I’ve always been a night owl. Mornings just aren’t my thing.
I thought having kids would change this, that the early wake up calls would magically turn me into a morning person. It didn’t. Far from it. Now I’m up early but I am grumpy about it until I’ve mainlined at least one cup of coffee.
And yet, I’m still a night owl. Even though I’m so very, very tired, I can’t bring myself to go to bed early.
Ironically, the one thing I’m pretty strict about with my kids is bedtimes.
Even on weekends and holidays all three kids are packed up at a reasonable time.
This is the best thing for them, because it ensures they get a good night’s sleep and they really do function best in a routine. The National Sleep Foundation in the US recommends 10-13 hours of sleep a night for preschoolers (3-5yrs) and 9-11 hours for school aged kids (6-13yrs). This makes perfect sense to me, because tired kids are grumpy kids. And there is only enough room for one tired, grumpy person in this house. I called dibs.
The kids having a set bedtime is also a huge sanity saver for me for other reasons.
Despite the fact I get a couple of kid-free days during the week thanks to kindy, this time seems to get eaten up quickly by all the things. There are so many distractions and interruptions during the day. And for some reason I think more clearly and have more energy after 3pm (maybe that’s when all the caffeine kicks in?). The end result is that I’m far more productive at night.
I’ve written a novel, packed up a house, painted furniture, done countless uni assignments and freelance work all after dark while my angels are tucked up in bed.
Even on the nights I don’t have something pressing to be done, I relish the sweet silence night time brings. I’ll read or get lost in the rabbit warren of the Internet until far later than I should, because it’s my time.
Going to sleep means that the morning will be here far too soon and the demands of life with small people will start up again.
Rinse and repeat.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I love spending time with them. But night time is my time and I savour every second.