What Being on Mountain Time Has Taught Me

Hi MOE Readers! Law-Mom here. I know I’ve been  a bit absentee for awhile, learning the lay of the land in my new state out west. We’ve all been adjusting to a new rhythm out here which, by and large, is a pretty pleasant rhythm, if I must tell you. I am working 7 to 3 from home now. I knew, as an Early Bird, that I’d love the schedule. And I do!

It’s funny, though: you would think working those hours I’d have so much more time during the day to get things done. I do. And I don’t. I do seem to have more time to clean my home (what are lunch breaks for, ‘eh?) and to take care of the kids and the new puppy. (Did I mention we got a puppy, too, in the past month?) What I don’t seem to have much time for still is myself.

I was just saying to The Hub that I’d really like to incorporate yoga into my day. But honest-to-goodness, I cannot tell you when I’d find the time (when I was actually functioning) to do it.

For example, while I was writing this, I just got significantly waylaid to help SC1 with a math homework problem (that she conveniently forgot she was supposed to do until right before bedtime).

I could try to do it in the morning, but even waking up early (between 4 and 5 most days) I can barely find the time to go for walk or bike ride. Could I squeeze in some yoga? Maybe. But I’d have to forego my daily morning talk with my parents; taking the puppy out to go to the bathroom a few times; chasing the puppy around the house to stop him from chewing on things;  brushing the girls’ unbelievably tangled hair; reminding the children 100 times to brush their teeth; picking up shoes and hairbands off the floor to prevent the puppy from chewing on them (am I getting repetitive?); hanging up wet laundry to dry (yay, solar power!), cleaning up the kitchen from the night before (because I don’t do dishes after 7pm)….all before starting work at 7am. Am I making excuses? Maybe.

[I just had to tell my child to stop doing her homework on the floor, where the puppy was trying to chew her pencil and paper, and to move to a desk. Because. Problem-solving. Is. Hard.]

The afternoons/evenings are also quickly filled with the girls’ activities, picking up the house (it is always a mess now that we only have a great room — everything pretty much collects there), taking care of the puppy, helping with homework, making dinner (I have time to cook now, so I have been actually cooking and grilling!), and…our nightly pool swim. I gotta tell you: I love our nightly pool swim.

But, when to do yoga?

“You could be doing it now!” you say. But, if you bother listening to Conan Tanner’s podcast, you will understand that after 8pm, this body does very little other than read. After 4am wake ups, I’m pretty sure, you’d say the same. That’s like doing yoga at 10pm, after waking up at 6. Maybe there are some MOEs out there who enjoy working out at 10pm after a 15 or 16 hour day. More power to you! (And, what are you taking, by the way? Can I have the name of that supplement?)

Anyway — I might sound like I am complaining. I’m not. I’m just sharing that even when working what are, quite frankly, ideal work hours from home, there is still not  a lot of time to do everything that I want to do. This may sound like common sense. I guess I’m always mildly surprised by how little time there is in the day.

I’m also not volunteering right now. I feel a bit (okay, a lot) guilty about this. (The Hub tells me I’d make an excellent Catholic.) But, much like doing yoga: I cannot force myself to jam anything more into my already full schedule. I’m enjoying my down time (nightly family pool swim) just too much to change anything.

[SC2 is asking me how many minutes she should put in her reading log, because she spent some of the time looking at the pictures.]

[Now I have to sign the homework, to indicate that she completed it.]

I cannot

[That sentence was interrupted by the puppy vomiting and my needing to call the vet to make sure he was not having a bad reaction to his vaccine today. Yes, really.]

I was going to say, I cannot tell you how many times per day my thoughts are completely interrupted. I have oft said that parenting is quite a bit like that short story, “Harrison Bergeron” that I remember reading in 8th grade. It’s so bad that now my speech patterns frequently imitate my thought patterns: I will begin a sentence, only to then repeat “um, um, um” quite a few times before I am finally able to complete my train of thought.  I think Econ-Mom can attest to this from the last time we spoke on the phone.

Anyway, should I feel badly about not doing yoga and not volunteering and enjoying my relaxing family swim time? I am thinking no.

I am thinking that it is really okay to just be a “Mom on 9” for a change. I feel the shift in the time zone has also slightly adjusted my feelings about “doing everything” all the time. For now, not doing yoga and not volunteering is fine. Because someday, I WILL have time for those things again. My kids will be grown, and I will miss them like crazy. But I will have the time. For now, I think I will just swim with them.

Econ-Mom: First of all, LOL to your Hub’s comment about making a good Catholic.  I was raised Catholic and decided to go back to the church a couple years ago, and there really is a decent amount of guilt messaging.  Even some of the songs are like “we’re all sinners, etc.”  One time I was filling out a questionnaire and it was asking if I had experienced different moods/etc, and one of them was “excessive guilt.” I was like… I’m sorry, is that a thing? How could any amount of guilt possibly be excessive?

But seriously, yes, of course, just enjoy your swim time!  And also be more like me and just don’t clean your house!  I should honestly take a picture of our ‘great’ room right now. The floor is literally covered with dinosaurs and coloring books. That being said,** I do totally feel this post.  I really like to go to jazzercise twice a week, but between jury duty and DH being out of town, I haven’t been able to go in weeks.  (So now I get to feel guilty about not exercising AND about paying the monthly jazzercise fee!) I do feel compelled to share one tiny “life hack” I have recently figured out: I have noticed that I am super inflexible and it ends up causing lower back pain for me, so I’ve gotten into the habit of stretching on the floor next to Peanut’s bed as I sing lullabies to him. We have a routine where I sing him 5 songs, and usually during the first 4 I am lying next to him on his bed, but for the last song I’ll move to the floor and stretch. I feel semi-ridiculous sharing this because it sounds like one of those satirical ManWhoHasItAll tweets about how working men need to squeeze more into their day, but hey.

P.S. Thank you for reminding me why getting a dog is NOT on the table in my life right now.  Luckily we’re renting so I have a built-in excuse!

P.P.S. Volunteering?!?!? Thanks for mentioning that, because now I feel guilty for not feeling guilty about not volunteering!  (That is, except for not volunteering at my son’s school.  Of course I feel guilty about that!)


**Note the perfectly correct use of the phrase “that being said.” This little aside will only make sense to those who listen to the podcast. LOL.  -L.M.

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.