Why I’m Not Part of the 5am Club
I’ve tried it. 7–11 just works better.
My work hours are 7–11.
We’re talking 7pm to 11pm. Some days stretches on until 1am. I don’t actually start the day until around 7-ish or 8 if I’m lucky.
Bill Gates, Michelle Obama and Tim Cook all wake up before 5am. It’s a ridiculous hour. There’s no denying it. The sun hasn’t even made it past the night sky yet and everything is still dead silent.
I used to wake up at 5am. The first stint was for 4 months in a row for 7:30am University class. I needed to catch the 6am train to get to my destination on time.
The second round was out of necessity. The baby wasn’t going to feed herself. With me being her only food source at the time, this meant I had to be awake when she was hungry — that is, every 1am, 3am and 5am.
5am is simply not practical
It was when I stopped co-sleeping with the baby that she learnt not to wake up at night to feed. Once she moved to her own room, she started to sleep through.
But she was still waking up at 5am. Her tiny stomach just couldn’t hold out further than the early bird hours.
5am is supposed to be the golden, productive hour. This is when the super rich and successful people got the bulk of their stuff done. My activities during those hours often consists of changing diapers and sitting very still whilst holding a half asleep baby.
Planning to do things at 5am was a futile exercise that only led to frustration and not getting anything productive done. Bill Gates doesn’t have small children viving for his attention at 5am. Neither does Tim Cook. Even if they did, they have enough funds in the bank account for someone to help out.
5am — the great time and energy sucking hour
My hours are precious. My hours especially when the baby is in a deep sleep is worth its minutes in gold.
When my baby started to sleep past 5am, I found myself dragging my feet towards the bathroom each morning, facing the glaring hallway light with much dislike of pitiful existence whilst doing my best to push thoughts misery out of my head.
For me, 5am is unnatural, no matter how hard I try to convince myself that I can make it natural.
Not only that, the moment I have a shower or dare to even put the jug on, the baby’s “mommy’s awake” sixth sense makes sure that she’s also up and alert.
Waking up at 5am was a futile exercise. Not only did it take 30 minutes to an hour of my time to do the things I need to do (and in silence) to wake up, there was no guarantee that I’ll get a long stretch of time to do anything substantial.
5am is depressing
Waking up this early is not for everyone. We’re not genetically primed to wake up at this hour — or else it would be easy. It’s not part of our circadian rhythm. Well, certainly not mine.
It’s easier for me to stay up late and do work without disturbance rather than gamble my mornings in silence. My work day starts at 7pm and stretches on for a good solid 4 hours without the need for a lunch break.
With a 5am wake up, it means I’ll need to be in bed by 9pm to get a good solid 8 hours of sleep. The tiredness factor is more noticeable with an early morning wake up. I don’t get much done in the morning since the baby is usually up by 7:30am. Mathematically, I get 2.5 hours minus an hour of waking myself up time to get everything done.
One and a half hours to do things is much shorter than a guaranteed 4 hours stretch.
The uncertainty of a cranky but alert baby in the morning also increases my stress levels. While others have the freedom to wake up, make coffee, do a bit of yoga before finally getting on with their day — I simply don’t have that luxury.
5am is eggshells hour. It gets even worse without the help of coffee and a shower.
7pm to 11pm just works better
While everyone is winding down, I find myself winding up for the work ahead.
Being a hustling mother means doing things at strange hours anyway. I ditched the 9–5 not so that I can have a 9–5 at home, but to actually spend time with the child.
Studies and everyone says that the first years are the most important. The first years of any hustle is also the hardest. It just works out better that she has an alert, happy mother instead of one that is constantly grouchy with anxiety.
For me 7–11 is predictable and it works. It gives me enough time to do something substantial. I don’t have to rush. I don’t have to worry. I can just go at my own pace and have that extra hour or two if I really need it.
Or treat myself to an early night.
7–7 is baby hours. 7–11 is work hours. There’s no Netflix and chill or seasons of series to binge watch. It’s a small sacrifice I can live with for the interim.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a backlog of things to watch but presently, life has it’s priorities and my top two is the baby and making rent.
The 5am Club is not for everyone
Its better to work around the circumstances rather than spend the mornings hating existence. There’s nothing more soul draining and a productivity sunk cost than a negative head space. There are better things to use your finite stores of daily self control than on your own angry brain.
It doesn’t matter what time you wake up. The multitude of productivity benefits of waking up early doesn’t matter either (as listed in most unreferenced, rich and famous bias skewed and wildly popular internet articles).
What matters is that you make time to get the things that needs doing done. If 5am is your time to shine and works for you, then go for it and wear the badge with pride. 7–11 is mine. They’re my hours. They are hours that are guaranteed to be completely silent and undisturbed — two traits 5am often promises to those that join the club.
We all have the same 24 hours — no matter who you are or where in the world you go. It’s just how you use it that matters that the most.