Why the Time Change Sucks for Parents with Small Children
Dear Time Change,
I used to love the whole “fall back” part of you – the extra hour, getting to sleep in while still being on time for everything. Pure bliss. But things have changed for me. I am now a parent, and you have taken on a whole new meaning. Instead of toasting two 10 o’clocks (the time I’ve always set my clock back), I am now confronted with a toddler who can’t keep his eyes open until his prescribed bedtime of 8 p.m., but instead nods off an hour early. This may not seem like a big deal, and it isn’t – until the following morning.
If you were the parent of a naturally early riser, you would know the pain of being woken from a dead sleep by the pitter patter of little feet up to no good; way before you’re ready for it. Now, if said little bundle of joy goes to bed an hour early, you would know that wake-up call is going to be even earlier. One would think there would be a fair trade – an hour for an hour. Children do not adhere to logic, though. In fact, they shy away from anything resembling logic in any form. So the 6:00 a.m.-er is now a 4:00 a.m.-er. Having to wake at 4:00 a.m. is rough under any circumstance, but being ripped from a sound sleep for two straight weeks by the shining, smiling face of your two-year-old hours before the sun is scheduled to make its appearance is ungodly. Getting out of bed that early is only bearable if one is departing on an early flight to an exotic locale one has been dreaming of visiting. Other than that, it stinks.
So there you are, it’s four in the morning and dark as pitch outside. As a parent, you have to begin your morning rituals: diaper changes, breakfasts to make, coffee to drink (lots of coffee), teeth to brush, etc., etc. And all with one eye open and half awake. It sucks. Really, really sucks.
Time Change, you came knocking on most of the world’s doors three weeks ago. Three weeks of trying to get our kids to go to bed when they’re supposed to and wake up after we’ve, the parents, had a decent amount of sleep. Three long, hard weeks, filled with yawns, shortened tempers, and tears. I know it’s not really your fault I’ve been so damned tired these last 20-plus days. I know you’re some silly holdover from the First World War as a marginally successful attempt at conserving energy. If we were to stay in Daylight Saving Time (DLS), what exactly might that mean?
Well, first of all, we would continue to have more light in the evenings. People who are prone to seasonal affective disorder might have some relief from the winter-time blues. Some argue we would have fewer traffic accidents from driving in artificially darkened conditions after work and school. In addition, it’s estimated millions would be saved on lighting and heating of homes.
But then we have to look at the cons. People living in the far north may not see the sun until 10:00 a.m. every morning, plunging areas into even more darkness than I care to imagine. I’m sure there are more cons, but this is enough for me. I couldn’t in good conscious make others live in more darkness in the winter months. That’s just plain mean.
Well, I unless I move to one of the many countries or the handful of states and territories who don’t celebrate your irritating ritual twice annually, I guess I’m stuck with you. See your unwelcomed ass again in March.
Cynthia, exhausted mom