Grouchy In The Morning

I’ll admit, I’m not a morning person.

Never have been.  Never will be.  It’s actually been confirmed by a doctor.  I have something called hypersomnia (a freakishly deep sleep)…and have had it most of my life.  I sleep through anything: ringing telephones, doorbells, alarms, thunderstorms, you name it.  Thankfully, my mothering instincts kick in when one of my children is in desperate need (ie., vomiting or screaming from a nightmare).

My idea of a perfect morning?  A warm bed, soft pillow, and hours of nothing but sleep in front of me.

I’ve always wanted to be a morning person:  I’d get up before anyone else, luxuriate over coffee and the paper, take a brisk walk, then write in peace for an hour or two.

Not gonna happen.

That Christmas morning smile hides the longing I felt for my pillow. My performance that morning was Oscar-worthy.

I’ve trained myself how to set my alarm at a screechingly high volume — out of bedside reach — so I’m forced to get up.

Waking up is a “process” for me.  I go through several stages of grief as I say goodbye to sleep every morning:

1. Denial: It can’t REALLY be 7am already.  I just fell asleep.

2. Anger: Why is it so hard for me to shake sleep off?  Why is it so easy for others? It’s not fair.

3. Bargaining: I’ll just snooze for ten more minutes.  After that, I’ll get up.

4. Depression: I. Hate. Mornings.

5. Acceptance: If I don’t get up now, not only will my kids starve, they might  get eaten by the dog who’s also starving.  Even if the kids are clever enough to outrun him, they need someone to get them to school.  If not, I’ll be arrested for child neglect and thrown into jail, where I’ll be required to rise earlier than 7am anyway.  Fine.  I’ll drag my butt out of bed and make some coffee.

As you can see, I’m dealing with my own demons every morning.  Throw a grouchy child into the mix (which I experience on an almost daily basis these days with my 8-year-old) and I’m near the breaking point.

Enter a wonderful bit of advice I just read this morning.  The Chicago Tribune Sunday section ran an article by Heidi Stevens called “Dealing With A Child Who Is Mad At The Morning.” 

Not my child...or my photo...but this picture says it all.

Like the Tribune’s Stevens, I seek humor in tough situations — it’s my coping mechanism.  The advice about using a kitchen cabinet or refrigerator door to “talk back” is simple, brilliant, and most of all, funny.  I think the technique might work with anyone who’s in a grouchy morning mood.

We might not be able to alter who we (or others) are at the core, but if we’re aware of our shortcomings (or those of others) and add a bit of humor when it’s appropriate, we just might get through tough times a bit less ruffled.

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