January usually sweeps in with a rash of resolutions and new leaves, and our family is not immune to the allure of fresh starts. Once the Christmas season winds down and the festivities are behind us, we generally attempt to take stock and, in the process of returning to our normal routines, ask ourselves what we want the status quo to be.
Some good resolutions in past years have included reading a certain number of books on a weekly basis, drinking more water, and trying to play outside every day. (And, of course, one of my all-time favorites was my recurring resolve—when pregnant—to gain weight in the New Year.)
But one thing that doesn’t make the list is a resolve to get up earlier. We’re very comfortable with our laid-back morning routine. It’s our way of making sure everyone gets out on the right side of bed, providing ample time for a hot breakfast (most mornings), and generally ensuring domestic tranquility. And it’s not likely to change, except accidentally, now and then, by a random time change that hits us harder than usual, and which takes us many grudging and grumpy days to get over.
(We’ve had a sketchy year on the time change front, with the annual Daylight Savings Time switcheroo compounded by the move to and back from another country that’s usually an hour off from our time here on the East Coast. The fact is that we will use any and all excuses to sleep a little later.)
This isn’t to disparage the importance of getting enough sleep, of course, or of exercising self-discipline. I agree in principle with the studies that show that sleep gotten before midnight is more beneficial, and I’m all for the principle of learning discipline.
It’s just that some of our most stressful stretches have been when we had standing early morning appointments. As much as we loved swim lessons, for instance, we were not fond of dragging ourselves out the door at such an unprecedented hour, and I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when that class came to an end. We further resolved to stick to afternoon classes, if we couldn’t find a late enough mid-morning slot. The same goes for Bible studies, co-op classes, and medical appointments. We can practice self-discipline all day long by sharing toys, performing dreary chores, giving up desserts, and other methods. Aspiring to make everyone grumpy isn’t high on my list of virtues.
On the topic of virtues, I know there are plenty of Bible verses and wise proverbs extolling the merits of early rising. Of course, I believe in balance in all things; and, while not advocating outright sloth, I’ve always been fond of this alternative viewpoint: “Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing” (Proverbs 27:14).
On a more serious note, I’m okay with acknowledging that early nights and consequent early mornings just don’t work for our family for now. We’ve had young children and new babies around for so long that we’re just grateful for whatever sleep we can get, without worrying too much about whether it comes before or after midnight.
Maybe there will be a season of life when we can all cheerfully emerge from our domicile, fed and clothed and in our right minds, before nine o’clock. But this is not that day.
What are some counter-intuitive resolutions you’ve made for this year?
Photo Credit: First graphic courtesy of iStock. Following images courtesy of author.