I’ve been working nights for years. This wouldn’t be a big deal if I wasn’t already working days and mornings, too. I’ve mentioned a few (dozen) times already, but I have the two kiddos to get up and out of the house every morning, while I get up and out of the house as well to head to the school where I teach at-risk teenagers. Then I come home with my kiddos, get them into bed and use the tiny sliver of energy I have left to crank out brilliant work, or at least what passes for brilliant after being awake for 14 hours.
As I write this I’ve been up for 15 hours and spent roughly 7 of those preparing kids for the big standardized test next week. If you think teaching or parenting is an easy job, I’d beg to differ, but that’s a post for a different day. Rather than a sobbing, whiny poor-pitiful-me story (too late!), I’m going to be proactive and see if a change is in order. I’m going to reverse my days.
Naps, No More!
Once upon a time when I was only a WAHM – not a WOHM and WAHM at the same time, I got the advantage of serious naptimes. I could do most of my work during naps, finish up at night and pretend to get plenty of sleep. Then the naps disappeared. Now the bedtime is moving a bit later as the kids get older. Soon we’ll be starting up sports that push into the evenings. I’m running out of time! Of course, I could write while they are up and playing Wii or whatever, but I like to think that their waking hours when we’re all home from school is the time I give them exclusively every day.
So that leaves me two choices: later nights or earlier mornings.
Scheduling Necessary Changes
I’ve been rocking the later nights, but I’ll be honest with you –it’s starting to really suck. I’m unproductive without massive amounts of efforts and caffeine to gear myself up for work every night. Even when I am working like a champ, I’m sacrificing sleep or time I need to do other things around the house, which plays mental havoc on the tired brain. Most of the time I’m just plodding along when I’d be flying if I had even an ounce of the considerable energy the rest of my life requires.
So I’m going to try things the other way for a while.
Tomorrow morning I’m going to get up at 5am. The boys won’t be getting up until 7am most likely. (For the record, I’m writing this Friday night – days ahead of the posting date. I amaze myself with my dedication to my sacred calendar). I’m going to write a single article, although it’s a doozy. It will probably take over an hour to piece it together and I have to leave time for teeth brushing and face washing and the sullen monitor staring that precludes a nice caffeine rush.
Hopefully I’ll knock out that work like nobody’s business and then I’ll have a new routine. On Sunday I’ll get up at 4 and make it a point to get to bed by 9 that night to get up at 4 the following morning. I get two uninterrupted hours in the morning (kids get up at 6:15ish on weekdays) to be brilliant when my mind is fresh and then I get to actually relax for five seconds at the end of the day.
Before you point out the obvious, I realize I’m only allowing myself seven hours of sleep every night, but that’s more than I’m getting now anyhow, so it’s not a huge concern at this point. Two hours might not sound like a lot of work time, either, but its’ roughly the amount of time I schedule for myself in the evenings since I write part-time, so that’s a not a big problem either. Or at least I don’t think it will be. We’ll find out.
This is a noble experiment, and by the time this post goes live, I’ll have some data to share. Of course, I probably will be back to nights out of sheer habit after five years, but I’m going to give it a try at least. What are working mothers if not flexible?