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I Wake Up At 5 A.M. To Drink Coffee And Watch TV Alone

The 5 A.M. club isn’t just for boss babes and business bros. It’s also for moms who want some peace.


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The 5 a.m. club has always been my favorite club, long before Linkedin bros wrote entire creeds dedicated to making 5 a.m. your b*tch by being as productive as possible. But I’m not using those dark hours between mine and my husband’s Succession binge and making waffles for my children to maximize my productivity in the way everyone thinks. 5 a.m. is productive for me because 5 a.m. me is doing what 8 a.m. me would do if I didn’t have children — 5 a.m. is my hurkle durkle time. My “sip coffee and lounge in a horizontal position” time. My eat-breakfast-on-the-back-porch-alone time, and yes, it is better than the two hours of sleep I’m missing out on.

There is not a lot of hot parenting advice I follow. Toy rotations? Please. Screen-free activities during breakfast? Just put on Bluey, it’s really going to be OK. But waking up before my children so I can have my morning to myself? Oh, yes ma’am, let’s set the alarm.

I am a morning person. I always have been. Even in high school, when faced with mountains of homework, I found that I was a far better and more productive person if I went to bed at 9 p.m. and set my alarm for 5 a.m. to finish my homework instead. Everything feels better to me in the morning. I can think clearly, I’m less anxious, I’m not overwhelmed — even if nothing’s really changed in the last eight hours, it feels like a fresh start.

And I’m sorry to say it, but I swear, when my children come downstairs, I am a much, much better parent.

It’s also the time when I feel most myself. This is why I’m able to resist when my toddler cries out at 4:30 a.m. for a lost paci and I rock her for a few minutes in the dark of her bedroom, the sound machine practically summoning me back to my bed. Instead, I pop her back in her crib and head straight for the Keurig. There is a level of excitement, a shot of dopamine straight to my veins — the next few hours are mine and mine alone. It’s like post-bedtime, but better, because I’m not irritated and exhausted and faced with a mountain of laundry to fold again.

I’ve been known to do some work in these early mornings, sure, but really, this is my time to live. I drink my coffee and I scroll Reddit. I watch the night before’s Abbott Elementary and I make myself a real breakfast that I don’t have to share. I snuggle under a blanket and I only turn on one light, padding around my living room so I don’t wake my family upstairs. Sometimes I journal (I know) and a lot of times I go outside in my bare feet just as the sun is coming up and I stand in the grass of our backyard littered with naked Barbies and broken bubble wands and I breathe. And I’m sorry to say it, but I swear, when my children come downstairs, I am a much, much better parent. I am patient and I am kind. I am eager to see their little faces and bury my nose in their bedhead and make them whatever they want for breakfast.

The rest of my day is aligned. I cross things off my to-do list with ease, I’m able to actually process information and think through the day. Nothing feels too stressful, or like too much. I can handle all of it, and the constant beat of overwhelm that hammers inside of me when I’m low on sleep and time alone is gone. Everything feels better and easier. I feel stronger and smarter. Because I’ve recharged and rested and recalibrated.

And if that’s not considered productive, I don’t know what is.

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This post originally appeared on Romper and was published March 13, 2024. This article is republished here with permission.

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