The reverse lie-in (and feeling tired all the time)

I have deep admiration for morning people. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. This wasn’t really a problem until I had children.

Even during the halcyon days of working in magazine publishing in London, I could get away with sleeping until about 8.15am, rolling out of bed and taking an old Routemaster bus to Regent Street in time for a 9.30am soft start.

No-one really tells you, do they, exactly how huge a mother’s sleep deficit really is. Thankfully, the days of small children jumping into the marital bed are (touch wood) over. We can get through the night without being disturbed, punched, kicked, jabbed in the ribs or poked in the eye. We can even keep the duvet on until morning time.

Gone (Hallelujah!) are the days when Son2 would hop into bed and need me to face him, with my arm over him at a certain angle – like doing yoga, without the relaxing effect. Nor am I tempted anymore to make late-night calls to DH in his hotel room, under the pretext of needing support, but really out of sleep envy.

Alarm clock, be gone. I'm ditching you for a natural-sounding, cascading dawn chorus in line with my circadian rhythm.
Alarm clock, be gone. I’m ditching you for a natural-sounding, cascading dawn chorus in line with my circadian rhythm.

Yet, despite the progress we’ve made in this department, I’m still tired all the time. I’m pretty sure this is due not only to the daily gymkhana that all mothers compete in, but also largely because of the early starts associated with school-sized children in the UAE.

DH is quite confounded by this. He regularly gets up before the lark, at 1am, 12.30am or earlier to fly through the night (requiring 7pm bedtimes). On a good night, if he’s flying a cushy European flight, the silver dream car that picks him up for work doesn’t arrive until 5.30 or 6am, allowing him a ‘lie-in’ until 5am or so.

So, as you can imagine, I didn’t get much sympathy when I was lamenting the fact that tomorrow morning I have what is, in my mind, a shockingly early 7.15am meeting with Son2’s teacher.

“It’s easy,” he said with a grin. “Just start from the time you have to get up and work backwards.”

Kind of like a reverse lie-in, I suppose. But I’m an owl, I countered with a sigh. I love my sleep, but I also love the quiet time in the late evening and tend to stay up too late.

I’ll give it a go, and if it doesn’t make early starts less painful, I’m investing in one of those apps that promises to not jar you out of a deep REM slumber, but instead taps into your natural circadian rhythm and rouses you gently. It’s either that or a teasmaid.

2 thoughts on “The reverse lie-in (and feeling tired all the time)

  1. I hate to tell you, but I am still alert to the soft pad of my 14 year old entering our bedroom in the small hours. If I’m lucky, he is accompanied by the mattress from the spare room, if not then his 6 foot frame lands solidly between us in the bed. I have been known to be in the kitchen warming milk at 3 am, while my son pours his heart out about exams, friends and life in general. I’m not sure that you can ever stop being a mother, even at night.

  2. Yuk – 7.15 is far too early. We leave the house at 7.40 these days for an 8am start at school. It’s not an hour I remember that well from the pre-kids days…..

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