My children wake up with the sun, no matter how early that might be. A month ago, that meant 5:30 a.m., now it means 6:12 a.m. I always considered myself a morning person, I really did, but there is a stark contrast between waking up to the silent sunrise and the gentle singing of the birds and being abruptly torn out of my dreams by the boisterous voices of a three-year-old, two-year-old and one-year-old.

"Mommy, I want cornflakes!" You are still under your covers and you already want cornflakes?!?!

"Mommy, I woke up! Look, look, also the baby woke up. Mommy!!!"

But I didn't wake up! Who told you that it was time for you to wake up?

"Mama, Mama! Nnnnnda, nnnnnnda!" Oh, you are so cute, but it is soooo early.

Extricating myself from bed is not easyExtricating myself from the bed is not easy, but it is only after this small victory that the real battle begins. Awoken suddenly and plunged into breaking up fights and dealing with spilled bags of flour before both of my eyes are fully open isn't exactly the recipe for my best mood. So, I am faced with the three most adorable creatures in the entire world and they are waiting to be smiled upon and warmly hugged. And I? I don't want to smile, I don't want to even speak. I just want to brush my teeth in peace without someone asking me if I am using mint or strawberry toothpaste and if the mint burns my tongue. I would like to say the morning blessings and drink a cup of tea while quietly pondering the day ahead of me and who I would like to become through it.

So, on a really bad day, the morning looks something like this – I mumble a fake "good morning" and, with a frown on my face, I start portioning grapes into three bowls and doling out cornflakes. If any child dare complain about their allotted spoon or change their order from with milk to without, I snap at him or her and declare that "This is what there is, take it or leave it!"

When everyone is somewhat quietly engrossed in their food, I return to my room to try to wake myself up, thinking all the while: "It is 5:30 in the morning and I am being treated like a waitress." The rest of the morning doesn't usually go any better, as I have already allowed a big gray cloud of selfishness and impatience to settle on the home—and it is contagious. We have all joined a competition to see who can prove that their needs are more important than everyone else's.

On one particularly dreary day I asked myself how things had become like this. After all, I am a rather cheerful person and I understand children's vital need for a compassionate, affectionate mother. The conclusion I arrived at was simple: They are waking me up so suddenly that my body is being woken up far before my soul. My soul knows how to react to petty bickering and spilled milk, but my body does not!

So, this was a nice new excuse I had. I tried it on for size for a few days, easily excusing my obnoxious behavior and lack of cheer. After all, this is an ill-fated body that has woken up before its soul counterpart.

He believes in your ability to pick yourself upBut every time I repeated this new line of mine, it sounded weaker and weaker. After all, the first words a Jew says upon regaining consciousness in the morning are the words of the prayer "Modeh Ani": "I thank You, my King, for returning my soul to me – How great is Your faith in me!" The first sentient breath of each day is dedicated to our Creator, acknowledging: You have given me another day in this world; I am already indebted to You.

The conclusion of this short prayer is a bit puzzling: "How great is Your faith in me." What faith? Don't we mean to say that our faith in Him is great? The answer is what gives us the strength to get out of bed and make something special out of our day: If G‑d woke you up, it means He has faith that you are going to do something worthwhile today. After all of yesterday's mistakes, He believes in your ability to pick yourself up and be productive today. The Creator of the world Himself has called you to duty; He must believe in you!

With this in mind, it was becoming more and more difficult to convince myself that my soul was sleeping in. In fact, it became ridiculous – if anyone would choose to be lazy and lie in bed for another hour or two, it would not be the soul part of this duo. More importantly, if I am being given my soul back, it is a sign that G‑d believes in my ability to overcome the propensity to wake up cranky. That being the case, I had to come up with a better excuse or, rather, a better plan.

A friend recently shared her thoughts on New Year changes with me – "It is all about decisions. Why do I arrive on time to a meeting on Monday and five minutes late the next day? Because on Monday I decided I was going to be on time and on Tuesday, I made a note somewhere in the deep folds of my brain that it is O.K. to be five minutes late. So, really, I just have to decide on Wednesday that I am going to be on time. And that I will not lose my temper with my husband for not taking out the garbage and that I will not eat three chocolate bars for lunch instead of a salad and sandwich. We can change only what we decide to change. It doesn't make it easy, but it makes it possible."

Children need warmth almost more than they need oxygen In Psalms, King David writes, "Who will go up the mountain of G‑d? Only one with clean hands and a pure heart…" The Slonimer Rebbe expounds on this mountain-climbing parable. He explains that there are two prerequisites for success if a person is going to climb a huge mountain: The first is the unwavering decision that no matter what, he will fight his way to the top. He must be ready to undergo any kind of challenge to reach his goal. The second is that he has to believe wholeheartedly that he will succeed in the end. It is not a question of if he will climb that mountain to its peak; rather it is only a question of how and when. So long as any fraction of a doubt lives in his heart, he will not be able to overcome the hurdles that lie in his way.

"Climbing the mountain of G‑d" means climbing the mountains that G‑d has implanted in our day, our week, our month, our life. There are slightly smaller ones like annoying co-workers and there are enormous, terrifyingly steep ones like chronic, debilitating illnesses, but all of them are there for us to champion over them, becoming stronger through the climbing. To triumph, we need to make the decision that we are in this fight until the end and to have the unmovable faith that victory will be ours.

I took this theory out for a test ride. A few days ago, sunup found me deeply lost in a nonsensical dream, beautifully void of any plot or conflict. And then suddenly, it was gone. My cheek was glued to my pillow and a two-year-old boy was standing at the doorway saying, in a sweet and gentle voice, "I woke up. Can you change my diaper?"

I quickly moved my lips and forced out: "Modeh Ani – I thank You, G‑d…" thinking of the incredible privilege it is to be the mother of this precious toddler. Before letting a moment pass, I made an unwavering decision that I do not have to get up this exact second, but when I do haul myself up to a vertical position, I will be happy, cheerful and pleasant. If I am in this situation it means that I can rise to the challenge and I will. I was mentally prepared – my children need warmth almost more than they need oxygen and I am determined to give it to them. Even at 5:30 a.m.

The new tactic worked. After a couple moans and position flips, I was up and so was my mood. Lifting my son, dirty diaper and all, I hugged him with all my heart. Each child was greeted with a jovial smile, backrub, and a croaky morning voice exclaiming how happy I was to see them. The morning started off great and continued even better.

We have just begun a New Year, giving us a chance to renew and to be who we truly want to be. What we will achieve this year is reliant on what we decide to achieve this year. This is the opportune time for us to ask for Divine aid in accomplishing those goals so that we can blaze onward and upward with the certainty that we will prevail.