Natural early bird or not, now that you’re a mom, the morning is becoming a precious time of day that you don’t want to waste. Scratch that — that you can’t waste. You might not be a morning person, and an early wake-up cuts into your already limited sleep. But it can also set you up for a much more relaxed, productive, and positive day. So set your alarm, and get ready to start your day well before the first baby cry, tot gurgle, or preschooler “Mommy!!”

A woman stretches on a yoga mat

1. Work it. Or rather, work out. Forget about going to the gym: The round trip takes way too much time, and you’re on a tight schedule. Living room yoga, bedroom Pilates, or dancing around the playroom to your fave tunes are all easy (and totally valid) ways to exercise before the early risers actually rise.

2. Sit silently. The kids are noisy. (Seriously noisy.) But the house is quiet now — almost eerily so. Take full advantage! Quash your desire to run around making lunches and putting together the baby bag. Pour a cup of coffee, curl up in a comfy chair, turn your phone/tablet/laptop off, and just be. This is “me time” at its best.

3. Pursue a passion project: No, not the romantic kind (we’ll get to that). We’re talking about something that you really, truly, absolutely enjoy, but don’t “have” to do. Maybe it’s scrapbooking your memories or working on the novel that you’ve been writing in your spare time since grad school. Whatever you love, love, love doing, do it during the early morning hours.

A woman uses her laptop on her balcony

4. Keep connected. Your friends without kids may start falling to the wayside the moment that the first little one pops out. They visit a few times to “see the baby.” But then the texts, emails, and random late-night phone calls stop. While they understand you have new priorities, there are only so many times that your BFFs can reach out only to get rejected or put on hold. Take this time to send a text, write an email, or connect with your friends in some other way. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and you’ll get to keep your relationships going.

5. Dress up. Okay, maybe not dress up up. But you can use this time to outfit yourself in something other than yoga pants and a t-shirt. Pick out an outfit that you feel comfortable and kind of stylish in. Heck, take the time to try on a few adorable options.

6. Perfect your pampering. Suddenly the word “pamper” has gone from what you do on spa days to what you put on your baby’s bottom — and it shouldn’t be that way. Whether you have 15 minutes or a full hour, you have time for a little beautification and self-indulgence. Go ahead, try out that K-beauty mask you’ve been jonesing to wear or work a new deep-sea mud mask through your not-washed-in-a-week hair.

A couple enjoys breakfast together

7. Do a date morning. Sometimes “date night” isn’t easy to schedule when you’re new parents. Before you give up on your spending any QT with your honey, try an early-morning option. Set the alarm a half hour early and spend that extra time in bed together or have a candle-lit breakfast — sans kiddos.

8. Arrange adult activities. Again, no, we’re not talking about the bedroom kind of adult activities. This is more of a “get caught up on current events” or “stream a favorite grown-up show” type of time.

9. Be the un-mommy. Break free from mom mode by doing at least one thing that has absolutely nothing to do with mothering or your child. It’s surprisingly easy to get lost in the great wide world of parenting. You may not even realize that the shift has happened… until someone asks you what your favorite book is, and you reply, “Goodnight Moon,” without realizing that they weren’t referring to your favorite children’s book. Step away from the baby gear, swap parenting blogs for ones about anything other than the littles, and use some time to feel like you again.

How do you coordinate your morning schedule with your kids’ wake-up times? Share with us @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)