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Thread: Biorhythm issues in managing time/relationship

  1. #1
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    Biorhythm issues in managing time/relationship

    So something that is becoming abundantly clear to me (again) is that I am a morning person. Dh is a night owl.

    for years I have tried to force myself into his biorhythm. Especially when my kids were at home, because none of them were morning people. (Although ds is an “I just don’t need to sleep” person - 4 hours and he’s good. 6 and he’s well rested. His early childhood was rough!)

    but lately i’ve just been “going with the flow” - I get up when I want to, I get him off to work, and I accomplish things in the morning. 4 nights a week we both get home after 6, sometimes after 7, and i’ve been hardly ever making dinner. - large batches on one or two of the three nights i’ve been home all day, sometimes he cooks, spaghetti with sauce from a jar about once a week, and leftovers or whatever the other nights. This works for me. It works much less well for him, but he hasn’t complained, he just looks disappointed.

    so far so good but here is how evenings look - he gets home and he wants to eat, “finish up a few things” and “unwind” (read the paper, do the crossword, last night he added a 15 minute exercise routine with a really annoying soundtrack that took almost half an hour including changing, set up, and cool down with drink of water. He says he wants to do that every night.) so, now it’s close to 8 o’clock at best (he almost never gets home before 6:30) possibly close to 9. My body wants to go to bed at 9:00.

    some nights I try to stay up with him, but I don’t really accomplish much and i’m not really a sparkling conversationalist at that hour, and I get more and more tired as the week goes on if I do that, and by the time we finally do get to bed, I just want to go to sleep.

    some nights I just go to bed.

    when i’ve stayed up during the week I usually sleep in on the weekend to recover. Then my best “accomplishing things” time is spent doing my chores and hanging out with dh and a cup of coffee - which is nice, and one of the few times we really spend “together” all week - but I don’t end up doing any of the things I wanted to do on the weekends, and I get grumpy.

    I’m trying to figure out some way to have more time together during the week because the current system is starting to make me feel like we are roommates.

    and, i’m Not really a great roommate - dh likes the house clean and orderly. I’m tired in the evening - he almost always gets home second. So he comes home to a house where someone has come in, shed bags and piles of teaching stuff (objects, papers, books, tote bags), shoes, coats, groceries, whatever i needed to pick up at the pharmacy or farm store or hardware store...all over the living space, and then made food - heating leftovers or cooking - without cleaning up. And “someone” is tired and gets grumpy if asked to clean up.

    also, someone has a little folding desk she is supposed to fold up and put away every night, but since she is usually too tired to finish whatever, it often gets kept out so she can finish in the morning.

    then, after he leaves for work the next morning, I clean everything up, finish my work, and put my desk away.

    i’m trying to figure out what to do about this. I am hoping for insights from a new perspective, but also, please remember that while I can ask dh to make changes, I can only control my own behavior. (like, I need to find some way to reenergize myself enough to hang up my coat and put the groceries away! because I leave home every morning intending to, and then I get home in the evening just not caring and too tired to be creative or think to do anything for myself that might help)

  2. #2
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    CL: I guess we are lucky that DH & I have both evolved into morning people over the years. However, this did make it a bit challenging to get evening things done when we were both working full-time. (He now works part-time 10-3 weekdays and I am retired with a couple of little side gigs). I did the best if I kept moving when I got home, until I had done all the tasks I needed to do. Once I sat down, my momentum was gone and it was really hard to get going again. DH was always the one who made dinner and did the dishes in the evening, so he gets a lot of credit for that, even if dinner during the week was often grilled cheese or scrambled eggs - he kept us fed! A Crock-pot probably could help with meals during the week because we could prep in the AM when energy levels are higher. He often does some batch cooking on the weekends.
    As far as only wanting to sleep when we got to bed, we switched "non-sleep bed activities" to morning, and that has worked very well for us. Good luck with your biorhythm challenges!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    When we were both working I was the night owl (I worked nights) and my husband was asleep by 9p. We each had a day off to ourselves. Now retired, we are together 24/7 and he is the night owl (following politics on late night) while I am the one hitting the hay early. I get up early and have the house to myself for a few hours just as he has free reign at night. We like this little bit of time real estate for ourselves.
    We also have chores split up and although we might assist with somebody's chore list we pretty much stick to it. DH does almost all the grocery shopping and almost all of the cooking. He likes it. However, if I want something out of his usual meal rotation I shop for and cook it.
    You are right, you can only control yourself. Control what is important to you even if it might be perceived to be your partners domain. Sometimes it is just controlling your irritation over what isn't in sync. DH and I can both be picky about certain things and have learned that doesn't mean we can expect the other person to do as we would do, so we just suck it up and take care of it. Example, for some reason my DH can not put his clothes directly in the hamper. He will put them on top or near it laughing calling it his staging area. I do laundry so I just pick them up and put them in. He likes a spotless kitchen before he starts cooking. I am not spotless in that area so he will clean up after I clean up.

  4. #4
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    Yes, CL, you can only control yourself. Like Rosa I would not sit down immediately when coming home until I had put things away. You are so good at doing those morning chores, when you come home the house is still tidied up...maybe you can sing a song about putting it all away to keep it as tidy as when you left. Dance a bit as you hang up your coat, your school bag, and exercise bag, and folding table tray, then sit down and enjoy looking around at it all before DH comes home. Good luck with this as I KNOW it is HARD!

  5. #5
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    My sleep patterns keep shifting around. A couple of years ago I started waking up early--as in 5 am at the latest, and my bedtimes got correspondingly earlier as well. By 9 pm I was struggling to keep my eyes open, even on non-work nights. Lately things have shifted again. I'm still up pretty early (no later than 6 most days), but I don't have trouble staying awake later in the evening.

  6. #6
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    When I worked full time once I sat down it was over. So since you are leaving it neat I would just take the few minutes to put everything you bring through the door away. Also for meals the whole chickens and sides you can buy at the grocery store are really good. You just have to warm them up. Maybe too buy a few meals he can just put in the oven to bake. Maybe one night a week you 2 meet in town for dinner so you can be together and just relax.

  7. #7
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    My parents were like this--Dad was up at 5 am. Mom stayed up late every night--I think it was the only time she had peace and quiet to get stuff done, what with 7 kids and all.

    I can't speak to the time difference, but for the shedding stuff as you come in the door, what has worked for me (I used to have the same problem), is to make it very, very, very easy to put stuff away. For example, if putting a coat away involves opening a closet door, pulling out a hanger, putting the coat on a hanger, putting the hanger on the rod and closing the door--that's 5 steps. Slinging the coat on a hook on the inside of the closet door is 3 steps, open door, coat on hook, close door. Putting the coat on a coat tree by the front door is 1 step.

    Putting a coat away is also complicated by the fact that you are carrying lots of stuff when you get home, so I'll bet you have to put everything down, take off your coat, put it away, and then pick it all up again to put it away--more steps!

    So . . . could you set up a space where you put most of what you are carrying *and* your coat and shoes? Rearrange the coat closet so there's an easy place to put the coat, a basket for shoes, hooks or shelves for the tote bags and other tools of your trade. That way you open a door, stand there and put lots of stuff away, close the door and pick up the few things that are left. If the coat closet won't work, brainstorm something that will fit your space--a freestanding cabinet, a bookcase, hooks on the wall, etc.

    Or for the teaching stuff, have a space in a home office or someplace that is dedicated to just that stuff. But remember to make it simple and easy to put everything away every night.

    As for the other stuff, if you are running errands most nights after work, can you consolidate those to one night? That way, you have just the one night where you have stuff from the pharmacy, feed store, etc. to put away.

    Also brainstorm ideas for making putting things away easy. Would it be better to enter the house by another door? Or buy a freestanding wardrobe so as to have storage for coat and shoes far away from the "official" coat closet? Would changing your tote bags for a different bag help?

    The more places you need to go to put everything away, the more steps it takes to deal with an individual item, the greater the chance that everything gets dumped by the door, or on the dining table, or some other place it doesn't belong.

    The folding desk doesn't seem to be working. Why can't you have a real desk that just stays put all the time?

    I know this isn't your biggest issue here. But I know from my own experience that once I got some of the nightly mess under control, coming home was that much more pleasant.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I am a morning person; DH is a night person. Lately, we say goodnight to each other at 10pm, when I go to bed. He comes up to bed around 1am. I don't want to fight that. I hate staying up late at night, because I'm too tired to do anything of any significance, so I waste my life watching a stupid movie on TV and looking at my watch to see if it's time to go to bed yet.

    He doesn't mind that I go to bed earlier. I don't mind that he goes to bed later.

    Since I work from home and he's retired, we don't have that "passing in the night" experience. Not sure what to suggest, except I think it's really hard to change your biorhythm, and I'd just do what I could to adjust. I feel that even just knowing I'm sleeping next to DH gives me the sense of "quality time."

    Maybe maximize a pocket of time, like dinner/post-dinner?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Wow, so many responses. Thank you.

    i saw some before I left for work, but I wanted to try some things before I responded.

    so, the mess I leave around is most under my control. It doesn’t bother me, but I want things to be nice for him. Also dinner. So, before I left this morning, I planned where I was going to put my school bag and swim bag when I got home. I decided that most of what i bring home can say in the car overnight. I’ve been trying to empty my car as soon as I get home because it’s one of those cleaning/organizing tips, but it makes more sense for me to leave anything that just needs to be put away (and isn’t perishable) in the car until morning. (I make stops lots of days because I vary my route home slightly to pass whichever store - all the errands would be a lot more time and driving) then, I put the box of pasta I planned to cook tonight on the spot where I usually drop stuff, and I put a piece of candy on the shelf in the closet above my empty coat hanger.

    next - getting home is hard because I am hungry and tired and cold and the fire has gone out and I want a snack before I do anything.

    i put a banana in the car. I filled the pot with water for the pasta and put it on the stove (with a lid, because we have a cat) I took three sheets of the newspaper for starting fires out of it’s metal basket tray thingy, and put three small logs in. Then I put kindling on top of that, wood chips on top of that, and the paper back. I cut up all the vegetables for dinner, put them in a container in the fridge, and set a pan out for those too. 18 minutes. 18 minutes that were nothing this morning, but would have been eternity tonight.

    i ate my banana in the car 1/2 hour before I got home. I walked in and I did not sing, but I remembered not to sit, and I only brought in my school bag, swimbag and some things that belonged in the room I walk into first. Put those away, put my school bag down in it’s spot, took care of the swim bag in the laundry room (took the wet suit out!). Hung up my coat and got my candy, took off my shoes next to the trash can (correct spot) when I put the candy wrapper in it.

    turned on the stove to heat the water, put some butter in the pan, tossed all the things into the wood stove in reverse order and relit, put the veggies and some spices in the hot butter, put the pasta in the boiling water, and when dh got home 15 minutes after I did, I was stirring and he said “wow! You’ve been working hard!”

    The folding desk - I have a real desk. I hate it. It’s two worst features are - 1) it’s in the basement, 2) I have to sit in a chair to use it. Those may not be in the right order. Generally I sit on the floor and work around myself, making piles on the couches/floor/chairs. I would prefer to work at a coffee table, but dh for some reason has a pathological hatred of coffee tables. So, he bought me this pretty little Japanese folding table that is just the right height and can be set up anywhere in the house. Currently I choose in front of the fire. I have a basket to put the loose stuff away in and space on a shelf for books and notebooks (and sometimes papers that don’t fit in the basket) and the table goes in the closet. It actually works really well except for the part where I get tired and leave it out overnight during the week. (Because hey, he’s leaving in the morning anyway)

    dinner out - we were meeting somewhere for dinner every Thursday night. It was really nice and helped us focus on spending time together and having actual conversations. We stopped in November for financial reasons. Still need to work on that interaction time - but we have had dinner, my chores are done, and since I went to sleep at a reasonable hour last night I am still awake. Now to see if can drag dh out of his paper....

  10. #10
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    CL, What a clever method you've started to get this problem solved. Treat yourself, take the time when you have energy to prepare for when you don't. Dinner out too expensive..maybe you could pack a picnic in the morning and have dinner together in a park or somewhere not at home. Or maybe in front of the fire. Now that you have a great plan for the afternoon...BRAVO!

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