Friday, February 3, 2012

Past Deadline: Night Owl No More?

I have always been a night owl.

I prefer to get things done before bed so I don’t lie awake worrying about them. Some folks prefer to get up early to do unfinished things, but I like my snooze button too much for that to be effective.

I’m no early bird. Long ago I concluded any pledge to get up early to exercise would fail. Since I work from home and the kids walk to school, I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to commute. Consequently, the night owl thing has worked.

When my kids were wee, it was a perfect system. I’d be busy with them during the day, which meant I might not get as much business done, but they went to bed super early. This opened up several hours in the evening to work. In those days, my brain was alert and creative and good to go at night. I’ve always been that way.

Until now.

Is this another “perk” of turning 40? I see why people pretend they are 39 for a decade or so. Perhaps denial would solve a few issues. (Would it work on my stupid foot, do you think?)

Anyway, I’ll be the first to admit that I probably haven’t been getting enough sleep since about 1989, but it appears my body doesn’t want to put up with my guff anymore.

For example, you’d think the temptation to nap could be a huge issue for someone who works from home. I’ll admit, I did take a few naps when I was pregnant and when the kids were wee babies, but generally the thought doesn’t cross my mind at all. In the last few months, however, I’ll walk past the bedroom and look at my cosy bed and experience an intense pull of longing for a nap. So far I have resisted.

A big factor in this is the fact the kids are older and stay up later. The younger one in particular has an exceptional talent for stalling at bedtime, which she (ahem) comes by naturally. She’ll try every trick in the book – water, Band Aids, lotion, some sort of medication, stories, bad dreams, general goofiness, etc.

Have you heard of the hilarious bestselling “children’s book for adults” by Adam Mansbach called Go the F*** to Sleep? I wept when I read it. This is my life.

Peace and solitude in the evening have been replaced by homework and housework and noise and corralling. The time available for getting things done has shrunk dramatically, especially if one desires even a little bit of time to unwind, which is kind of important in that whole work-life balance equation. (Work-life what?)

So now there is a short period of time once the kids are settled when Groom-boy and I fall into chairs and go over the day’s events and watch a little TV. Woohoo!

There is, however, still this need of mine to get things done before bed. The lunches get made and the schoolbags get packed, but then there is “the list.” This is the other stuff: volunteer work, unanswered phone calls or e-mails from friends, etc. In the short window available the brain refuses to fire enough to get it all done anymore.

Why? Apparently I am tired. Go figure.

I’m putting on my pyjamas about three hours earlier than usual, but I’m staying up just as late and getting less done.

The other night I put on my pyjamas and said to Groom-boy, “You know, I think I understand now why some grown-ups go to bed at 9:30.” Of course those people are probably up at 5.

I suppose that’s not much different from my current reality. Now, instead of lying awake late worrying about what isn’t done, I stay up too late and go right to sleep, only to wake up too early to worry about what isn’t done.

Perhaps if I went to bed earlier, I would just get up when I wake up. D’ya think?

This means I should...gulp...change my routine.

I hate changing my routine.

Imagine getting more rest! Ridiculous. Well, if I must...zzzzzz....

Published in The Perth Courier, Feb. 2/12

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