I woke up this morning, and the house was quiet. I threw on my gym clothes, tiptoed out, and got in a great workout. I came home, and the house was still quiet. I had breakfast and no one wanted me for anything. I took a shower and nobody bothered me. Also, there was plenty of hot water.
Then I came downstairs, lit my candle, and started working. It was easy to get into the zone, because there was no one talking to me, no music playing from upstairs, and no heavy teenage feet clomping around.
It wasn’t because the house was empty. While my oldest son leaves for work early (though he sleeps in on the weekends), my two younger kids don’t come out of their rooms until after 11 am. Sometimes it’s past noon before I see their sleepy heads. And honestly, I love it — so I leave them alone and go about my business. You will never catch me trying to get my kids out of bed early unless there is something really exciting going on, and this is why:
They are still productive
Just because your teen sleeps in doesn’t mean they are lazy. My kids still have chores, fend for themselves, and give me a hand when I need it. All of this goes better when I let them sleep in. They are simply doing things later in the day and, really, that’s their choice. I literally don’t care as long as everything gets done.
I used to be the mom who would bang on the door around 9 in the morning because I wondered why they needed so much sleep. I thought it meant they were just going to do nothing all day and I needed to get a handle on things.
But trust me, it never ended well. Now, I let them sleep.
They have jobs
My kids work hard during the summer. But they don’t have to show up for work until late afternoon, so if they want to sleep half of their time off, that’s up to them too. If they were supposed to be up early for work and they weren't showing up on time, they’d have to endure the consequences. There’s three of them and I’m not going to go overboard trying to get them to wake up at a certain time every morning.
It lets me get most of my work done before they wake up
Not only does the quiet morning make me feel peaceful, I am a lot more productive with zero interruptions. My teens are self-sufficient and make their own food and all that, but when they are awake and downstairs where I’m working, I want to know what they are doing. I want to see how they slept. I want to talk with them.
But they also make a lot of noise and my job requires me to concentrate. I can do that a lot better if someone isn’t crunching granola, standing with the refrigerator door open, asking me where their favorite pants are and why we ran out of mustard.
As someone who gets anxious when the house is messy, it’s also wonderful to come downstairs to a semi-clean space knowing that no one is going to leave their shoes out for me to trip on, spill milk on the counter, or “forget” to put their dishes in the dishwasher. I am a lot more productive when my OCD isn’t triggered by my kids leaving their socks on the floor while I’m trying to work.
By the time they do roll out of bed and they’re coherent enough to talk, I’ve gotten all the tough stuff done and it’s easier to spend time with them, which I love.
They aren’t tired until later in the evening.
While I can’t keep my eyes open past 9 pm, I realize my kids aren’t like that. They like to retreat to their room around then, but they can’t fall asleep until much later. This is their time to watch a show, FaceTime with friends, or putter in their rooms. Yes, I’ve tried forcing them to go to bed earlier. No, it didn’t work.
I used to sleep in too.
I wasn’t always the early riser I am today. I was a teenager once and remember sleeping in until noon quite a lot. My parents were at work so I had that luxury and I needed it and enjoyed it very much.
The way I look at it, the days of my teenagers being able to sleep in are going to end very soon. They are young adults but they are still kids and should get to enjoy some of the benefits of not having all the responsibilities that I do. Just because I get up early to get a jumpstart on the day doesn’t mean they have to and it certainly doesn’t make them lazy. In fact, I’ve found it’s just the opposite.
My kids are a lot more productive when I let them wake up on their own (much later in the day) and so am I. It’s a win for everyone.
Katie Bingham-Smith is a full-time freelance writer living in Maine with her three teens and two ducks. When she’s not writing she’s probably spending too much money online and drinking Coke Zero.