Wish me luck, early birds

There is a brilliant scene in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that struck a chord with me when I saw it. No, it wasn’t the one in which Clementine, played by Kate Winslet, erases her memories of boyfriend Joel, played by Jim Carrey. (Note that this would not be a far off assumption, since I saw the movie on a date with the 40-something man who lived under the same roof as his mother and wanted to forget it as fast as I could.)

No, it wasn’t the scene of Mark Ruffalo and Kirsten Dunst dancing in their underwear and smoking pot while Jim Carrey’s memories are being sucked out of his brain.

It was a scene in the very beginning of the movie. If I remember correctly, Joel wakes up in his bed and begins thrashing around until he finally works up enough momentum to get out from under the covers. I think about this scene every morning when my alarm goes off.

I think about it as I nestle deeper under my comforter and blankets and then hit the snooze button. Five minutes later, I hit the snooze again. And then again. Finally, after about 20-30 minutes of warning lights flashing and high pitched bells ringing at me from my Moonbeam alarm clock, I manage to get up — no thrashing, more like rolling over until part of my body falls out of bed and hits the floor. Needless to say, I am not a morning person.

I’ve learned to accept my non-morningness — sort of — along with the fact that my body requires 8 or 9 hours of sleep on a consistent basis to function at its best. This latter part is especially hard to accept because 1) no other adult I’ve ever met needs that much sleep (as a point of reference I would routinely sleep for 13 hours on weekends during my formative years); 2) I have a job that requires me to wake up before, say, noon; 3) I would have to go to bed at about 8:00 each night in order to get my quota, and that’s simply not practical or desirable; 4) I have kids and therefore will not be able to pay off my sleep debt, which is rivaling the national debt, until they’ve moved out of the house (unless T-Rex becomes like my former date); and 5) I’m sure there’s a #5, but I’m too tired to remember it.

So, what’s my point? I recently decided I needed more balance in my life (in lieu of sleep) and more time at home in the evenings, so I asked to work from 8 until 4 instead of 9 to 5. My boss granted me this flexibility with nary a blink, which I’m grateful for — she’s a terrific boss! But truthfully, I have no idea how I’m going to get my tired ass out of bed, showered and dressed, plus the kids up and ready (half of the week), drop them off at daycare, drive 35-40 minutes to work — all by 8:00. No. Idea.

Well, I have an idea and the math is not pretty.

I know people do this all the time. There was a point in my career when I could kind of do it, too…before having kids, before deciding I needed to write books and blogs, before…

Tomorrow’s my first attempt at the new schedule. Wish me luck.

Wake me, please!


15 thoughts on “Wish me luck, early birds

  1. I too need 8 or 9 hours of sleep at night, and I’m very lucky to be able to catch up most weekends. Although not lately. But I can feel the difference when Iv’e had enough sleep. I can’t imagine ever asking to start work at 8.

    Good luck, sleepyhead.

  2. Steve says:

    Well considering I am up and leaving my house by 5:25 AM every day for work (6:30 – 3:30 schedule) I know it can be done… it’s not easy or fun, but you have to what you have to do…

    Good luck..

  3. Hey, I made it! I had to literally drag my son out of bed this morning, because apparently he isn’t a morning person either. But I’m here.

    Steve, I know you’re an early riser. It’s such a foreign concept to me, although I used to get up at 5 every day when I first started working to take the train into NYC. (BTW, I can’t believe you’re looking at this site at 6:28 a.m.!!)

    Cindy/Jen, thank you for admitting that you too need sleep!

    Okay, must. find. coffee…

  4. Update: I’ve been staring off into space since writing the last comment. I might have fallen asleep sitting up; I’m not sure. NOW I’m off to find coffee.

  5. Oh, Susan. My work schedule (when I can actually roll out of bed) is 7:30-4:30. But sometimes it’s 8:00-5:00. But then again, it can be 8:30-5:30. And on my really lazy days it’s 9:00-6:00.

    I can’t even imagine having the added responsibility of getting little ones ready to go that early! I was lucky enough to have my husband take care of the morning routine with Gus.

    Good luck with your new schedule! Drink coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

  6. Lulu – I’ve managed to remain alert after a few cups of coffee. We’ll see how I do at dinnertime! I know 8-4 is not a horrible schedule at all, but it definitely was hard for this night owl to get her kids up and moving when I was barely moving myself. My bigger challenge in finding balance will be to leave work on time, especially on the days The Ex picks up the kids. On those days I’ve tended to work late until 7ish (which is still late even when you come in at 9 and tend to check work emails from home — like who is going to email me at night??). That’s simply no fun. And then I go home and putz around and/or write until midnight. If only I could go on 4-5 hours of sleep…

  7. Mike says:

    Being a morning person, I snicker ever-so-slightly at your plight.

    I’d see patients from 7-3 if I could, and I’m sure there’d be patients that would love an early morning appointment. If only I could find staff that felt the same way.


    ps…I imagine you’ll read this tomorrow as it’s about 7:30 pm and I figure you’re in bed by now, Susan πŸ™‚

  8. Mike – I never realized you were/are a morning person. If I had known I would have reconsidered our friendship. Kidding, of course, because…I’M TIRED AND AWAKE AND PUNCHY. HA!

  9. Steve says:

    Today I am reading it at 6:24… hahaha…

    I guess this is what happens when you live in N. Huntingdon (home of the Big Mac museum) but work in Robinson Twp.

  10. Sophie says:

    Susan, Susan, Susan. How I have struggled with this very thing. For the life of me, I cannot wake up fast. Or early. It is a well-worn joke at our house. My husband? He can go from loud snore to on his feet in two seconds flat. At 5:00 am. I take a good 15 minutes to fall out of bed and another 1/2 hour to get fully awake.

    I had thought that when Pumpkin was a baby and waking up at 5:00 that my night owl ways would change. Just because she woke up that early doesn’t mean that I changed into a morning person.

    However, I wish you the best of luck in this endeavor.

    My favorite saying: Yes, the early bird may get the worm, but the early worm gets EATEN.

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