Once upon a time, I had a regular bedtime and awoke each morning at a reasonable hour. I spent my quiet early mornings reading or enjoying a glass of orange juice and admiring the way the sun peeks through the window and casts a glow over the room. I worked long afternoon and evening hours, after which I would arrive home from my day’s labor and briefly wind down before going through my evening rituals. I would brush my teeth, remove my make-up and crawl into bed for the night. I would often lie in bed, blissfully reading a book or turning the pages of a magazine as I drifted off to sleep. I was always calm and well-rested. Then I became a mother.
With the addition of my sweet baby girl, my schedule shifted. I was abruptly awakened at all hours of the night to calm a screeching infant with offers of dry pants and milk. Sometimes these things were not necessary and my wee lass would prefer screaming into my ears rather than resting her weary head. Days and nights blurred into a cycle of rocking a baby and watching the world through half-closed eyes that longed for sleep. I would collapse into bed as rapidly as possible after putting her to bed at night, praying for at least a few winks before we started the whole routine all over. Since she was regularly awake for the day before dawn, becoming a morning person was the natural result.
But as my three precious little tax deductions grew, this mama needed a break more often than I’d like to admit and I found that staying up late after they were in bed was the way to go. You see, I could put them to bed at eight and then leave my husband in charge and go to the grocery store alone. I could stay up and watch a television show or a movie. I could do the dishes in peace or fold laundry without some little person unfolding it behind me. I could take a bubble bath, read a book or check my email. I adored my online connections to other moms of little ones and counted on that interaction for social time and friendship. Before long, being a night owl was the natural result. I would regret my late hours nearly every morning when my children arose from their slumber, but getting those hours alone were so rejuvenating for me mentally and emotionally that I was willing to run on little sleep to get them.
As my kids have grown up, I no longer need to stay up at night to get some time alone. The children are all nearly grown these days and are gone from the house more often than they are at home. But those habits from years of enjoying the peace of a quiet home at night are pretty much set in stone now. The trouble is, I am usually often up early as well. I rise before my family on most days, taking care of early morning chores like checking the bank account from the website, scrolling through emails and wishing friends happy birthday on Facebook. I need a few minutes of solitude to really wake up fully before I begin rousing them up for the day.
I’m not sure if I’d qualify as more of a morning person or a night owl these days; perhaps just a perpetually tired soul? I suppose that comes along with parenthood and passing through these days of life as an introvert who needs the quiet to re-energize. Which category do you fall into? Do you prefer the early mornings or late nights?