Is it just me, or have you noticed a lot of stories in the press lately about 'SuperMums' that get up at 5am to start their day? They effortlessly glide out of bed and partake in a full workout session, walk the dog, make the kids impeccable breakfasts and all before I've even put Peppa Pig on repeat to give me five minutes more in bed!
This doesn't bode well for me. For, in order to be 'successful' I have to survive on five hours' sleep, do exercise at the crack of dawn every day, hold down a career, be the perfect wife (and cook) and all the while eating healthily. Apparently these are all traits/ways of living that successful CEOs and Mumpreneurs observe, so they must be on to something, right?
Sick of feeling like a failure, for not quite being good enough, I took it upon myself to try this unfathomable lifestyle out. I gave myself one week of putting it to the test, this is what I would do:
5am: wake up, work out or meditate
6am: wake up my child
6.15am: sort healthy breakfast for us
6.45am: do some washing
7am: Put on full face of make-up, make an effort to dress nice
9-5pm: At work all day
7pm: Eat a healthy well balance meal, probably involving tofu and quinoa!
and this is how it went...
DAY 1 - Monday
I wake up slightly later than planned at 5.20am and go downstairs to practice some pilates on YouTube. It's dark outside and the world is still. 15 minutes later I do not feel any better for it and reach for a bowl of Special K laced with strawberries to sort me out. Healthy - yes, satisfying -no! I spend the next two hours babysitting, wondering why I got up so pointlessly early. By time I get home after a full-on day, I am feeling tired, and rustle up a carby bowl of spaghetti to bring me back to life - it felt good. I go to bed at 10pm, after just one more viewing of 'The Crown'.
Day 2 - Tuesday
Today I'm up at 5am and ready to go. I can't bring myself to exercise at this hour, so decide to put on some washing instead, and I feel like I could be 'winning'! I try out some 'mindfulness' and rather like it. Instantly get in the zone, perhaps too much as the next thing I know its 6:10 and I'm being woken by a grizzly child! I wade through another day of work, before retiring to bed at 10pm again - not quite disciplined enough to go to bed earlier - must try harder!
Day 3 - Wednesday
The alarm goes at 5am and I can't bare the thought of getting up, so I snooze and snooze a bit more. I have to get up and do some meditation, but this is quickly surpassed by the lure of checking my work emails and my mind wanders off. I'm suddenly sucked in to responding to emails, and wonder if it is actually making me any more productive being up so early - or if it just means I can cram in more work, which I would have prioritised better if I hadn't. By time I get home in the evening, I have no energy to cook, so head to the fridge for a microwave meal which is unsatisfying and I retire to bed at 9.30pm, broken.
Day 4 - Thursday
This is killing me! I have bags under my dark circles for eyes, my skin is dry and I'm eating bad food because I have no energy to cook anything nice. I barely look human, as I haul myself from slumber at 5.15am. I joylessly do a few star jumps then slump on the sofa, before my child hears me and wakes up asking for 'see-ree-el.". Im not at work today, and when my son sleeps at lunchtime, so do I! I go to bed at 9pm later on, although I did manage to eat quinoa and turkey for dinner, joylessly unsatisfying and leaving me sad!
Day 5 - Friday
We are over. I throw my phone on the floor when it woke me at 5am, and let my son wake me up instead at 6.25am, a positive lie-in! Five days of trying to be perfect has completely broken me, and I admit defeat realising that I can't possibly do a full week of this, let a lifetime!
Getting up earlier has its advantages for sure. You have time to do the washing, tidy the house and even watch a bit of Piers Morgan to wake you up. But is any of that worth an extra hour or two in bed - absolutely not!
I tried exercising but it made me feel worse, I enjoyed mindfulness and I would continue that, but the rest was a waste.
As a result of less sleep I looked worse, appeared angry and joyless and ate crap food. I lost my enthusiasm and my spark. If all of this is supposed to make you the 'perfect wife' then I abysmally failed, because I had no time for the things I thought I would.
I don't care how the theory goes - for me, it takes a very driven person to survive on five hours' sleep and look and feel good enough to hold down a job and look after a baby. I've tried it, I've lived it and I can honestly say it's not for me!
Tomorrow I'll be having a lie-in, toast for breakfast all offset by Peppa Pig! If that makes me a failure, then I'll take unsuccessful and happy any day!