake is early to bed with bath and bedtime prepping commencing after lunch.
This seriously interferes with a world where activities, playdates and any other fun event starts around their nap and bed times and thus their crashing period. If you try and push them through you’ll have over-tired monsters on your hands. If you opt out, you're that lame family who does nothing.
8. Fall daylight saving time is undoubtedly the worst thing ever.
Until your little darling adjusts to the time change, he or she will be waking up an hour earlier than the already uncivilized time they decide to start the day. It’s horrible on so many levels and leaves you wondering what you did to deserve this suffering. All you can do is hope for spring daylight saving time to correct this injustice.
Some kids just wake up early. It is what it is. It doesn’t matter what you try whether it’s blackout shades, white noise machines, fans or manipulating their bed and nap times. My husband and I have learned to accept that our boys have an internal clock and regardless of when they lay their head at night, they’re up at 5 a.m. ... if we're lucky.
Before having kids, I considered myself a morning person. Now? I have a completely different understanding and appreciation of what’s considered morning.
To all of you fellow parents feeling the same struggle, I tip my hat to you. One day, I have hope our little ones will learn the art of sleeping in. Until then, maybe we’ll see each other in passing as we graze and meander through the aisles at Target, sipping on our Starbucks, passing the time until nap time is upon us.