I am a night owl. I love staying up late. I almost never hit the pillow before midnight and a lot of times it is 1 or 2 am. I’m not saying it's healthy, I’m just saying it's true. I also get up by 6 or 7 every morning, so it's not like I am just adjusting my schedule. I am voluntarily giving up sleep to be up this late. I know it sounds crazy. It sounds crazy to me too.
All day long I am the caretaker for my family. I get up before everyone else (unless some little person has decided 5 am is the designated wake up time for the day), and I go to bed last. I am quite happy with that. I love caring for everyone and my husband works super hard at two jobs while going to school to provide for our family. We are a team and this works for us and I wouldn’t change a thing… right? But I pour out all day long. I am touched and needed and called for and engaged to “watch” them do stuff and it's amazing, but, with the exception of a few brief moments here and there, I am giving. This is that season of life, and I am perfectly content with it except that… I could use a moment where no one needs me.
I stop Mommying at 8:00, 8:30 at the latest. Unless you are barf-type sick, maimed in such a way that you will bleed out before morning, or there is an actual fire, save it Sammy. Mom is done. I will spend time with dad before he goes to bed and then it's Mommy time. This is where I shine. I can do laundry, or prep for the next day, or just binge watch Hulu eating all the snacks I didn’t want to pull out in front of the kids because I didn’t want to share. I am alone. It is quiet. No one is pulling on my pants for any reason. There will be no dangerous things happening in the next room to investigate or hurt feelings to assuage. It’s just me; and I can’t stop.
I know what a reasonable bedtime hour is for someone my age with my schedule. I’m not an idiot. I am VERY tired during the day, everyday, and sometimes I take naps. Ok, a lot of times I take naps. I used to think I was tired in college. 19 year old me deserves a kick in the pants for that kind of lunacy. This is on a whole new level. I know why I’m tired, but I’m not willing to change it yet. I need this time. I spend time with God and with myself. I hear myself think, I solve the world's problems, I text my other night owl friends, and I just generally re-engage myself. I know I am trading one type of restoration for another, but at this stage in the game, my nights are my places where I find myself. And so, for now, I am an exhausted night owl by choice.
Maybe one day, when the baby owls need me less and I regain some of my day, I will want to sleep earlier. I have always appreciated the night, but with age I have come to see the value in sleep as well. It is a tough balance, and maybe one day I will be better at it.