Before I had a baby, I had an impossible time getting up in the morning. We talk a lot these days about the advantages of remote work, but frankly, I have a lot of thoughts about how remote work exacerbates many people’s unhealthy behaviors to a very destructive extent, but this is sacrilege to talk about in my line of work, so I try to keep that under my hat. Mostly, I find that many of the people I work with are lonely to an almost incapacitating extent, they do not have social support networks in their lives and look to get everything through The Company, although I think that is also true for many people these days regardless of their work. But remote work really enables self-isolating, and I think it’s actually pretty terrible for people who have depression (myself included). That said, I would still rather descend into utter madness than ever have a commute and have to wear business casual and sit in a cubicle again. I think the real issue here is that we all need to reinvest in intentionally building communities outside of our workplaces, non-faith-based communities that provide mutual aid and support the way that churches used to.
This wasn’t what I was going to write about at all, how did I get onto this? What was I talking about?
Oh, right, so anyway working from home meant that I could fully succumb to the snooze button and it really became an issue. I spent hours at it, and nothing I did could combat it. Not moving the alarm to another room. Not setting up multiple alarms in a sort of obstacle course. Nothing. There was nothing so complex and time-consuming that I would not do it, and then get back in bed “for just a sec.” I was able to go ahead and get up if I had an actual appointment, so it’s not as if I really couldn’t, but there was no way I could fake that constraint for myself if it didn’t actually exist.
I thought having a baby fixed this, because while you can actually snooze a baby to an extent, mostly, they roust you out of bed pretty definitively.
But over the past couple of months, I have not only gotten back on my bullshit, but I’ve taken Edith with me. It started when Edith decided (perversely, randomly) that her new wake-up time was 4:30 (after we had agreed on 5:15 and had stuck to it for months). I could not accommodate this, so when Edith woke up, I stumbled through the dark to her pack-and-play, fished around on the floor with my toes to find the pacifier she had pitched out in a rage, and then hauled her back into my bed.
Weirdly, she permits this and now we often spend over two hours “getting up.” It looks like this: when Edith first joins me in the bed, we cuddle for awhile. Then, she begins to kick and flail, and I sort of clutch her to me and jiggle her madly for a bit. Sometimes she goes to sleep! More often, she doesn’t, and then I spend a long time alternately cat-napping and warding off blows. This is not restful but it’s better than getting up. I will at times turn my back on her and she’ll occupy herself somehow. When she’s starting to hit her limit, I hand her my phone (I’m not proud of this) and she fills up the camera roll with photos and videos of the pitch black while I genuinely sleep. Usually she does go back to sleep at some point for anywhere from 10 minutes to 40; it’s hard to say. I definitely get back into dreaming sleep, but I don’t know how long that lasts.
If she starts yelling at me, I put her on the floor and turn on the light, and then she runs around in the bedroom pulling things off shelves and out of drawers while I doze with an arm over my eyes.
Eventually, I get up. It’s really surprising that she permits this at all, much less for so long, and every morning! I’m really thankful for it, but I also think that it’s a testament to what a hold this habit has on me that I have somehow managed to get Edith (Edith! Of all people!) to tolerate it.
Still, sleeping in for hours now means that I get up at 7:00 am, which previously was my goal wake-up time. So in that respect, this problem has been solved.