The Morning Happiness Gene
I didn’t inherit the happy-in-the-morning gene. When I wake up I’m grumpy, I’m mean and I have the social grace of solitary, carnivorous wild animal. I’ll bite your head off if I’ve not yet had at least one pot of coffee. My sister on the other hand — you can go jump on her bed, plug her nose and she just rolls over and smiles at you. Really. I’ve tried it. She’ll just look at me and say in this sweet sleepy voice, “Good morning beautiful.”
I know … it’s disgusting isn’t it. For years I was jealous of her happy-in-the-morning attitude.
For me, early morning is the coveted “me time” — it’s too early for my “crack berry” to sing, I feel more creative than I do at any other time of day; I can go through email, work on a creative project and read through the news without interruption, and I can do it all with a cup of coffee in my hand and nobody competing for my attention. I NEED my solo morning time more than a junkie needs her dope.
When my son started sleeping through the night and our sleep cycles were once again even-keeled, I quickly realized that if I was grumpy in the morning, he was grumpy in the morning. It was a bad, bad combination. I love to get up at half past rooster time, but I don’t want my child to be out of bed that early. I mean really, how did anyone expect me to be a nice parent before I was awake? Young children apparently want things when they get out of bed … hugs, kisses, parental chatter; they want to plan their day and for goodness sake they even expect breakfast. And, they want all those things regardless of whether or not their parent is ready to fully appreciate a new day.
To help everyone get a brighter daily start, we adjusted our expectations and our schedules to better fit our personalities. The bottom line is that Aaron needs 10-11 hours of sleep a night. So if I want him to sleep in the morning, he needs to go to bed a little later at night. Putting him to bed early meant he was waking up when I was waking up … which was before I’d had that pot of coffee I mentioned. It was ugly.
Once I figured out how to manipulate his schedule, I realized I didn’t need the happy-in-the-morning gene after all. When my son wakes up, I’ve had an hour or two of solo time (and my coffee), and I when I hear the pitter patter of his little feet headed for my office, I smile and say, “Good morning handsome. I’m so happy to see you.”
What have you had to adjust to help make parenting a happier experience?