It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of the Year!

No, not Christmas.

It’s time to “fall back” on our clocks tonight, thereby gaining one full hour of sleep!

Wonderful, right?

Parents of the nation, can I get a “Hell no!”

Every parent I have ever talked to will bemoan the arrival of the time change – both in the fall and in the spring for different reasons. I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule. But in my house, as an early bird with early bird children, it just makes long days longer.

Lemme tell you about my particular problem: On Sunday morning, I will very likely be up at 3:00 or 3:30 in the morning. Heck, I might even be awake at  2:30 in the morning. This is because I have been waking up between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning for weeks* now. Okay, years. I have only “slept in” (sleeping in = sleeping past 6:00 am) two times in the past decade. (You keep track when it is so momentous, it feels like a special holiday when it happens.)

For a little while there, prior to this fall, I was actually regularly waking up between 5 and 5:30, and it was heaven. I could stay awake until 9 or 10 like an normal adult! It was so exciting! Then The Hub started setting his alarm every day at 4:30 (for his own reasons; good reasons), and soon my circadian rhythm was back to waking up at 4:30. And then it started creeping back even earlier to 4. Then 3:45. Then 3:30. (Groan.)

Here’s the problem with this: It’s a vicious cycle. You start waking up that early all the time, and then you have no choice but to fall asleep as soon as you get your children to bed. I (usually) get my 8 hours of sleep, people. I just go to bed really, really early. I can do this, because I have no social life anymore. It’s awesome.

Go to bed later, you say? I have tried. This doesn’t help. I still wake up early. I just get less sleep, and I am more tired.

Also, my early morning hours are how I exercise, blog, and perform my side hustle (a/k/a my second job). I also use the early morning hours to read the news, email, write cards, and clean the kitchen. This is no different from those of you who wake up at 7 and go to bed at 11 or later. You are just using your late night hours to get stuff done, and I’m doing the opposite. I will gladly leave a sink full of dishes in the evening so I can go to bed and then quickly put them in the dishwasher in the morning while the coffee is brewing. This is because, most days, my body gives out and my brain freezes after 8 o’clock. The Hub says I fall asleep faster than any person he has ever seen. My head hits the pillow, and I start sawing logs.

You may think this is a crazy schedule. And it can be. If you ever see me eating lunch at 10:30, it’s likely because I have already been up 6 hours. That would be like eating lunch at noon or 1 for most people. Also, you know when you invite me to your house for a 7:30 or 8 dinner or party? That’s like me inviting you over to my house at 10:30 or 11 at night. I will be there, but I will not be fully there, because I would otherwise be getting my first REM cycle.

So, enjoy that extra hour of sleep Sunday morning, peeps, if you can.** I’ll probably be getting my side hustle work done. Or I’ll start doing my CLE (Continuing Legal Education) while I’m on the elliptical. (One of my many “busy mom life hacks.”)

*This seems to happen every fall when the days get shorter. I think the shorter, darker days are what throw me off. If it’s dark at 4:30 in the afternoon, then surely, my brain says, it should be light out 12 hours later. Right? That’s my theory, anyway.

**If you can, it’s because you no longer have super young kids who will also be waking you up at 3 or 4 in the morning.

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