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.