I’m a night owl by nature. Never was I happier than during the years 1990-1994, when I was a college student and my day started at 10AM and ended at 1 or 2AM. It’s just the way I’m wired. And after having 3 kids, I’m convinced that we are all, indeed, hard-wired to be either morning persons or night owls.
How did I become convinced of this fact? Because of my 3 children, I have one who is clearly predisposed to stay up late and sleep in while the others are not. If I had 10 more children, I’m convinced I’d never have another who is as much like me as my middle child, and this is only one of many examples.
We get all 3 kids up at the same time in the morning, and we put all 3 kids to bed at the same time every night, but she cannot seem to go to sleep before 10PM. She lies awake in her room, talking, imagining, singing, long after the others are asleep. And to try and get her up in the morning is like trying to rouse a hibernating bear in January.
And the funny thing is, I remember as a child, lying in my bed long after the bedtime imposed by my parents, singing, talking, making up stories to occupy my busy mind. And I recall my mom calling to me from the living room, as I do now to my daughter, asking me to be quiet and go to sleep. Ironically, my mom does NOT recall this. But I remember it like it was yesterday. Or, maybe last year. Since yesterday I was a carefree college student, skipping my 8AM classes in favor of my precious beauty sleep, staying up till all hours of the night, taking a midnight Denny’s run with my night owl roommate.
For most of my adult life, I kept up my night owl habits, although midnight became my usual bedtime as I had to function by 8AM in the morning. But recently I have discovered the glorious hours of 5-7AM. I actually discovered those hours a few years ago when I got in the habit of walking at 6AM with a good friend, but we fell out of our walking habit and I went back to sleeping till 7, when I have to wake my kids to get ready for school.
The problem with getting up at the same time as my kids is that I wake up groggy and grumpy and immediately have to be “on.” I want to focus on coffee and email, and the kids need me to focus on getting them ready to meet the bus. Invariably I would be rushing, they would be rushing, I would be yelling, and it was just. not. pretty. And once I finally got them on the bus, I’d have a kitchen full of dirty dishes and be anxious to get on the computer and get a post up and see what gmail had waiting for me. You can probably guess which I’d choose. And forget about making time for devotions.
Since the beginning of this year, when I made the commitment to start getting up at 6:30 to have morning devotions, I discovered how delightful it is to be up before the kids. It was hard in the winter when it was dark and cold at 6:30, but as spring has sprung, I’ve found myself getting up earlier and earlier because I want more and more of that time to myself before the house is awake. It’s like an addiction now because I know how much I enjoy it, and I realize how much smoother my morning goes when I have time to get my affairs in order before the rugrats take over. Now I’m setting my alarm for 5:15.
Believe it or not, I actually find myself waking up before my alarm sounds, raring to start my day because I know I get to have coffee and devotions in peace. While the coffee is brewing, I empty the dishwasher of last night’s dinner dishes, and then I have time to hop on the computer, check email, start a post, read a few blogs before it’s time to rouse the kids and pack lunches and make breakfast. Because the dishwasher is empty, I can put their dishes right in, and I usually have the kitchen cleaned up by the time they go to the bus, or soon after. Then I can get on the computer guilt-free, and I don’t have to face the kitchen later, which makes it that much easier to keep it tidy till dinnertime.
It’s amazing how getting a head start on the day has helped me keep up with the house and feel more in control of everything.
Of course, the flip side is that by 3PM, I am really tempted to make a pot of coffee to get myself through till bedtime. And bedtime is 10PM at the latest; 9 is better. And that is HARD because there isn’t much time to wind down in the evenings, and y’all know how I like my TV. But overall, this is working out SO much better, I can’t even tell you.
And you now what? I adore the quiet of the early morning, the dusky morning light, the sound of the birds singing outside my kitchen window while the coffee happily steeps in my French press.
And the best part is, I don’t miss this.
Yep, I think I like being a morning person. Who says a leopard can’t change its spots?