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Mar 14 2011

Mayim Bialik To Dads Everywhere: Get Out of Bed Already!!

By at 12:20 pm

Get up! Get up! Get up!

They wake up early. Usually it’s 6 or 6.30. Sometimes, though, it’s 5.30 or even 5. And even if we put them to bed later, they do the same darn thing; that’s just their deal. And there’s nothing that Daylight Savings or anything else is going to do about it. They are morning people, like their mama. In this arena, our 2 1/2- and 5 year-old-boys take exclusively after me. Because my husband–who is so many things to so many people–is not a morning person.

He never was and I think I can say with certainty that he never will be. It’s not for lack of trying: the boys will screech happily as they jump and pounce all over him, and many mornings, this exhausted wife sometimes asks not nicely at all for him to GET UP ALREADY, but he’s holding firm on this one. When he does get up he’s usually not at all happy about it.

“Since when is ‘sleeping in’ 7.30am!?” he will ask me when I sic our boys on him after watching the sky go from black to blue in the wee hours of morning with two energetic bundles of excitement at the new day ahead; a change in sky color that only few men seem to choose to witness willingly with their little ones.

I am not husband-bashing, but I seriously wonder if there is a divide by sex for being a morning person. Are women more likely to get up with the kids (generally speaking) than men because we are genetically programmed to do so? I think I’m on to something here. In pre-homo sapiens communities, hunting presumably occurred at dusk or nightfall; and women, who are clearly preferred evolutionarily to nurse and comfort babies and children (think mammary glands), would have to be ready to rock and roll when the sun came up. Simple, right?

As for women as the fairer sex, I say “Vegan Baloney.” Even though I am not always happy to get up, I just do it. I bite the bullet and remind myself that sleeping in is not one of the perks of having small kids. I am up 4-6 times a night nursing our little guy and I often stay up quite late editing my forthcoming book and crafting the (hopefully) clever articles you read by me on Kveller.com. But 27 out of  30 mornings, you will find me up whenever the boys are up; making breakfasts with a nutritional value directly proportional to how many times Fred wakes to nurse. Only three times and it’s a kale and banana smoothie with books and kisses and snuggling after. Four times and it’s granola and taking out a not-recently played with toy. Five times and it’s a bowl of cashews and raisins and only a half an hour of uninterrupted sleep until my husband hears “GET UP ALREADY. I NEED SOME HELP. I NEED ANOTHER ADULT MONITORING THE SITUATION. I MEAN IT. GET UP NOW.”

My husband and I believe in equality in our relationship and in our society, and we are both what you would describe as feminists. Why has this belief in equality not extended to sleep and morning childcare? I think I may need to start blaming evolution. It beats throwing whatever projectile is closest to me at my husband. Not that I’ve tried that. Because that would just be a rude awakening. And that’s not how I roll.

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18 Responses to Mayim Bialik To Dads Everywhere: Get Out of Bed Already!!

  1. mj says:

    If I have learned one thing in life, it’s that people treat us they way we allow them to. If you want him up, then you demand that it happen, you are both parents to these kids. My husband often is likely not to hear ours in the middle of the night, but if I am up once, I wake him to get up the next time so I can sleep…
    As for a husband choosing to leave for work at 6:30am and ditch his wife to do it all on her own, again, stop letting him do that to you. Hopefully he leaves early to get home early to spend time with his child, but if not, again, change it!!

  2. If it is a matter of evolution i would think dads WOULD have started getting up once households in America started depending on 2 incomes.
    my husband amazingly sleeps through IT ALL. Im totally convinced its because he is confident that SOMEONE will be taking care of his child.
    I don’t have the same confidence, so i get up.

  3. Terri says:

    Haha my husband and I hare kinda the opposite. He gets up with our son and I steal whatever minutes he lets me until I have to get up as well. I’m definitely NOT a morning person. My husband isn’t exactly a morning person either, but he is a lot closer than me. Luckily my husband is a sweetie…while sometimes he is yelling for me to get up and help as well, on weekends he tries to let me “sleep in” at least one day…sometimes sleeping in is 7:30. When I’m lucky it is after 8!

  4. Emily says:

    I can relate to this post on a totally different level. My morning is insane, to put it lightly. I wake at 4 a.m. to head to the gym – the only time of day I can go. I return at 6 a.m. and find my husband ready to walk out the door to work. If our 2-year-old wakes up early enough, he gets to give daddy a kiss before he leaves at 6:30. His job doesn’t necessarily demand that he leave that early, but he is somewhat of a workaholic that way. I am then left holding the proverbial bag. We have one of those 2 full-time earner households and I have to be at work by 8:30. So I have approximately an hour and a half to get myself ready for work, wake up a sleepy toddler, prepare breakfasts, dress him for the day, pack his bag for daycare, wrestle on shoes and coats, and head out the door – not to mention planning ahead for dinner and cramming in some housework. And on the rare mornings my husband is home until the time we leave, he sleeps in, drinks coffee, spends an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom, etc. I don’t mind it because we’re all in a routine, but I’ve tried very hard to impress on my husband that every time he makes a choice to leave that early in the morning, he leaves me NO choice and NO help should I need it. You are lucky you at least have a husband there to roust out of bed if you need him.

    • b. says:

      The time in the bathroom kills me. My hubby takes the newspaper in with him and takes all the time in the world while I’m just trying to keep things together. I would love to hide in the bathroom, but I guess someones gotta take care of the kids and if it means being constipated so be it.

  5. Joshua Herzig-Marx says:

    You mean, getting up when the girls wake up is optional for me?

  6. Jody Sidranski says:

    Sometimes I think that my husband is the female and I the male in our relationship. As Ruben is the one to get up at the crack of dawn and be excited about it, and will even wake the kids up if they are not awake by a decent hour; ie. on the weekends not past 7:30am! Myself, I would much rather sleep and let the girls wake me up. He is much more domesticated than myself, and I’m the one staying at home. Then again, I’m also carrying his twin girls as well. So as far as your thinking that it’s a gender thing…perhaps we’re just backwards!

    I too wanted to thank you for speaking at Tribefest. And I wish that I could have stayed to listen to you speak. My daughter was one of the youngest (Kindergarten)on stage singing the Hatikvah and the National Anthem. Unfortuanately, we had to usher all the kids out before the comedian!

  7. Jen says:

    Oh. Amen!! Preach it sistah!! I am so with you on this one!!

  8. Button says:

    My husband is the early riser. Although, I am up before the sun, I tend to hide. The kids have made it clear that they want daddy time. But, when they were younger I often nodded off on my couch with a toddler at my feet and a baby on my breast.

  9. Carla says:

    I have to say, my husband usually gets up with the girls in the morning – neither of us really *want* to do it, but he does better on less sleep than I do, and I put the girls to bed most weekday nights…

  10. Homeshuling says:

    Our kids are school age and we both work outside of the home, so we are all up on weekdays. But on weekends and vacations we take turns sleeping in.

  11. Homeshuling says:

    Our kids are school age and we both work outside of the home, so we are all up on weekends. But on weekends and vacations we take turns sleeping in.

  12. Sandra Mort says:

    As long as they need me at night, I do night duty and he does mornings. These days (now that the youngest is 3 and pretty much night weaned herself, yay!) we share night duty and share morning duty, depending on who has what to do and who is getting more cranky. However, I *NEED* more sleep than he does, especially around TOM, and he tries to give it to me when I need it. Hasn’t been for a while but it’s not his fault.

  13. Stefanie says:

    Wow. I guess I’ve never realized how lucky I am to have a little night owl/late sleeper and a partner who wakes with the chickens (sometimes, even, to put the little in a sling to allow mama a bit of uninterrupted sleep). This, to me, is just co-parenting!

  14. Ilana Bernstein says:

    I am completely lucky to have the following set up: On weekends, my husband lets me sleep in (yes, 7:30 is sleeping in my book). We have the understanding that I require more sleep than he does. But that does come with some expectation that I return the favor to him in one way or another.

    Mayim? Any tips on getting them to sleep later? I also have boys, age 4, 2 and 1. I know you said that they probably won’t if you put them to bed earlier. But I thought I’d ask.

    Also, thank you for speaking at Tribefest. I really felt a connection to you when you spoke about your outlook on Judaism.

  15. Jessica says:

    Unfortunately for me (well, the physical me anyway… I’m sure my soul benefits somehow), my husband wakes up at the crack of dawn to daven shacharit every morning. I have a 2 year old who thankfully sleeps in until 7:30-ish, but I’m due with baby #2 in May… Maybe this baby will come out a non-morning person like it’s Mama… A girl can dream, can’t she?

  16. I also do the morning shift. I’m usually not home to put our son to bed, so my wife and I have settled into an unofficial routine in which she puts him to bed and I wake up with him.

  17. Matthue Roth says:

    We have a loose agreement: My wife is up at night with the kids (since my boobs don’t really work well that way), and I get up at the crack of dawn with them. Dude. Kids are supposed to sleep 14-18 hours a day, but they sure don’t choose the RIGHT 14-18 hours, do they!?

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