Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Have to Get Up at What Time? Are you SERIOUS?

by Julie Coulter Bellon

I am not a morning person.

I never have been. Well, maybe I was when I was a kid. My mom tells me she never needed an alarm clock because my brother and I got up at the crack of dawn every day no matter what. But it didn’t stay that way for me. In high school, I had to be up at 5:00 a.m. in order to catch the LRT (Light Rail Transit) and transfer to two buses to make it to early morning seminary on time. It was tough, but I did it, although I can’t claim that I was happy about it. It was okay, though, because teenagers are generally known for being quiet and moody, so no one really thought much of my apparent non-morning persona.

Now that I am a mother, however, all that has changed. I still have to wake up early to help get the children ready for school, lunches packed, etc., but since I’m the mother and I can have a big impact on the tone that everyone has for the day, I have to try to be happy. It wouldn’t set a great tone if I was cranky and telling my children that no one can talk to Mommy until after 9:00 a.m. I’m still a little quieter in the morning, but since I have a large family, it’s not really that noticeable, and I can generally kiss them all goodbye with a happy heart. (No, I’m not kissing them goodbye with a happy heart because then I can go back to bed. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I know what you’re thinking. Sadly, I’m one of those people that can’t go back to sleep once they’re up. Believe me, I’ve tried it a few times.)

I have attempted to change this little quirk about myself. I thought that maybe if I turned some music on in the mornings that would get me started and going. I put on my 80's tunes and my older children rolled their eyes and asked if we had to listen to the old people music. Which of course was right after I was dancing around the kitchen and they turned away and said they were scarred for life and I should never do that again. So that idea didn’t go over so well.

Then I remembered how my mom used to sing a little song to us in the mornings, "get up get up you sleepyhead, get up get up get out of bed," and so in my mind I envisioned singing that at the bottom of our stairs and my sweet angel children would skip down, anxious and happy to greet the new day. Sadly, with my singing voice, they would probably only rush down because they thought one of our pets was dying in a horrible fashion with howling and wailing. So, a big no on that idea.

I guess I just have to accept this about myself.

A lot of my friends tell me that mornings are their most productive time. They can get up and read their scriptures, exercise, clean the house and do a load of laundry before the children get up. Several of my author friends write early in the morning when the house is quiet. They say they like their quiet time when they can think. I like my quiet time in the mornings to be happening when I’m in dream world, snuggled in my nice warm bed, my soft pillow under my head, the blankets curled around my shoulders just so. I sort of count it as thinking time, since some of my best ideas for novels have come either right before I’m going to sleep or right before I’m totally awake. But my most productive time definitely isn’t in the early morning.

Personally, I like the evenings. After the children are in bed, the house is quiet and my husband and I can enjoy time together, I can read my scriptures, write a new chapter on my novel, and the creative juices are flowing. I do laundry at night, slipping a pile of freshly washed and folded clothes into each child’s room like a clothes fairy delivering their prize to the delight of the children the next morning. I like to watch Jay Leno’s monologue and reruns of Whose Line is it Anyway. Or sometimes I’ll take out a book and read. The possibilities are endless. There’s just something about night-time that rejuvenates me.

Maybe that’s why I’m not a morning person. I’m an evening person.

There is one good thing about mornings though. For some reason, I weigh less in the mornings. I think that may be God’s way of saying, "Julie, get up and weigh yourself and feel good about at least one thing this early in the morning." It’s like a little pick me up to start my day.

If nothing else, I know I can turn on the 80's tunes and dance around the kitchen. Not that it got me going so much, but it really gets the kids going. They eat breakfast and help pack lunches really fast just so they don’t have to see it. Which makes me laugh. And voila! the day has already started out on a good foot.


At 9/20/2007 4:22 PM, Blogger Jon said...

Amen, Sister!

Now, please work on your fellow blogger and tell him that 8AM on a Saturday is no time to be creative.

It's time sleep!

At 9/20/2007 4:59 PM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

I am the same way. My problem comes when I have to get up to be the cheerful mom but I have stayed up way too late the night before. Usually I have that problem every day. Are we night people destined to get by on 5-6 hours of sleep a night?

At 9/20/2007 5:37 PM, Anonymous marlene said...

My mother used to say I woke up at 9:00 in the morning no matter what time I got out of bed. Now that my children are (supposedly) adults and my husband is retired, I just never get up before 9:00.
Especially on Saturdays, Jon.

At 9/20/2007 7:19 PM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

Okay, now I feel old. I used to dance to tunes from the 70's while preparing breakfast for my sons. I still listen to those golden classics and my sons, who are now adults, continue to roll their eyes. But it's a great way to start the day. A little "Takin' Care of Business," never hurt anybody.

At 9/20/2007 11:33 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

I'm a morning person, but I fold laundry at night too . . . So I have somewhere to sleep :)

At 9/21/2007 1:02 AM, Blogger Tamra Norton said...

I'm not a morning person either. I do what I have to do, which for the past 8 years (with a few breaks when we've had teen drivers) has been transporting kids to and from early morning seminary. Only 13 more years to go since from kid #1 to kid #7 there is no break in the 4 year seminary program for the Norton family for 21 straight years. Oy, what was I thinking?

I LOVE the quiet of the night at our house. It's a great time to write, and if I can get in Letterman that always makes me happy.

At 9/21/2007 9:21 AM, Blogger Rebecca Talley said...


I hadn't stopped to think about how long we'll be in the seminary program--I was still reeling from the idea I've been changing diapers for over 20 years now :) I just won't think about early morning seminary for the next . . . never mind.

I'm not a morning person at all. My husband is. He always wakes up all cheerful and happy--makes me want to bop him. It should be against the law to have to rise before the sun. I have to admit, though, I do get a lot more done in the morning and I see some fantastic sunrises.

I dance to 70s and 80s music all the time, too. My oldest son, 20, loves 80s music because it reminds him of being a kid and listening to it while I cleaned the house.

At 9/21/2007 10:31 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

You guys are kidding, right? I've never seen Letterman or Leno in my whole life! (Nor the ball drop on Times Square.) In fact, the very first time I ever heard the story of Cinderella I knew I'd never go to a ball or marry a prince. Midnight? Forget the coach, I'D have turned into a pumpkin before then!

On the other hand, morning is the most glorious time of day! (I often tell our rooster this when I wake him up by throwing scratch into his pen.) How could you bear to miss a sunrise?

I'd make a lousy vampire, but I hold out hope for the morning of the first resurrection. I mean, when the rest of you are trying to roll over and ignore the trumps, Heather and I will pop right up. Right? :-)

At 9/21/2007 10:45 AM, Anonymous Jennie said...

I was a night person most of my life. As a kid I hated getting up while everything was wet and cold. I married a morning person and was thoroughly annoyed that he wanted to talk before I was even awake, then he fell asleep when I wanted to talk at night. Raising a family forced me to both get up early and lie awake late. Daylight savings time has done its share to screw up my inner clock too. Now I feel I've slept in if I don't wake up until seven and it takes an awfully good book to keep me awake beyond eleven at night.

At 9/21/2007 11:10 AM, Anonymous marlene said...

Sorry, Kerry, some of us, being the night people we are, will still be up, too excited to sleep, when the morning of the first resurrection comes. That trumpet blows and we're already in line waiting. How about if we save you a place?

Speaking of dancing, I did a mean gitter-bug to Pat Boone and Elvis in the late 50's and 60's. Now there was some music. Does that sound like everyone's parents?

At 9/21/2007 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheri, isn't Takin' Care of Business sung by a Mormon guy? I thought I heard that once.

Heather I fold laundry to have somewhere to sleep too! LOL

Tami, I love having a driver in the house. It makes life so much easier. :)

Kerry, you are so incredibly amazing, there is no doubt in my mind that you could be translated at any moment.

Jennie, that's right where I'm at. I feel like I've slept in if it's 7 a.m.

Rebecca, we just got out of the diaper stage too after nineteen years and it's wonderful!

Jon, I'm with you!

Stephanie, we must be kindred spirits.

Marlene, I'm jealous.

Thanks for your comments everyone! I'm glad there are others like me out there who love 80's music and like to sleep past sunrise. LOL

Julie Bellon

At 9/21/2007 11:46 PM, Blogger wom said...

I think thats funny, I use to sing that same song to my kids in the morning, wake up, wake up you sleepy head....What gets me is when the kids have a day off, and you should be able to sleep in. that old alarm clock in your head goes off... when your use to being up, and you can't go back to sleep!

At 9/22/2007 11:22 AM, Blogger Josi said...

I used to be a non-morning person, and I'm still not in best form. But we're up at 5:15 around here and after four years I'm pretty well destined to never sleep past 8:00. sigh.

At 9/22/2007 3:51 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

Well thats a lot different then me.
I used to wake up at six every morning and go walking with my mom, but then Winter came and it was to cold to go out. But now I wake up about nine or ten, and go to sleep at one. So I am definitely a night person. Night time rules!
All though right now I have this bad cold and so I just don't sleep at all.

At 9/24/2007 1:41 PM, Blogger Erin said...

I used to have to get up at 5 every morning too for early morning seminary, looking back now, I have no idea how i did it. I am so not a morning person. My limbs don't function properly, and neither does my brain. I definitely get more done at night than any other time of the day.

At 9/25/2007 1:01 AM, Anonymous Jen said...

Ha ha ha ha ha! I am laughing, which after putting my kids back to bed for over an hour is pretty amazing. I am VERY sorry to hear that 80s is OLD PEOPLE music!!!! I'm not old!!

Rebecca and Kerry you are cracking me up too. My husband is the same. He is a morning and a night person. He stays up late, then gets up early cheerful and rested. Perhaps he will wake me up when the trumps start soundng.

I was a morning person. Then I had kids. Kids that get up early. Kids that get up at 5:30 no matter what time they went to bed. I love my kids. Deep down I know I love it that i also have a night owl. I stay up WAY later than I should because although I do love the mornings - how everything smells fresh and clean, how the city is still asleep and you can hear the birds, how it isn't 115 degrees yet (we live in phoenix) - all this is great, but even better is at night when all of my kids are asleep (finally) and I can work on whatever I want, or nothing at all, for as long as I want. Night time is "magic" time when cleaning fairy shows up. Night time is when Mom finally gets to recharge.

You guys are scaring me with all the diaper changing and early morning seminary talk. We have 5 kids. That's lots of diapers.

I am possibly not familiar with the wake up song. Is it the one that they used for the collgate commercial LONG ago? Wake up all you sleepy heads. Collgate gets you out of bed. We like the collgate (something)???


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