A little boy sleeping with two stuffed toys
8 Thoughts All Moms Have When They Wake Up Before Their Kids

by M. Esther Sherman

Every once in a blue moon (or a rainy Sunday morning), parenting miracles happen. It’s as if the heavens part and a single ray of luminous light falls to the exact spot where we are standing, and it’s beautiful. OK, by the official definition, these rare occurrences aren’t "miracles," but these moments certainly feel miraculous to the happy clan of overworked parents who are lucky enough to experience them. For instance, maybe it’s a child saying "thank you" to a stranger without being prompted, or a toddler who decides to be completely calm during a trip to the grocery store (haha, just kidding, this has never happened ever). And sometimes, when the stars dance in precise, serendipitous rotation, it’s a mother waking up before her children.

It’s true. It happens. I’ve seen it. There are days when mommy’s eyes open to the sight of a dark house. There are morning’s when the first thing mommy hears is silence. There are mornings when my eyelids open of their own accord rather than by my child’s prying fingers. Just like a perfectly timed ray of light from the sky, it is something to be savored. However, I’m still mom so my brain moves at a rate of 900 worries per minute and these are some of the things I think about when I wake up before my little pal. These are only a few thoughts most of us moms have when we wake up before our kids:

"Wait — What Is Happening? Is This Real Life? Oh, God, This Is Happening. Yay!"

This is the immediate knee-jerk reaction to a quiet house. This thought, though exciting and filled with mirth, is not to be trusted. This sensation will transform into a list of things to do and people to email and doctor's appointments you've been meaning to make in only a matter of minutes.

"What Am I Going To Do With This Precious Gift?"

Ah, the course of our demise is set in place with this simple thought. Instead of enjoying the peace at hand, our mom brains move toward something to be done. No, it never entered our minds that lying in bed without thinking might be the prudent thing to do. Though, now that we’re thinking about it, we can put non-thinking relaxation on the list of possibilities. Yes, we see how this defeats the point.

"Oh! Let's Drink Some Coffee Without Spilling."

This is an exciting thought for any mother of any child at any age. Children are instinctually drawn to the smell of coffee and the elbows to be bumped in order to spill said coffee. No one has ever been able to demonstrate exactly why this is the case but it is. It just is. Don't question my science. No, I will not show you my "sources." This is just a known truth: Kids want to spill your coffee. It's something to do with them seeking to mercilessly destroy anything that nourishes and pleases you. Anyway, this almost never happens when you wake up before your kids, because in order for us to enjoy an un-spilled cup of coffee, we’d have to get out of bed and make the coffee, and that involves two things we have no interest in doing: moving, and making noise that could potentially wake our kids.

"I Can Do Anything!!!"

This is the wave of euphoria that embraces us moments before reality takes its place. During this split-second of unparalleled happiness, we contemplate climbing Annapurna, cliff jumping in the Greek islands, and writing a novel about something other than the laundry. This the moment in time when we believe dreams come true and unicorns poop rainbows.

But again, we don't want to move, and we are afraid that if we even breathe too heavily, our kids will awaken. So we play on our phones. Oh yes, we play on our phones with wild abandon.

"Maybe I Can Go Back To Sleep."

Give it up, sister. There is nothing more desperate and futile than being a mom, waking up before your kids, and trying to convince your body to go back to sleep. Your body knows better. It's bracing for the impending shrill alarm that it's become accustomed to: your child's voice. There will be no more sleep.

"Wait, Are They OK? Should I Be Worried?"

Fact: No mom has ever woken up before her kids and not half believed that their kids have died in their sleep, or been kidnapped by intruders, or any other number of horrible, unthinkable things. It's not that we're insane or morose (I mean, maybe a little) — that's just how rare your kids out-sleeping you is. It's so rare that your first, seemingly rational reconciliation for this unexpected event is that something terrible has happened.

And even once you've somehow come to accept that your kids are not, in fact, dead, kidnapped, or otherwise hurt, their silence "clearly" means they are up to no good. There’s nothing more terrifying to a mother than silence. Silence means even the children know I will end them if I find out what they’re doing. Silence is not golden; it's made of pure evil with a cyanide cherry on top.

"This Isn't Really A Gift At All. This Is A Curse."

This is the thought that replaces any possible hope of enjoying the silence. It is the thought we have when we realize that the few minutes of quiet has been more stressful than managing snack day for the soccer team.

"Well, that was short-lived."

The final thought before we drag ourselves out of bed to the sound of the now very awake offspring. Maybe it’s best that this little miracle doesn’t happen often.

Images: Jessica Blankenship; Giphy(8)