“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
— Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin was famous for his productivity, which we are assured he maintained by getting up each day at 5 a.m. He also went to bed promptly at 10 p.m.
Frankly, I think he was bordering on becoming a night owl — 10 p.m.? On purpose? I’m a strict 9:30 p.m. bedtime person.
Perhaps that is why I am not a renowned inventor? Do all of the good inventions happen after 9:30 p.m.? I’m already asleep.
I didn’t always go to bed early. I used to stay up and watch “The Late Show.” I knew what Leno and Letterman monologues had to say. I closed a few nightclubs in my day. I watched the sunrise over 24-hour diner coffee. Then I had children.
Anyone who says “I slept like a baby” must have never experienced an actual baby. For the most part, they aren’t known for their rock-solid sleep habits.
Our first child, for example, slept for three solid days upon being born. Having successfully fooled us, he then stayed awake for the next nine years. This is to say that BoyWonder was basically nocturnal — a fact I would not realize until years after the fact.
When I think of the hours spent trying to “put him down at night” as a baby — at a very early hour per the prescribed idea of how much sleep an infant should need — I could weep louder than he did.
He would stand in the crib, perplexed, as to why I was laying him down when he was just hitting his stride. He would grow into an accomplished and capable adult who absolutely thrives working nights.
Our second child gave me hope. At four years old, she would appear at the top of the stairs in her nightgown each evening “mommy can you tuck me in?” That girl loved bedtime.
Regardless of bedtime, early in parenting, I decided that the only way to stay ahead of the children was to literally get up earlier. I aimed to rise and glow (if not shine) at least two hours before they did.
I had time to sip coffee, catch up on the morning news, do some reading, dress myself, start dinner and even do some cleaning by the time the children were waking up. It was glorious. I was ready to rock and roll by 7 a.m. daily. This, of course, also meant I no longer stayed up for “The Late Show.”
Flip side of early
Now I rise and shine early at the behest of my dog. Nova is an early riser. She keeps me in check. We get up very early. I stand on the porch and peruse the (often dark) landscape as they do their business.
We come in. We snuggle on the sofa. I sip coffee. The dogs, having fulfilled their duty as a cuddly alarm clock, go back to sleep. Traitors.
Recently, I left the office at 4:15 p.m. I had a nine-minute commute. Arriving home, I greeted and snuggled the dogs and also Mr. Wonderful; yes, the snuggles were in that order.
I made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, tidied the house, and finally changed into my lounge clothes, aka pajamas. I did all of this and realized it was 5 p.m., and I was completely ready for bed. The flip side of getting up before dawn is that I also am ready for bed before the clock strikes double digits.
My friends know me as the “home by 9 p.m.” gal. I have, in fact, carefully cultivated a friend group that knows that all activities should end promptly at — if not before — 9 p.m.
If you are wired to be a night owl, I salute you. In fact, I rely on you to tell me about anything exciting that happens after 9 p.m.
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