Everything seems to come down to getting enough sleep. I can wake up full of energy and vitality, which sometimes comes crashing down after a couple of hours, or I can wake up wishing I didn’t have to, and potter through the day achieving very little, not even relaxation.
I have the additional problem that 3son seems to think he can stay up to midnight and still get up at half past six or earlier. He can’t. He can do it once, maybe twice, but then he takes a day off. I find myself stopped from going to sleep early as I need to get him to bed first. For the last few days before half term I gave up and just went to sleep before him but then I feel guilty which doesn’t help either.
School holidays need, for me, to be at least two weeks long. The first week is always spent in a bit of a daze as I try and catch up on sleep and it is as if I don’t actually wake up properly for the first four or five days. Then I get used to it and then I want to go and be active. By which time we’re normally back at school.
So it was with this May half term just passed. Monday morning hit us all, with 4son refusing to get up at all, taking the day off. I managed a couple of hours work in the morning and then just shambled through the rest of the day, with no enthusiasm for doing anything.
I got angry with this, thinking that I have another five years of getting up too early and feeling tired and I cannot put my life on hold for so long. Those days that I just stumble through bring me down and make me feel useless, something I really don’t need.
Rather than just feel miserable, I decided to take action. I told 3son that I was re-setting my alarm clock for 7am. If he wanted to get up earlier, that was his choice, but I was having none of it. I suppressed (mostly) the feeling that not getting up with your child is Bad Parenting.
Then, in the morning, rather than see them off to school whilst drinking a strong pot of tea to wake me up, do my morning exercise and then settle down to work, I’ve just done the washing up while half asleep while they get ready for school, seen them out the front door and gone back to bed.
I’ve then woken up at 9, 10 or 11 feeling refreshed. I complete my daily exercise which helps wake me up and then get on with the day. Although I might only get a couple of hours work done before they get home, I’m more awake and will tend to work on in the evening rather than feeling tired, useless and not very sleepy.
I also realised that this change in routine is a literal interpretation of “me first”, the idea of putting my personal well being above the responsibilities of getting work done or expectations of being at work by 9am. It’s an admission that I am not functioning properly and I need to make changes so that I can live better and that life doesn’t pass me by in a sleepless haze.