Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Good morning. Well, kind of.

I am not a morning person.  By nature I am a night owl and a cruel twist of genetics has landed me two night owl children.  It is a struggle to get them into bed, and once they're in bed I have to fight my own desire to stay up late and enjoy the quiet of a sleeping house on my own.  Left unattended I will easily stay up until 1 or 2 am not doing much of anything.
When I started working in software development, I thought I'd found a perfect match.  Sure I had an hour long commute, but our team rarely showed up in the office before 10 am and many of us were nocturnally inclined.  I frequently left the office long past dinner time having been fed by my employer since many of us worked long hours. 
Motherhood is not for night owls.  Babies wake at odd hours and you need to grab the hours of sleep they allow you whenever they may come.  Prolonged sleep deprivation can twist your nature to sleep as soon as your baby sleeps, even if that's earlier than you've ever been to bed in your adult life.  And for me it did.
When they got a little older the boys would stay up late then sleep in in the morning.  We were not the first family in to daycare in the morning, but we were frequently the last parents at pick up.  My days still skewed later and since software developers seemed to abhor early mornings were less hectic and meetings rarely started before I arrived at the office.
Then work changed.  We started working with international teams.  In order to create even a little overlap we scheduled meetings at 8 and 9 am.  Not every day, but the intrusion into my slow-moving mornings was definitely noticed.  My team grew, more morning meetings were scheduled, 7:30 am, sometimes 7 am.  I could do these on the phone from home, and usually in my pajamas.  Rushing the boys out of the house could happen after the meetings and as painful as they were, it did not greatly shift my morning routine, just added a bit of a hump.
Then Big Dog started public school. The mornings start at a set time.  A mandatory start time.  And it wasn't that it was early, it was just that it was out of the house, to a designated location at a hard start time.  This meant planning and coordination.  And since Little Dog goes to another school, in a different area of town there is a lot of ground that needs to be covered before I finally arrive at the office. But if I kept the hour from 8am to 9am open, I could manage.
Then I started working with teams and customers in Europe.  Now almost daily I am on the phone at 8am.  I need to be dressed and ready to go before I call in, though sometimes I am muted, putting on makeup while I participate in my meetings.  The boys must be shuffled while I am paying attention to the business on my phone.  There is no easy workaround.  I have scheduling conflicts that I cannot simply shift.  Next year, if Little Dog is able to go to Big Dog's school (thanks Seattle Public Schools for adding this as a stressor in my life) my pace can slacken slightly.  Oh how I look forward to that slackening.  This pace is pretty painful.

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