Governed by Clocks

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Robin Williams is credited with saying, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'” Last weekend’s “spring forward” time change here in the US was a major party pooper. We groaned at the prospect of a 23-hour day as we dutifully turned all our clocks forward an hour.

We’re a routine-bound household. Between my 40-hour work week, my husband’s much longer and less predictable hours — nights without a text or two from work between midnight and 5:00 am are a rarity — and our daughters’ school schedule, there’s not much wiggle room. We expect J and M to be under their covers at 8:00 pm precisely; “Eight zero zero” was the first time they learned to read on a digital clock. We don’t vary bedtime on weekends, staying up past 8:00 only for very special occasions, like the first night that the grandparents arrive for a visit.

The hour time change pushes the girls’ wakeup time from the horrendous 5:45 am to what our bodies tell us is the even uglier time of 4:45. On Friday and Saturday, we shifted lights out to 7:30 pm to prepare for the switch, but wakeup time on Monday morning was brutal. Poor M reported that there was “something wrong with [her] eyes,” as she struggled to start her day. J just wrapped her blankie around herself and stared at the floor as she waited for her brain to switch on.

Things weren’t much better for the girlies the rest of the week, and waking up wasn’t any easier for me. I may have hit the snooze button a time or 5 this morning.

The logic behind Daylight Saving makes some sense: get an extra hour of evening sunshine. The problem at our house, though, is that the morning is what sets the mood for the day. If we start our day grumpy, tired, and out of sorts, we’re not too likely to think much of the afternoon sun. In addition, we live in Texas, where summers get very hot, so Daylight Saving actually means less outdoor time at the end of the day.

When J and M were younger, I had an elaborate plan to adjust their bodies’ clocks, 15 minutes per day over 4 days. This year, we threw them in the deep end, and we’re all paying for it.

Good night. My clock says it’s bedtime even though my body doesn’t.

What are your feelings on Daylight Saving? Do you have any techniques for making the switch easier on your kids? Do they even notice?

Sadia, her husband and their 5-year-old twin girls live in El Paso, TX. He is a soldier, she a software geek, and they first graders.

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Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 10-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. They live in the Austin, TX suburbs, where Sadia works full time in information technology. She contributes to a number of parenting websites and magazines and also runs The Mommy Blogging Guide, where she answers mommy bloggers' technical questions.

4 thoughts on “Governed by Clocks”

  1. I totally agree with you. For kids in school or with a set wake up time, the clock switch is brutal in the morning. Evening bedtimes are ok, but this year my boys (ages 4, 4 and 10) took the switch very hard, in the morning, as we struggled to wake for school and get them all out the door. Nobody was cheerful and we all felt groggy, all week. I was groggy while driving in bad traffic, and I have heard that traffic accidents increase the week after the clocks switch. Drivers are up and out one hour before their brains are ready. I think daylight savings time switch should be abolished! It is a relic from the days when we were an agricultural society. It no longer applies in modern life..

  2. I hate daylight savings time so much that I can’t continue to leave this comment without adding expletives and this is a family friendly site, so I will just say, I agree with you.

  3. My kids didn’t seem to notice the time change at all. We follow a schedule, but we’re adaptable enough that an hour didn’t throw them off too much. The longer daylight doesn’t seem to affect my kids’ sleeping since we use blackout curtains. However, for me waking up in the dark for the first few days was a little hard. I’m not frustrated though, because soon it will be light by 7:00 AM. I love having the sun out longer in the evening. I get excited for daylight savings every year. Guess I’m the odd ball!

  4. I don’t mind the Spring switch, its the one in Autumn that I hate. Luckily for me, the twins can’t read a clock, so they’ve been waking up at 9 instead of 8. They stay up a little later but I can deal with that

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