Monday, February 20, 2012

Waking up is hard to do


I have a rather hokey nightgown that sports a bear with half-open eyes holding a mug.  “Bearly awake before coffee” is what it reads, and it’s been a needling point for my husband, a genuinely morning person.  And by morning person, I mean he can wake up and not stomp around and it doesn’t take him 20 minutes just to be able to function enough to make coffee to be able to drink it without spilling it all over his pajamas.
But I am not so lucky.  I don’t want to be talked to, touched, looked at, or even near anyone except the droning sound of the local news station.
And then, maybe then, I’ll make you breakfast.
Before I was blessed with motherhood, this sort of anti-morning-person phenomenon didn’t bother many people.  My husband knew to keep his distance until the caffeine set in, and things were fine.  Then, having babies in the house throws off the schedule so much that while you may be a morning person, your morning had just been dedicated at 4:30 AM.  Full nights of sleep consist of three hours and you find yourself forgetting how to set your alarm clock because the baby will do a perfectly fine job of waking you up at whichever hour they choose and crave immediate attention.
And this is why, I believe, babies are so absolutely adorable.  If they weren’t, sleepy people like me might not be so kind in the wee hours of the night.
But time goes on and our children grow up and reach that awful stage of not being able to control their internal clocks and also not being able to sit quietly and read while mom is snoring away in the next room.  This is the span of time when your alarm clock is again not needed because instead of a crying baby, you get an actual child yelling your name from the foot of your bed asking for a snack or a bathroom break.
Or worse yet, when they just stand there, hovering over you without making a sound and some strange sixth sense wakes you up because you can literally feel their presence.  They’re lucky you don’t reach out and slug them in your broken slumber bewilderment.
Currently, we’ve reached the school-age stage, where my mornings are studded with packing lunches and gathering items for all of our days, which begin promptly at the same time every morning with no leeway whatsoever.  This lack of spare time crunches non-morning people like myself who bumble around for a good chunk of the morning and by noon can’t honestly remember what I packed in their lunches and hope that it wasn’t a potato and a bottle of salad dressing.
And so for the good of the people, I finally decided that in order to not be the wicked witch of the morning and also that my children are semi-well fed, I actually need to get up even earlier.  I require a 20-minute buffer between sleep and functionality and subsequently set my once-dusty alarm clock to smaller and smaller numbers to protect the ones I love.
A 2007 poll by CBS News found that most people are most productive at 10:00 AM, followed by 9:00 AM and finally 8:00 AM.  They also found that the older that people get, the more likely they are to wake up earlier naturally.  And finally, there was a direct correlation between salary and how much of a morning person people are; most people who earn more than $75,000 actually prefer early mornings.  
It doesn’t take me 20 minutes of a sleepy blur to figure out my own patterns.  By the time my kids are finally old enough to not wake me up or require lunches and eventually move out of the house giving me total freedom of sleep, I’ll be old, hopefully wealthy, and happily wake up at the crack of dawn with nothing to do.
Here’s hoping my nightgown will still fit.

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