When I was growing up, I loved spending the night at my friend Diana’s house. Not only could we stay up as late as we wanted and eat her mother’s famous mini chocolate cupcakes with pink icing, her parents didn’t care if we slept past 10 AM. Even though I usually lay awake in my sleeping bag for hours waiting on Diana to wake up in the mornings, I just liked that I could sleep in if I was able to.
My mother (whom I love and adore…HI MOM!), would stand at the threshold of my childhood bedroom on Saturday mornings and say something like, “Do you realize it’s 9:00? Don’t you think that maybe you should get up?” I grew up feeling guilty about sleeping in, and the possibility of missing out on a day filled with fun (and dusting) (and vacuuming) (and cleaning bathrooms).
In college, while all my friends slept until 2, or 3, or even 7:00 in the evening, I usually woke up no later that 9:30. Sometimes it was because I was the only one of us who actually had a job that I had to get to on time, but usually it was just because I could hear my mother’s haunting words, “don’t you think that maybe you should get up,” over and over again in my head.
I get it. I really don’t want to waste my life sleeping when I could be doing! True photographers wake up before sunrise hoping to capture the perfect shot, kind people volunteer their time, involved parents arise early and plan activities to give their children memory-making, educational experiences. These are all noble things that require one to BE AWAKE and not wasting their life snoozing in the comfort of a warm and toasty bed with 600 (+) thread-count sheets.
Can I be honest with you, though? Just between you and I, there really is something to be said for occasionally wasting your life in the comfort of a warm and toasty bed with 600 thread-count sheets. This became especially true once I became the mother to a very early rising son four long years ago.
As a baby, Carson usually woke for the day anytime between 5 AM and 5:03 AM. Sleepily, I’d trudge to his room, retreat the couch with him and the Boppy where I’d sit, feed him, hold him, and watch infomercials and black and white movies for several hours. Eventually he began sleeping really late and wouldn’t awaken until 5:40 AM. Those extra 37 minutes of sleep were glorious, though I really looked forward to the day that we actually got to sleep in until at least 6 AM.
So for the past four years, we’ve been a family that was awake by no later that 7 AM (SCORE! At least, comparatively). I wish I could say that I’ve spent those early mornings of these past four years getting up before sunrise and honing my photography skills or volunteering or taking my children out for nature hikes. I haven’t, instead I’ve moaned and complained and poured bowls of Cinnamon Life cereal while watching Curious George and Sid the Science Kid.
We lead a busy life, filled with preschool and outings several days a week. I don’t want to be lazy and sleep in everyday, but it would be nice if on Saturdays and Sundays and spring, summer, and Christmas breaks, we could JUST FREAKING SLEEP PAST 7 AM!!
On the first day of Christmas break, all my prayers (oh alright, my begging and pleading) were answered. I looked at the clock that first morning and nearly panicked when I saw that it was 8:40. I jumped out of bed and raced to the children’s rooms, frightened of what I would find. There they were, eyes closed, mouths open, breathing slowly and deeply, my two sleeping children. And did I mention it was 8:40?!
While this didn’t happen everyday, it happened enough that I started to hear the voice of my mother questioning if I knew what time it was and didn’t I think I should think about getting up. I quickly shut her up by justifying the extra sleep as make-up time for the sleep deficit I have incurred since 2005.
Now that I’ve taught my children to appreciate the art of sleeping in, I think I can successfully say I’ve truly accomplished one of my goals as a parent. Next up: teaching the children to do laundry, vacuum, clean their bedrooms, and advanced calculus. EASY!