Wednesday, July 19, 2006

You snooze, you lose

There are some rifts that stretch a marriage to its very edges, if not beyond. Illness, infidelity, financial woes—and the godforsaken snooze button. Because there are two kinds of people: snoozers and just-get-your-ass-out-of-bed-for-the-love-of-Pete people. And they really should not be married to each other.

We have struggled with this problem for many years. It waxes and wanes in severity. In the early, idyllic days (you know, pre-kids, when I was actually sleeping at night anyway) I tolerated the snoozing—which meant the alarm would go off nearly an hour before Jeff really needed to get up, and he’d proceed to hit the snooze button every 8 minutes until he reached the actual critical wake-up moment. I, of course, would be wide awake for this entire procedure, but I looked at as extra snuggle time with my sweetie (gag).

Soon after our wedding, when Jeff took a job farther away that required an earlier wake-up time, I happened to be taking yoga classes at the crack of dawn, so I just got up at or before the first alarm and left him to snooze. When I was expecting Jo, I played the “pregnant person needs sleep” card, which worked to some degree. When she was a little baby, it didn’t much matter when the alarm went off, because I was already up.

But after she started sleeping later in the morning, I lost my patience with the snooze. I was bone-tired, like any mom, and damned if I was going to be cheated out of 45 minutes or more of sleep every morning just because “It’s the only way I can wake up.” He turned down the volume, and I took catnaps in between alarms, but I’d still be jolted awake over and over again. We honestly had knock-down drag-out fights over this.

Several months ago a friend who’s a magazine editor appealed to her network for stories of petty little disagreements couples have, for an article she was working on. The idea was to pose them to a marriage counselor, who’d then reveal the underlying problem and how to solve it. Like the couple who fought over who ate the last banana = control issues!

So I sent her our dilemma. And get this: we stumped the therapist. He said, “Though they’ll have to find some way to compromise, I don’t feel too optimistic. I think she’s going to find an awful fight.”

I felt 100% vindicated, even though he didn’t provide any real advice at all. As soon as Opie is sleeping through the night (dream on, sister) my plan is to get up when Jeff’s alarm goes off, then leave the house to work out. That way he’s completely responsible for any kid needs that arise during my absence. Now that’s alarming.


bubandpie said...

I'm probably a bit of a snooze-button pusher myself (not sure, at this point, it's been so long since my children used an alarm). That said...

Your husband is in the wrong. Period. Or maybe exclamation point.

If he forces himself out of bed, he may experience a few moments of unpleasantness before he fully wakes up, but when he hits snooze for 45 minutes, you get 45 minutes of unpleasantness AND you LOSE 45 minutes of sleep. And the sleep, it is precious. Not to be squandered.

I guess maybe you could compromise on 20 minutes of snoozing?

bubandpie said...

Yeah, sleep deprivation here. "so long since my children used an alarm" I don't even know what that was supposed to say. No alarm clocks needed here, at any rate. One or the other child is always up by 6:30.

Her Bad Mother said...

YES. MY Bad Husband is a total snoozer and it became a total bone of contention during my pregnancy when every minute of sleep was hard won.

I won that fight. Which is good, because we would have ended up divorced otherwise.

Lady M said...

Beautiful idea. He wakes you up . . . but then he needs to hold the bag! You might want to stop for a latte before you head home too. ;)

Binkytown said...

I think that idea is BRILLIANT! That's a win-win, hands down.

Tree said...

You stumped him! Too freaking funny. And too right. This is such an obnoxious habit and unfortunately my dh possesses it as well.

I do precisely what you have suggested - get up and workout. But I am still at the house, so I still receive the short end of the stick at times. But it is better than the alternative of laying there, finally drifting back to sleep just in time to be rudely awakened once again.

Krisco said...

I *completely* relate. I so DO NOT understand the snooze alarm. If you actually don't need to get up for another 45 minutes (my husband hits that button for an hour), why ruin that last 45 or 60 minutes of sleep? Just do not get it.

I agree this discrepancy sounds trivial but can be a BIG argument starter.