This morning when I was getting ready for work I put nail cuticle cream under my eyes instead of my fancy eye cream. How did this happen?
A) BC (Before Coffee).
B) I didn’t have my contacts or glasses on.
C) I was exhausted.
If The Better Half had a say, he’d add D) There was too much crap on the bathroom counter, but I can assure you that had nothing to do with it.
If you guessed C, you’re right. Last night Little Bug had a lacrosse game. We returned home after 10:00 p.m. and after setting the coffee maker, petting the animals, some kitchen KP and the usual bedtime routine, I found myself in bed at 10:45 with a book in hand. I read for about fifteen minutes before shutting off the lights.
That’s when I did the math- my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m.- I’d be lucky to get a full five and a half hours of sleep. I could hear Little Bug mulling around the house after my light went off. Teens’ circadian rhythms get reset at puberty for later bedtimes, usually just past 11:00 p.m. According to the Mayo Clinic, Little Bug needed nine hours of sleep and I needed seven to nine for optimum health.
We’re falling short. Given that I work at his high school, we are on nearly the same schedule. We both leave the house at 6:40 a.m. I arrive at 7 a.m. and open the library. The school day runs from 7:25-2:20, with me staying until 3:00.
Factor in homework, sports or school activities and perhaps a part time job and the average teen is pretty busy. The average teen parent has a full time job, dinner and household duties and either volunteering for their child’s activities or viewing them. I’m not talking about being over-scheduled either. One activity, like a sport, can take up an enormous chunk of time for the teen and the adults in his life. All those after school obligations go late into the night, often past 9 p.m. not including travel time. That’s not going to change.
Years ago the district queried parents about switching start times- having the younger students start earlier, the older kids later, as is done in other Valley schools, but the notion never took off. I keep hoping it will get revisited.
Now I know I could get up later than 4:30 a.m. to add some much needed sleep to my schedule and if I had one of those post-apocalypse pixie cuts like Carol on the Walking Dead I’d consider it. The only thing worse than feeling exhausted is feeling rushed, and my early rising affords me a full thirty minutes to sip my morning coffee and prepare for the day. Priceless! (That’s what concealer is for anyway.)
When we got home last night, Little Bug begged to skip first hour the next morning so he could sleep in. I said no. When I rubbed that thick, sticky cuticle stuff underneath my eyes this morning, I realized we both should have come in a bit late.
After nearly two years of working on a high school campus no one knows better how snarky, temperamental and moody teens can be. But keep in mind that there’s nothing beautiful about being exhausted and most teens are exactly that.
I’m going to soldier on and get through the day with a Starbuck’s elixir or two.
It’s a pity youth is wasted on the young because I’m not sure they have the time to fully enjoy and appreciate it anymore.