Sunday, February 20, 2011

Night Owls

I was over at Boom's A Woman Distracted web space and read this post about being a night owl and blogging.  It could be about me.

For over 20 years my dear hubby traveled with his work. He would be gone for two or three weeks at a time, sometimes only home for the weekend, hardly ever for more than a week. I was a mom at home with four kids. The days were busy and hectic but the nights belonged to me. I could sew, craft, bake, and create to my heart's content - with no interruptions.

Then we moved to Wyoming and he changed careers. Home every night, and every day too at first, as he took off most of a year to build our home. I thought I would go crazy!

I would go to the store and when I got home he wanted to know what took so long, "I was worried that you had car trouble." "No, just ran into a friend and we went for a soft drink." He thought it was thoughtless of me to not let him know I was delayed.  I thought, "are you kidding, you never cared before."

Finally one day I had had it.  I blew up and blasted him with all of this and more: "I am not a child, you do not have to check up on me." "Rest assured if I had problems I do know how to use a phone." "For all these years you have been gone I had to take care of things myself, and did just fine." "I have been used to being my own boss, coming and going when and where I wished, and if you have a problem with that it is your problem, not mine. You created this situation by your career choice so now you have to live with it."  He thought I had lost it, and was confused at why I was upset. He thought he was being a concerned husband. I thought he was smothering me. Fortunately we worked it out and are still happily married all these 20+ years later.

But one point of contention still kind of bugs him...this night owl thing. He needs twice as much sleep as I do, and wants to go to bed between 9 and 10.  He thinks I should do so too. I am usually just getting started on some project about that time. I used to go to bed, lay there and listen to the every night sound, watch the light of the moon move across the room, and be frustrated because I was "supposed to be sleeping" but couldn't. Some nights I would just be getting to sleep when his alarm would go off.  Lying awake in bed does not make one sleepy, but rather more wakeful, it seems.

Finally I just decided that I could not adjust my inner clock to someone else's, so now I do what I want. If I am tired I go to bed, if not I may be up until 1 or 2 doing my own thing. He gets more rest, I can actually go to sleep when I do go to bed, and things are much better... and his old complaint that he doesn't sleep well when I am not there has been proven not to be true. It was just a matter of getting used to it.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because as I have gotten older, I have had so many friends with the exact same problem.  And, it is often a point of contention in their homes.  As their husbands age they seem to want more sleep and as the women age they seem to need less and less - or at least in long stretches.  Many of them find that a twenty minute nap in the afternoon seems to do wonders to refresh them if they are lagging.  Is this abnormal, as our husbands say?  Are we all sleep deprived as they think?  Or is is just a part of aging that people who tend to be night owls become more so as they get older?  I don't know, but I do know that lying in bed for hours and hours without going to sleep in not productive, nor does it contribute to a happy home.  Staying up until I am tired, then going to bed and sleeping well until I wake up naturally (usually around 6 or 6:30 AM) works for me.  And I know that my mother was the same way.  She would go to bed, but was often still awake reading at 1 or 2 in the morning.  Maybe it is hereditary!

1 comment:

  1. Oh Aunt Connie I thought it was just me! You could have been describing what happens at my house! Only my hubby gets really grumpy & complains alot about my sleep habits. Hmmm..maybe it is hereditary! :) By the way, I love this new blog!