Extra, Extra

The clocks “turned back” last night – which is something I really hate. Okay, so it’ll be nice to be able to run in the morning without needing a flashlight, and it’s cool that the girls won’t have to wait for the bus in total darkness – but in a month, it’ll be dark again – because, you know, seasons… and sunset at 4:30pm is pure nonsense. Time change = dumb.

Still… for a few days until we’ve fully adjusted to the new time, we’ll all awaken a little early – which will be super helpful, given that the girls’ wake-up time is much earlier than they’d like it to be. And today? I actually have time to write this post because of the extra hour. SWEET FANCY MOSES.

During this spare hour, I’ve also had time to peruse Facebook (something I do sparingly these days), and I’ve noticed many of my friends with young children lamenting the fact that this “extra” hour is really an hour of torture – because their offspring do not get the time change memo, nor can they, like, get themselves up and dressed and fed without parental supervision. So not only are their ‘rents up super early, they have to entertain their children for an additional 60 “bonus” minutes.

I know that I’ve written about this before, but it’s important so I want to reiterate it: for all you parents out there whose kiddos’ bodily clocks get them up at an ungodly time for the first few days of “falling back” — HANG IN THERE.

It gets better.

I’ve been there, I swear. I vividly remember meticulously putting the girls to bed 15 minutes earlier every day for a week prior to the time change, hoping to reset their bodily clocks, because I knew damned well they were accustomed to a VERY SPECIFIC amount of sleep and waking at a VERY SPECIFIC time.

“Extra” hour, my ass.

So, yes. I remember.
But today? Today, my 11 and 13 year-olds, who normally have to awaken at 6 a.m. and pry themselves out of bed to be at the bus stop before 7:00am (and whose bodies desperately need more sleep because of growing and whatever), slept in until I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHEN, because they were sleeping and quiet. I, on the other hand, woke up at 6:10am (which felt like 7:10 aka heaven) and had HOURS TO MYSELF to run and breathe and walk the dogs. (And check Facebook.)
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This has nothing to do with anything because I don’t have End of Daylight Savings photos, but anyway. 

The time change debacle was one of those annoying things about parenthood that seemed like it would never end, as though we’d always be stuck in those trenches. But then? Amazingly? It did.

Likewise with other areas of parenting. You know how, when your kids were young and no one else was available to watch them, you needed to weigh the pros and cons of every single out-of-the house activity based on how emotionally exhausting it would be to drag your kids with you? How your 6 year-old could’ve been in the middle of dropping a deuce and you’d practically have pulled them off the throne because your 10 year-old needed to get to dance practice? Or how you’d have to take your 4 year-old with you to the dentist and prayed they wouldn’t find the sample drawer? Or how a dinner with friends could be cancelled after you’d put on your heels because the sitter was having car trouble and you had no one else to watch the baby?

Well, one day, your cherubs will likely be able to stay home. Alone. Without maiming one another or burning the house to the ground (fingers crossed). And, suddenly, worlds will open up that you didn’t even know existed – worlds where you can grocery shop all by yourself. DREAM BIG, Y’ALL.

Okay, truth be told, by the time they’re able to stay home alone, they’re likely into myriad other activities that take place well into the evening – often at opposite ends of town – and you’ll have to clone yourself or find carpool magic mamas to get your offspring where they need to be. And while they’re home alone, they might forget to feed the dogs or accidentally leave the garage doors open. So it’s not perfect.

What I’m saying is: parenthood goes through stages – and many of the difficult ones do, mercifully, come to an end. The worrying stage? The self-doubt stage? The stage where you wonder how the humans you created or raised can be so different from you? Alas, those seem permanent.

But, at some point, your not-so-littles will probably be able to stay home alone. And go trick-or-treating without a chaperone. And attend movies and wander the mall and walk from practice into town without adult accompaniment. They’ll be able to make dinner, do their laundry, prep their lunches, and contact their teachers. (I’m not saying they will do these things, HAHAHA, but they’ll be able to*.)

And, someday, the clocks will fall back and they’ll just keep sleeping.
Yes, my girls now spend 90% of their time in the rooms and are ridiculously tall and there are days when I’m lucky to understand the grunts that pass for “conversation”… But the time change DOES GET BETTER.
You will get that extra hour back, for real.

Unless you have pets who also don’t get the End Of Daylight Savings memo.
Then, all bets are off.

(*I do understand that these statements are written from the perspective of a parent of neurotypical children – that, for some families, these “milestones” may never occur… Thanks for understanding this, too, and knowing that there are no absolutes, and that there’s awesomeness in all kinds of families.) 

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