Sunday, April 18, 2010

The thing that parenthood really takes out of you

Up early again to enjoy the cloudless, planeless blue sky. A Twitter acquaintance, struggling with small children, envies me being able to sit in the garden with a book and a cup of tea. I assure him that the storyline of parenthood begins with them waking you in the middle of the night, continues with them getting you up early in the morning and then settles into a long period when the only person getting up is you. At that point you might have to wake these lanky young adults for a meal in the middle of the afternoon. In fact there are times when if you didn't intercede they would sleep right round the clock. My Twitter friend says, at least that means he can look forward to some lie-ins in the future. I didn't tell him that the experience of parenthood left me incapable of lying-in. It's one of those things that kids seem to discover the joys of just as you find you can do without it. I didn't want to spoil his day.


  1. As someone up at 6.30 to deal with a chicken pox raddled 3 yr old, I can vouch for the first two bits of the equation.

    Surely - as with BBC scheduling the Match Of The Day repeats early on a Sunday morning - there are more opportunities to cater for the early morning child caring constituency? Maybe a channel showing child friendly war films, and Scorsese movies with all the naughty words edited out? I'd buy...

  2. Seconded on being the only one up - still, it gives me the chance to relax with some Miles Davis and the delightful new Iain Shaw album while reading the papers. around half past ten, I need to start the process of wakening my elder daughter who is dancing in a show at the Armadillo : we got in last night from the show at 10:15pm, and it was well after midnight before there was any calm (it was a great show, of course).

    I think my inability to enjoy a long lie comes from years of early starts to travel for work, where I sleep more lightly knowing I need to be at the airport at 5am. My wife can still enjoy a long lie.

  3. My children have been out of the house occasionally in recent days and it's enabled me to lie in until about 8am. Friends without children think I'm joking.

  4. Whether it's age or parenthood, I don't know, but as I arose this morning at 6.43 I thought about how strange it is that just when your kids are sleeping all day, you can't. My parents were very odd. When I was young they got up astonishingly late, lazing around as I began my day, but by my teens they were up and about at the absolute crack of dawn. Took me years to realise they were getting up at about the same time, and it was me who had gone from childhood to the permasleep of adolescence as they stayed constant.

  5. Our five lads are aged between 5 and 10 and they're at that stage where they get up on their own at weekends and we can sleep in a little bit. What we don't have is any kind of respite throughout Saturday. Swimming lessons, two football matches, art class, parties. By the time lunch arrives my head spins with hunger and the stress of a major logistical operation.

  6. I have an 11 month son, and I'm doing a two hour commute morning and night. I haven't slept for more than 4 hours at a time in nearly two years, if you take into account my wife's sleepless nights when pregnant.

    A lie in for me is sleeping through the 5am alarm in the week until 630am...

  7. The Hepworth giveth, and the Hepworth taketh away...

    As that man who found some refuge and solace in David's comment on Twitter I'm now gutted to hear there was another size 9 falling from height...

    This said, I know exactly what he and others here mean. Long before my children were born I'd lost the ability to lie-in to a body clock that had decided the habit of 5 days a week might as well be rolled out to 7.

    What I do keep in mind (and heart) from David's original tweet of the picture above and his simple, blissful idyll of: 'Tea, book, garden, sun. Lovely.' is the opportunity to sit with a book and a cuppa in the morning, maybe some music playing (Miles Davis would be just dandy), without being accosted or harranged by my (wonderful) children. Roll on that teenage sloth! Godspeed You! Black Wallpaper.

  8. David - the teenagers sleeping loads stuff - are you checking what time they go to sleep?

    When I was young I'd sleep in all hours but stay up half the night reading books.

    In retrospect, I think going semi-nocturnal was a strategy to avoid my parents interfering in my life.

  9. It's known that teenagers need more sleep than we do - developmentally, they're akin to toddlers in many ways - and yet nature's practical joke on the rest of us is that they think they need less. Ha bloody ha.

  10. "Godspeed You! Black Wallpaper."

    Best thing I've read, anywhere, in weeks! Brilliant!!