I would like to introduce Tina Gisone-Nicini, a new contributing writer to Kidoinfo. Parenting is not a science and although we want to make choices about what’s best for our kids, I also believe we need to make things work with our own personalities and family rhythm. I love Tina’s honesty and wit. And I am also not a morning person—this had me laughning out loud! – Anisa
I have a confession to make: we like to sleep in. We like to laze about in pajamas, playing with Legos on the floor or reading the news online until at least ten o’clock. If you call our house before ten, we are unlikely to answer. That doesn’t necessarily mean we are still sleeping, we are just not ready to make any plans or engage in serious conversation. If you stop by unannounced, you will find us in pajamas with bed head (I’m talking CRAZY hair). I’ve tried to hide our habit from my peers. I’ve finagled out of nine a.m. play dates, always pushing it to after lunch. We often miss the farmer’s market and we’ve never made it to story hour at the library. We are not morning people. Our secret is out.
This is partly due to my husband’s atypical work schedule in sports television. He leaves home around one o’clock p.m. and might not return until two in the morning, depending on how many rain delays or extra innings creep up in a game. In the mornings, I try to let him catch up on sleep; this involves me guarding the bedroom door while our two kids stare me down, ready to charge if I should waiver. When he wakes up, this is our quality time with him and we don’t want to spend it rushing around. We’d rather sprawl around and chat over coffee and coloring books, then dawdle over Transformers and a pancake brunch.
Some days we struggle with the guilt of a late start. We often say, “If we were up, we could have done XYZ.” School mornings can be rushed and chaotic. Without sufficient wake-up time, we’re often grumpy and yawning out the door. I’m working on it. I pick outfits and make lunches the night before. I pack a whopper of a morning snack, like banana bread with flax or zucchini bread with walnuts, in case breakfast is light. I set their backpacks by the door, ready to go. The less we have to fuss over, the better.
Summertime forgives our idle mornings… a little. Many families are up and at ‘em, bright-eyed and shiny, heading on their summer excursions. Chances are, we haven’t brushed our teeth yet. We take a little longer to come around. In fact, we don’t hit the beach until four o’clock (or even five). We pack a simple picnic dinner of sandwiches and fruit and fly past the traffic streaming in the opposite direction. After four, parking is free and plenty. The beach is wide open and belongs to us. The kids can run freely along the shore without tripping on blankets or getting lost in a crowd. There are no radios buzzing, just the rolling, crashing waves and a delicious sunset if we stay late enough. On the way home we get ice cream, of course. Then two tired kids fall right into bed, the awe of the ocean fresh on their minds.
Many of our friends don’t understand our mornings. They either say, “you’re so lucky,” like we have no responsibilities or they gasp like we have no ambition. We’re not shirking any responsibilities or missing out on anything except peek sunburn hours. We just work on a later schedule. It is 10:34 a.m. as I write this in my nightgown. My husband is still sleeping and the kids are stretched out on the couch amongst blankets and action figures, still rubbing dreams from their eyes. It feels good to come clean.
I have another confession: I’m a terrible housekeeper. That’s a topic for another time.
Tina Gisone-Nicini is a writer and mom in Riverside, RI. When she’s not pulling Legos from the vacuum or crayons from the dryer, she’s most likely in the garden contemplating carrots.