Middleagedmum.com: early riser

Image from The Guardian

It’s ironic that as parents we spend a great deal of our children’s early lives wishing they would either go to sleep or stay asleep and spend their teenage years wishing they would wake up! I have to admit I am slightly jealous of my teens ability to sleep for twelve hours at a stretch, no matter what time they finally fell into bed. It is also ironic that they keep us up half the night when they are little with nightmares and aches and pains, and continue to keep us awake when they are teens, while we have nightmares about where they might be and what could happen to them.

There  are times however, when everyone is safety home, tucked up in bed, it’s the weekend or a holiday and everything is in place for a long nights sleep and a lie in. Then ping – at  5 am, I’m wide awake – more awake than the most alert person from Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed on Sea, for no apparent reason!

I dare to peak at the bedside clock knowing exactly what time it’s going to say. I sigh and try to think nice thoughts and relax. I tell myself I can get back to sleep, but I think we all know I can’t. I can lie there decorating my dream house in Cannonbury for as a long as I want, but eventually the practical thoughts will start creeping in. There’s pile of washing to do /blog post to write/Christmas presents to buy/presentation to finish/Christmas cake to feed……………. So at 5.30am , I get up to find that someone has decided to have cereal at midnight and there is no milk for a cup of tea.

On a good day I can potter about in a gentle self indulgent way, eating toast and hopefully drinking tea, catching up on unwatched tv, while surfing the net and browsing through the plies of magazines I buy, but never have time to read. On a bad day, I am like a woman possessed and by the time the rest of the family have risen several hours later, I have walked the dog, written a feature, cleaned the inside of the kitchen cupboards and made a lemon drizzle cake.

But I am no domestic goddess believe me, I may have made the house look and smell nice, but boy will they suffer when they get up. My resentment of their 8 -12 hours uninterrupted sleep knows no bounds. I will huff and puff and simmer my way through the day, nagging and chuntering about how I am the only one who does anything in this house, only to collapse in a sobbing heap around 3.30, with MAD practically begging me to go and have a lie down. I might manage a quick power nap, but will continue to make everyone suffer, until I nod off nan style around 9pm, after two glasses of wine and the X Factor – it’s rock and roll in our house.

I’m not sure what the answer is, and it doesn’t seem to be just me who has this problem. Many friends of a similar age are having sleep/early waking problems too, as sadly it seems to be yet another symptom of the meanopause. We all agree however, that as we get older we hate the idea of wasting the day lying in bed, but it would be nice to occasionally have the choice.

I am posting this at 6am, having been up for an hour already, I may have to go and queue outside the Post Office with the other old ladies soon! Then watch out teens, I might need to hoover outside your bedroom door.


  • gillian taylor says:

    Oh I am a great fan of the after lunch rest! Just like we used to try and make the children have when they were small!! Just a little lie down of the sofa with afteroon tv and a blanket – no sleeping or you feel like hell!! Sets you up till wine o’clock and early bed!

  • Anna says:

    I feel for you Jane – I share the personality change that lack of sleep can cause. I don’t wake early but am frequently kept awake by a gently snoring husband. I become murderous and am awful to him in the morning!! I have been known to work out how much sleep he had and compare it to how much I had, then moan throughout the day.

  • Jane says:

    Oh I can relate to the comparison thing Anna. Big time!! Jx

  • Osnat Lippa says:

    Totally identify with what you are saying Jane. From the moment my kids were born, sleep has never been the same. For their first four years sleepless nights were the norm, I felt like I was being on a constant jet lag, now they sleep till noon while I rarely sleep an uninterrupted sleep anymore. I think it’s our fate as women, but there is nothing better than that time of the evening when so tired one collapses on the sofa, in front of some TV drama or other and nods off. I cherish that moment and always feel I deserve it.xx

  • Jane says:

    I so agree Osnat, I do wish I could occasionally stay up late and lie in though!! Jx

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