By Katie Moosbrugger

The start of the school this year brought about a big change in our house. A change I’ve been dreading ever since my daughter started Kindergarten six years ago. I knew this day was coming and I couldn’t ignore the looming deadline. I even started to train and prepare my mind and body as early as last year. I gave pep talks to myself all summer long, “C’mon, you can do this. It’s not a big deal.” What is this change that has pushed me to panic mode? That would be the daily 5:30 am wake up call for middle school.

I know some of you are thinking “Wah, wah”…you’ve been rising at this hour – or earlier – every day for years. But I’ve never been a morning person and never desired to be one. Yet, with one and a half weeks of middle school mornings under my belt, I am here to share a few valuable lessons my early riser friends have secretly known for years. And as dreadful as it can be, Lesson #7 makes it all worthwhile!

Lesson #1: Waking Up Earlier Puts Time On My Side

For years, I used to wake up as late as possible. I’d sometimes talk my kids into letting me drive them to school (instead of taking the bus) so we could grab an extra 30 minutes of sleep. However, that half hour quickly turned into more than an hour of wasted time – half of which was spent sitting in car lines and traffic. Getting up earlier and taking advantage of the bus every morning has given me an extra 90 minutes to my day.

Lesson #2: Waking Up Earlier Makes Me More Organized

Pushing the snooze button didn’t make me well rested; it actually made me more disorganized. I used to scramble to make lunches, make coffee, take care of the dog, get the kids dressed and packed, get myself dressed, and squeeze in time to check on TMoM and the morning emails. Should anything go wrong, my entire morning was shot. These days, I have my first cup of coffee, lunches packed, emails checked, dog tended to, (and sometimes I’ve exercised) all before 6:30 am. It certainly makes it easier to get a day started!

Lesson #3: Waking Up Earlier Lets Me Plan Ahead

With added time and opportunity to get organized, I’ve noticed I’m more proactive. I have the quiet time to plan my days, weeks and even months without distraction. I’m better at remembering things (I am getting old!) as well as anticipating things that I may not have thought about. Side note: A Texas University study showed early risers earned a full point higher on their GPAs than those who were “night owls.” Just sayin’…

Lesson #4: Waking Up Earlier Makes Me Love Coffee More

I cannot lie. It’s become a trusted friend. Just don’t ask me how much I actually drink!

Lesson #5: Waking Up Earlier Makes Me Exercise More

Rarely did I scoot out the door before 9 am to work out. I used the excuse that my body wasn’t ready. And if I had an appointment during that late morning time frame – then oh well – I didn’t work out! However, last year I discovered a 5:30 am workout class that changed my outlook. Not only did it help me prepare for this year’s early wake ups, but it also made me more productive later in the day. I actually look forward to those early classes, and it’s helped me knock exercising off my To Do list before I have a chance to reconsider!

Lesson #6: Waking Up Earlier Makes Me Sleep Better

Something’s gotta give with this new schedule, and that would be my nights. My mind is fried by 8 pm. I literally get ready for bed with my kids. I used to be able to read much longer before going to sleep, and these days it’s hard to keep my eyes open even with the best of books. But when I crash, I crash hard and I’ve noticed my quality of sleep is better!

Lesson #7: Waking Up Earlier Makes Me a Better Mom

This is probably the best change of all. Rising early lets me enjoy the calm before the storm, and that makes me a happy mom (as opposed to my former stressed out and grumpy morning mom-self)! It gives me that much-needed “me time” – and with all the reasons stated above – we are no longer scrambling in the mornings. But the best perk of getting up earlier than usual is that I have more free time to spend with the family at night. Everyone wishes they could add more hours to their day, and I’m telling you – this is the way!

For all you early risers, what other lessons can you share?