I’m a fan of sleep. Always have been. And not to brag but in the correct (clearly childless) conditions I’m really bloody good at it. In fact a mere 3.5 years ago I would have confidently told you that the only good reason for being awake before 7am was to travel to an exotic and far flung location and even then I would have advocated indulging in a few resets of the faithful old “snooze button”. But sadly, I was wrong, it turns out there is a yet an even more compelling reason to vacate your bed at an ungodly hour and it normally involves a small child prising your eyes open with their fingers whilst simultaneously kicking you in the stomach.
So without further ado I present you with the 13 signs your child is an early riser:
1. You are intimately familiar with the morning CBeebies schedule and firmly believe any proposed changes should be run past you first. I like tea with my Tee and Mo ta.
2. You have developed hobbit-like feeding patterns indulging in breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies and lunch all before noon, each instalment has a 90% sugar composition and is accompanied by caffeine, all the caffeine.
3. You check the clock wondering how many hours it is until bedtime and then recoil in horror when you realise it’s only 8am. Wait, what??!
4. You get to nursery before any of the staff have even arrived wearing mismatched socks and a wild eyed look of desperation.
5. A 10 am ‘morning’ playgroup feels like an absolute piss take, you are 5 hours into your day.
6. The wine in the fridge starts winking at you when you’re preparing the kids’ lunch but you are so tired that a sneaky tipple is guaranteed to create a disastrous afternoon dynamic.
7. 7.30 am is an epic lie in.
8. Most days you end up playing “would you rather” a) let your overtired child nap and have a decent afternoon but a 9pm bedtime, or b) fight through an afternoon of fatigued tantrums but have a child-free evening. Either way you will end up wanting to pull your own hair out at some point.
9. You disregard all screen time recommendations, your child has had 3 hours by 8.30 am…no fucks given – early mornings are for tea/coffee and toast, not playing horsies and building dens.
10. Nursery tell you that your sleep thief had a 20 minute snooze at nap-time because he “couldn’t keep his eyes open”. What you want to say: “Oh for the love of god… now he won’t go to bed until I do, do you understand what you’ve done, do you woman, do you!? I’m so tired, can’t you just keep him for the night?”. What you actually say: “Oh bless him, little sleepy sausage, I’m not surprised – he’s been up since 5am! Next time please can you wake him though?”
11. Everyone tells you a groclock will change your life. You want to punch them. (Said child loves gro clock, but loves getting out of bed even more).
12. Daylight savings time can do one. Really. Everyone else is looking forward to a lie in, you are anticipating an extra hour of sleep addled parenting where it seems no one else in the world is awake. What once heralded a guilt free extra hour of snoozedom now signals the need for intricate planning (possibly involving moving clocks by 10 minute intervals for the next 6 days) and caffeine. Did I mention caffeine already?
13. You harbour secret fantasies of waking your children up at 5am once they have become sulky teenagers who sleep in until noon. Hey, a girl can dream. (Except, well, dreaming requires actual sleep…)