On Being a Night Owl

I’ve never been much of a morning person.

In college I used to avoid classes scheduled earlier than 10:00 AM as much as possible. I just never felt fully awake or engaged before 10 AM. My first real job was an internship with seriously weird hours: 5-10 PM weekdays and 9-5 weekends: I was working for a political consultant and with campaigns, every hour counts. I LOVED those hours. Eventually I began my career as a PR professional and the morning issue became irrelevant: I needed to work every single hour possible to get the most work done. I still found my best work was completed from 5-10 PM, and I often worked late, but I needed to be “on” in the mornings too. I think adrenaline was the key to my being able to handle the mornings, because most of my most important meetings were in the mornings and I was able to excel then. If I had to.

I was in that profession for a long time. Then I got very ill.

It took me a long time to recover from that illness: about a year. After that, I worked from home. I was primarily a customer service person and a very good and devoted one. But I worked seven days a week, and odd hours.

Then (eventually after a ton of crap) the twins were born. My husband was both working a grueling full-time job while pursuing an MBA at night and on the weekends. He just wasn’t available to help most of the time. The twins were preemies, and needed feeding around the clock. (My daughter needed to be fed every 1-2 hours because of acid reflux.) I was pumping and breastfeeding and my supply was awful. We couldn’t afford a night nurse. And so, I became the night nurse. At first, my parents stayed in our city for six weeks and relieved me at 7 AM every morning so I could sleep a few hours. Then my brother joined in a month later. My MIL would come evenings to share the load, and my FIL, when the babies were old enough, would come every afternoon to help me down from our third story walk-up so we could take the twins for a walk. I can’t stress enough how critical this help was.

My day would begin like this: at about 10:30 or 11:00 AM my mom would wake me up. I’d go get a Jamba Juice (I had to have the Matcha Green Tea Blast) then my day would begin in earnest: pumping, then feeding then burping then playing then napping (with my anxiously watching their every breath) then breastfeeding then pumping then medicine for my daughter, then changing diapers then bathing. Rinse and repeat until 6 AM.

I loved the late evenings. Darcy would be home from business school at 11:00 PM, and would immediately go to bed because he needed his seven hours of sleep to face his insane schedule. And I would stay up. I watched a lot of old movies on low volume, and kept a hawk eye on my babies. I have extremely fond memories of this period. I watched “Mrs Miniver” for the first time (a favorite now) and sang the kids lullabies from the Karaoke channel and read the Aesop fairy tales to them. My daughter had to be propped up a lot because of her reflux, and was feisty from the get-go: her distinctively loud voice was prominent from the moment she was born, when she screamed so loudly that everyone (and there were dozens) of people in the OR laughed. My son was (deceptively) laid-back and mellow. It seems to me looking back that I was at my full potential during this time: I really rose to the occasion. Was it the schedule? Or is this the evolutionary thing everyone talks about, where you don’t remember how hard labor was so you’ll do it again? I don’t know. But I think this period was my finest moment, my Churchill war years if you will.

Rollin’ with my Homies

But my body clock is still messed up by it. I detest getting up, still, everyday, at 7:30 AM. It feels like torture. I love to write at night. I love to read at night.

Are you a morning or night person? And if you are one or the other, why?

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10 Comments

Filed under Parenting After IF

10 responses to “On Being a Night Owl

  1. I loathe mornings. I’m not grumpy, I’d just rather have a coffee, chant, and be quiet til about 11am. I’m never the one who wants to get up in the dark and climb a mountain so I can see the sun rise or something. Who cares? I’d rather stay up late and and read or write or watch movies or whatever. Mornings are for suckers. Of course, the joke is on me, I’m up early every morning with my kid. And even he drinks his milk and watches TV or plays quietly until I’ve had a half cup of coffee or so.

  2. I am 100% a night owl (never scheduled a college class to start before 10-11am either). That has 100% been the hardest adjustment for me with a baby – the early mornings. UGH. When I was a child (elementary school aged), my Mom gave up on enforcing a bedtime for me – I just had to be in my room by 8:30… then I was free to read until the wee hours of the morning. As long as I made it on the bus by 7am, Mom quit caring how late I stayed up. Maybe that’s because her father (my gpa) is the same way, and to this day (at 85 yrs old), he is a night owl as well. It’s just part of me!

  3. For most of my life, I’ve had trouble falling asleep. Mornings were horrible. About two years ago, my insomnia reversed itself and I became a premature waker. If my husband can keep me up past midnight it’s a major achievement. I think it’s probably because I’ve already been lying in bed awake for hours, but I can actually smile at people at 7am now!

  4. Happy first day of NaBloPoMo! Great post! I am a night owl too, but I don’t know why. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. Most nights I feel tired about the time we put the kids to bed (7 – 8 pm) and then get a second wind about the time I am trying to go to bed myself, about 10 – 10:30 pm. I am most creative and inspired to write at that time, which isn’t ideal for my family (the rest of whom are early risers/morning people). I tend to allow myself to give in to my night owl tendencies one or two nights a week and that is when some of my best blog entries have been written (often in a notes app on my phone that I later email to myself). Years ago I struggled with insomia and still do now and then. On those nights I used to watch some of my favorite movies and/or ones that I found relaxing (especially the beginning of On Golden Pond, I love the instrumental theme song of that movie). Okay, I feel like I am rambling now and am typing on my phone, so I will wrap up now. Thanks for sharing your experience being a night owl and that adorable photo of your kids when they were babies.

  5. TOTALLY a night person. I leave for the hospital in the evening and stay until around 1 am. I sleep 4 hours then begin my round the clock pumping schedule again- rinse and repeat indeed. I am always struck by moms who complain about lack of sleep after a newborn. I wonder what they expected it to be like before. Sleep is for the weak when you have children… that’s just how it is. Hoot. Hoot. ;o)

  6. I love to read and write at night. it’s the only time I truly have to myself and I cherish it, even when I’m exhausted.

    I move slowly in the AMs. I wake up tired since the baby hardly sleeps at night. I hate to be rushed, need to ease into the day, which is often impossible. definitely not on my game until I’ve had tea/coffee and breakfast. in my past life, I used to love to stretch in the AM to get the blood pumping. but now I have NO time for myself until naptime.

    when I work though, I’m most productive in the AM. least productive in the afternoon when I get tired a couple of hours after lunch. then able to work again at night with some quiet.

  7. I am a night person. I could easily stay up until 2:00 in the morning each night and would love every minute of it. Matthew wakes up all together too early (6:00 – 6:30) and it pisses me off every single day. HA!

  8. I used to be a night owl, but over the last year or so I have switched. I love going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. I get up and go work out then start my day. When I get up late the day goes by a lot quicker and I feel like I wasted it sleeping.

  9. I used to be more of a night owl. My whole family are night owls, my mom & sister especially. My mother will often be puttering around the house or watching movies until 2 a.m., & then sleeps in until 10. She was a working mom for most of my childhood, but mostly part time, so she could do that, & now that she’s retired…!

    When we lived in the city, I could get up just before 7 & be at the office by 8:30, & so I could stay up to watch Letterman. These days, out in the suburbs, I have to be up just before 5 to make the train at 6:30 or 6:45, which gets me to the office before 8 — so I am generally in bed no later than 10 & often earlier. My mother says, “Oh, you’ve always been a morning person,” but I don’t think it’s that — I don’t feel especially energized or talkative in the morning. I think you just do what you’ve gotta do. ; ) Actually, I think I’m more of a middle of the day person, lol. I find I tend to hit my stride at work mid-morning — just in time for lunch, lol. ; )

    It’s hard when we go home to visit my family, particularly the first while we’re there. There’s a time difference — only an hour, but still… around 9 or 10 p.m., everyone wants to start playing cards, & I really have to struggle to stay awake sometimes.

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