Short answer: Elisha, almost 16-months old.
How I started making it reasonable/sustainable: the ideas in this article.
The embarrassingly simple summary:
- Pick a time to get up (Elisha does this for me– between 5 and 6).
- Get up at that time (again, The Boy).
- Go to bed when you (because you are paying more attention to your body than your wants or “needs” for me-time) feel tired or sleepy.
And that’s basically it. You get up earlier, you feel tired earlier, you (Lord-willing) go to bed earlier, and so get to sleep earlier.
This makes the earlier morning-waking easier.
Jay and I have often talked about earlier rising and how much better it was for us to steal our personal time then than at night. But we had the approach backwards, and it never worked– trying to go to bed sooner (hard when you’re *not* sleepy at the moment) and expecting to sleep and then wake sooner.
That’s my WFMW tip: Don’t start by trying to go to bed earlier.
The first day was a killer (Up at 5:22. Not by choice.) and Jay put the kids to bed so I could sack when my body gave up, but since then I’ve paid more attention to my tiredness signals, and press the kids’ bedtime a little more consistently when I’m feeling tired (put all three to bed by myself last night!).
This coincides with our decision to be done nursing (E is out of the physical- and emotional- dependency stage and more a habit-nurser now) and my being more consistent in prayer and seeking to be more God-honoring in my habits…
I suppose that’s a lot of qualifiers and explanation, but I’m finding more and more– in everything from sleeping to teaching reading– nothing happens in isolation. It is all connected. God may have been waiting to teach me early-waking until he knew my new habits would be more honoring to him than my old ones.
The Boy has slept “through the night” (some of you know why that’s in quotes) four nights in a row now. His sisters combine for 1-3 wakings in a night, and I usually split those with Jay. This lesser (!) night-work has made early-rising much more manageable. And I love how I feel in the morning.
And how peaceful my house feels.
I find myself able to sit quietly (E still gets his morning nurse because we both need it) and pray and prepare my heart and mind for the day. I’m growing very fond of this time “to myself” because I am not fighting my body’s attempt to tell me I’m abusing it.
It’s like one of my favorite scriptures says:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
For life: if I listen and obey God’s prompting and provision (Every good and perfect gift comes from above!) to go to bed when I’m tired, I benefit.
For godliness: if I listen to God’s prompting to use the first quiet moments of morning to order my heart and day before him (and by this, I don’t mean yet planning the day, other than when I will be in the Word), I benefit.
I am growing to think it’s a similar principle to tithing.
When we make the point to obey God’s design, he provides gloriously through what remains.