"Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." - Benjamin Franklin
"But I'm a woman and I'm sleeping in."
This was my (smartass) response when some parental authority from my youth first imparted Mr. Franklin's wisdom to me. And, true to my word, I have been a night-owl my entire life. In grade school, I read by the light of my electric blanket into the wee hours when the folks confiscated my flashlight. In college, I chose my classes based on what was available after 12 p.m. I met and befriended Savageman because we were the only two freshmen who decided to stay up all night at the new student retreat, and I wound up dating and eventually marrying him because he was the only other person on campus awake as late as I on a regular basis. There was a joke among our dorm-mates that we were actually vampires, since they so rarely saw us during sunlight hours. In the two years we lived on campus, we made it to breakfast a few times, but only because we had pulled all-nighters and hadn't yet gone to bed. Yes, Savageman and I elevated night-owlishness to a new art form.
You would think that parenthood would have changed all of that, but it didn't. My graduate school schedule closely resembled my undergraduate schedule, and by the time Uno was born, I was done with my coursework and just needed to put in an appearance here and there in the department. Baby Uno and I would nap and nurse until noon. Savageman worked evenings, so he slept in with us too.
Even after Savageman started working regular hours, I still managed to sleep late with the kids. One of the joys of homeschooling is that there's no bus to catch. We started school whenever everyone was up and dressed, and if that wasn't until lunchtime, so be it.
Part of the reason we've maintained this lifestyle is that when the little Savages are in bed, our grown-up time begins. We clean up the house, watch a movie, read, relax, etc. We enjoy this time. A lot. We want it to last as long as possible. Sometimes, we make it last until 1 or 2 in the morning.
But all of that is about to change. I have made a life-changing decision.
I will become an early riser.
I have read up on the benefits of waking with the sun, and I am convinced that this is a good thing. I have also read that if you can do something consistently for 21 days, it will become a habit.
So, last night I dug my old alarm clock out and set it up. Across the room.
This morning, it went off at the ungodly hour of 7:30. I stumbled out of bed, turned it off, and fought the (powerful) urge to crawl back into my warm, cozy bed. I staggered into the bathroom. The first minute or two were awful and all I could think about was how good it would feel to get back in bed for another hour or two of sleep. But once my teeth were clean and my eyes had begun to focus, I began to feel normal. I could pretend I had actually had a full night's sleep and it wasn't really still the middle of the night.
I came downstairs, made coffee, unloaded the dishwasher, and prepared for my day. I sorted a year's worth of pictures and put them in albums. By the time everyone else was awake, I was feeling refreshed and energized.
Savageman warned me that at some point, I would hit the wall. Sure enough, by 5:30 or so, I was ready to crash. Thank God for Starbucks. Venti.
So now it's 10:30 p.m. The little Savages are finally in bed and I have an hour to cram in 3 hours of grown-up time. Instead of a 2.5 hour DVD, we'll have to watch a 30 minute sitcom. Instead of a chapter or two of a novel, it's a magazine article. Sigh...
The trade-off is that tomorrow morning I will have an hour of peace and quiet before the little Savages descend upon me. I can sip my coffee and finish my photo albums in peace.
Tomorrow, the alarm goes off at 7:20.