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Why is being an early bird seen as somehow morally preferable?

(192 Posts)
Wrongdissection Tue 19-May-20 08:37:16

DH is an early bird, he’s up by 6am latest every single morning, exercising and pottering about before work, catching up on tv, sticking washing in and just general DOING early doors. He regularly falls asleep on the sofa by 8.30pm. Making it to 10pm is an achievement we comment on (unless special occasion and we’re out and about!).

I am not an early bird. I set my alarm for 15 minutes before I’m due to start work (homeworker before all this anyway) and struggle when I have to do it earlier. I do my pottering and exercising after work, I catch up on tv and am usually ready to go to bed between 10 and midnight.

So why does everyone seem to say things like ‘if you went to bed earlier you’d be able to get up earlier’ or ‘you’re tired because you stay up late’ and yet no one ever suggests to DH that he’d be able to stay up later if he stayed in bed longer in the morning? Why is getting up early somehow morally superior and to be aspired to?! We’re awake for pretty much the same amount of hours per day so why is one better than the other?

OneNightTimeMenaceStrikesBack Tue 19-May-20 08:43:24

im 100% a night owl, i always have been and i always will be. Im terrible early on, i just cant function properly and ive tried to train myself to be an early bird. the only reason im up now is because i havent been to bed at all! i get fed up of people telling me im wasting the day, im not, i just function better later on and thats just how my body clock is, nothing ive ever tried has changed that

Wrongdissection Tue 19-May-20 08:46:28

If you can still achieve everything you need to, why does it matter what time of day you achieve it?!

MrsHuntGeneNotJeremyObviously Tue 19-May-20 08:46:46

Maybe it's a leftover from when people were farmers? Or because most work takes place during the day. I agree though, one isn't better than the other from a moral pov.

Tiramisuiloveyou Tue 19-May-20 08:49:58

We are all different I am like your DH and I feel awful if i lay in bed too long. It also has a knock on negative much less productive effect on my day. I would also feel ill, sick and dopey/sleepy all day if I had to start work 15 minutes after waking up. I usually get up over two hours before I need to leave the house (when I am going out to work) as I like to allow myself time to come around, take the dog out, have a quick tidy, put a wash on, give the teens lifts and get myself ready.
DH is like you he leaves the house long before me but gets up at the same time and only and gets up less than 15 minutes before he is required to leave the house. We both still manage to stay awake until after 11 most nights but I am not busy or productive after 8pm whereas he often is.
Interestingly with the teen DC DS is like me and rarely lies on beyond 8am even on a weekend regardless what time he goes to bed. Whereas our teen DD struggles to get up and be remotely pleasant on a morning ever and on a weekend would lay in bed until lunch time.

Wrongdissection Tue 19-May-20 09:01:30

I’m totally live and let live with the different body clocks thing, sometimes it’s frustrating that DH can’t stay awake through one episode of something we’re watching together but he just catches up in the morning and no harm done. At the weekend I can and do easily lie in until gone 11 but then won’t head to bed until after midnight and it’s always that which gets commented on as if it needs to change (Rarely by DH, usually by others if for some reason their opinion has been sought - or more often - given unsolicited).

Like for instance the other day I was working on my dissertation late at night and my mum said ‘if you got up earlier in the morning you wouldn’t have to stay up all night doing your work’. Well no I guess not. But why does it matter?!

Blobby10 Tue 19-May-20 09:04:01

I would hate it if everyone was an early bird!! I LOVE the peace and quiet of the house first thing and going for a run/cycle before anyone else is up. Unfortunately for me, DS2 (22) is also an early bird and every day interrupts my early morning pottering around the house! 😁

ememem84 Tue 19-May-20 09:10:45

My kids are early birds at present. Both dc (Dd 9m and ds 2.5) are awake at 6 every morning. That used to be my time to get up shower and start pottering. Usually by the time they’d wake (730) I’d have put laundry on line another load in machine had a nice quiet cup of tea and some breakfast.

Hoping that when things start to seem more normal and we’re more in a routine of nursery etc they’ll be tired from the day before and will sleep more....!

Pre kids I used to be a stay in bed as late as possible and do things in the evening type. But now I prefer the early mornings. The world is more peaceful.

Strugglingtodomybest Tue 19-May-20 09:12:18

I don't know why either, but would love to know!

Divebar Tue 19-May-20 09:19:43

Oh god I was just having this conversation the other day. I’m a night owl but there’s definitely a superiority by “ larks”. You see it on the noise threads when posters are asking if it’s ok to let the children play in the garden at 08.00 on a Sunday. Someone will always pipe up that everyone should be up by that time and anyone who isn’t is a lazy arse. I also have a relative who will be out walking her dog at 05.30 and makes comments like “ the best part of the day is gone” by 11.00am. I beg to differ - there are two 11 o clocks in a day. I tend to respond that these individuals are clearly from peasant stock.grin.

JasperRising Tue 19-May-20 09:20:40

I would guess it came from when we were a more agricultural society and from when there was no electricity! Back when the only light was candles (not great quality if you were poor) or fires then staying asleep after the sun came up really did waste the time available to you to work in - bearing in mind that jobs like washing linen, cooking etc took longer without electricity. Electricity really did make a huge difference to how we can live our lives!

Not sure it's worth trying to change your natural tendencies now we do have electricity and can work at other times. I read something similar about tidy/untidy working spaces. Clear desks seem to be favoured and 'morally superior' but there is difference between people who only have out what they are working in that minute and those for whom the desk is part of the working process, a mental to do list almost (and filing something means it is finished and you then forget about it). Conclusion was to work out how you work best and do that not force yourself to conform to the norm.

Likethebattle Tue 19-May-20 09:21:14

I hate the people who say ‘wasting the day’ it really bugs me.

OneNightTimeMenaceStrikesBack Tue 19-May-20 09:23:29

i get everything done that i need to get done, just maybe not when other people would do it. Ive tried so many times over the years to train myself to get up earlier but im just not a lark. Im 100% a nicer person to be around if i can sleep and wake in time with my own personal body clock. I don't see hwo either being a lark or an owl can be superior to the other, they are just different, ones not better or worse than the other. As long as im not slacking on what i should be doing, i dont see what difference it makes to anyone else what time of day i do it. I dont disturb anyone else in the night or make a fuss if they disturb me during the early parts of the day

JasperRising Tue 19-May-20 09:23:31

By tidy desk I really mean clear desk policy. Obviously at a centre level of teetering piles untidy desks may be going too far for anyone!

Wrongdissection Tue 19-May-20 09:24:14

Oh yes!! ‘You’re wasting your day in bed’ Argh. No one says that to you Karen when you’re getting your 12 hours a night in bed 7-7. (Sorry to any Karen’s out there).

I guess the agricultural thing makes sense in a historical way but there should be no need for that moral superiority in 2020 yet it’s definitely still out there.

Fallsballs Tue 19-May-20 09:25:39

There’s something lovey about early mornings, the silence, the space and everyone else is asleep. I do love them but I don’t get dressed, i potter about in a snazzy kimono, drink tea, stare at things and sometimes I put a wash on. Then, having experienced the early morning, I go back to bed to read or nap.
I don’t agree with it being morally better and really you’re not missing out on anything if you lie in, it’s just a personal preference imo.

EnglishRose1320 Tue 19-May-20 09:25:54

I wouldn't say I was an early bird or a late owl. However my oh is definitely a late owl no matter how hard he tries to change it but he is far more of a late owl than the times mentioned on here. He'll regularly be up until 2/3 ish and although he can get up for work he hates the early starts which mean on days off he sleeps until lunch.
As a family we often miss days out etc.. whilst he sleeps or go without him.
If he could be more of an early bird I would love it, it would just make things easier, however he has a sleep issue, he's tried re setting his body clock so many times, he's tried medication, nothing works so we just have to adapt best we can.

BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Tue 19-May-20 09:29:11

My mum is a lark. And very smug about it.

Anyone who simply "does their day a bit later" is lazy, wastes the day, and should try and fix this "problem"

Its laughable really.

Whatsnewpussyhat Tue 19-May-20 09:30:18

I'm with you. I function far better at 9pm thsn 9am.
Thankfully my DC's aren't early risers either. I think if I had a child that was up at 6 every day it would've been torture.
I rarely go to bed before midnight. No point as I wouldn't sleep earlier.

Wrongdissection Tue 19-May-20 09:32:28

And yet I’ve not met a night owl yet who tries to convince a lark that they’re wasting their evening by sleeping.

Iwalkinmyclothing Tue 19-May-20 09:32:52

I don't know op! A lot of morning people think it makes them superior which is really odd.

JasperRising Tue 19-May-20 09:33:15

It's not necessarily all the fault of agriculture. When we first shifted to mass industry and there was no regulation then shifts could be c16 hours a day to maximise profits for the owners. Plus you still had to do chores with no electricity (even if you could get children to do some chores) so again if you slept in you lost time for hard chores and/or money from working.

'you're wasting the day' does make a lot more sense if you mentally time travel 150years back. Apparently we just haven't adjusted our way of thinking

JoJothesquirrel Tue 19-May-20 09:34:19

Getting up at 6 wouldn’t make you an early bird here angry. I only get up at 6 because that’s leaves anouvh time to get ready. I stayed in bed till 7.30 on Sunday (because me and the dog had been our for hours) and it was referred to as a lie in! There comes a point where getting up early is actually getting up in the night. I have no idea why you get to be morally superior. Probably because you’re bright and alert enough to make the argument when the rest of us are trying to rub the pillow creases out.

Justanotherscumbag Tue 19-May-20 09:36:38

I get this all the time. I work until 2/3am or night shifts, yet I'm still expected by some to be up at the crack of dawn, or if on nights by midday at the latest because I'm "wasting the day" otherwise.
I work through the night, in my eyes they're wasting the night! So much easier to work through the night with no one around and less distraction from phone calls etc.
Why is everyone still in bed at 1am? They should be up and doing stuff!
They look at me like I've gone wrong though if I say it.
Due to years of shifts I don't really have a set sleep pattern. I can go up to 27/8 hours without sleep, or survive on 4/5 hours a day for a while, but then I tend to sleep for 12/15 hours. This time is the closest I've been to 'normal' but I'm averaging 8 hours. Sometimes all in one go from 9pm and I'm up at 5am, sometimes from 3am and I'm up at midday, and sometimes in two blocks of 4 hours during the night and in the afternoon. Just depends really.
I think some people have such set routines that they can't think to deviate from that, because it doesn't work for them, and they can't see how it would for anyone else.
I do admit to loving between 4 and 6 am at this time of year though, usually when I'm on nights. It feels like a 'secret' part of the day that no one else knows about.

MiniTheMinx Tue 19-May-20 09:37:29

Had never thought about there being a moral aspect to opinion on this. Makes sense though because morals inform almost all decisions. I'm guessing its something to do with the Protestant work ethic. It's all about our value being defined by hard work. Those that work hard being morally superior. This fits into the shift to waged labour, because your value (including moral value) is hinged upon the value you create in working. ( labour theory of value, is all about time!)

I'm a night owl. I've been forced to try and change my natural body clock in order to maintain any ability to secure employment. Getting up before 7am results in headache, constipation, lethargy, just generally feeling unwell. What can you do though? I do it because paying bills.....

DH is up at 5am and straight into the day then crashes at 8.30pm. Both DS are night owls too. DH is constantly worrying about their productivity.

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