Real Talk for SAHMs: SAHMs who aren’t morning people aren’t lazy, chronotypes are real

The tyranny of the morning people has got to end.  Traditionally, mostly servants got up early.  Now it’s high status UMC types and their aspirational fans (i.e. most of the rest of American society).

SAHMs frequently act like just getting up earlier is the solution to any difficulties with prayer time, exercising, or arranging the day.  It is a recurrent theme.  I think the earliest I’ve seen or been told offline is to get up at 3am, though 4-6am is the typical range, usually 4-5am.  Which is feasible for a morning person, even through lots of kid wakeups.  Not so much for people with a different chronotype who don’t physically get tired before 10pm.

Wiki says that morning types don’t necessarily predominate, but in American culture they have taken the moral superiority reins and galloped right off with them.  There has been and continues to be a general tenor in American culture that early rising is morally better.  Someone could probably write a monograph connecting it up to the inherent consumption mentality that has ever dominated American society even before the Industrial Revolution.  They could also throw in some anti-Scandinavian polemic.  Thorstein Veblen is the spiritual grampa of overwork as a form of consumption behavior instead of bling.  He wasn’t the only one (there were some Scandinavian ladies behind it too), but his name is probably the most recognizable.  Overwork as consumption good is part of the tyranny of the morning people.

Repeatedly, morning people tend to act like it’s either getting up at 5am or sleeping until noon, and that obviously nobody should pick the latter choice.  The idea that chronotypes occur along a continuum and that even late-night types might well be able to “do mornings”, just at 9am instead of 6am, is utterly alien and threatening to a surprising number of morning people.  They place a stupendous amount of personal value on being up really really early and if other people are up later in the day and still have clean houses and functional kids and regular prayer lives, then maybe being up at 4am isn’t the one true path to holiness and merit.  It’s especially bad in the SAHM world, because the domestic sphere is so totally unvalued that it sometimes just might take a 14 hour day to actually get anything done effectively since the support is mostly in name only.

But chronotypes are real.  And valuing the domestic sphere for its own sake rather than declaring women who aren’t morning people lazy/selfish/spoiled/ungrateful would allow more private households to be functional no matter what time of day the lady of the house arose.  The Proverbs 31 wife is an ideal, not a literal woman.  Also, a lot of cultures have midday nap traditions for a reason, even if they are agrarian and the master and mistress have to pop up at 4am.



4 thoughts on “Real Talk for SAHMs: SAHMs who aren’t morning people aren’t lazy, chronotypes are real

  1. I’m so glad to see someone address this. I am a night owl. I get a surge of energy around 1-2 pm and it lasts until 10-11pm. I am very productive at this time and get a lot done. However, because my girls attend public school, I have to be on their schedule and get up at 6:45am. That may seem late to a morning person but when you are finishing the day’s work between 10 and 11 pm and then need another hour or two to unwind before falling asleep, it can be brutal. No matter how I try to cram myself into an early to bed/early to rise schedule, my body just won’t adjust to it. I still get that late surge of energy and even if I’m tired, I still can’t settle early in the evening. Our society just doesn’t allow for later schedules nor does it tolerate afternoon naps for the night owls who are forced to be on early schedules as you mentioned.

    My grandmother was a night owl but it wasn’t until her children were all out of the house that she could get on a sleep schedule that was natural for her.


  2. I’m a morning person who likes naps. 🙂

    DON’T ask me for anything after 10pm … except possibly a pillow. I’m less functional than a night-person at 8am without coffee.


  3. Pingback: Encouragement for the Weary | Loving in the Ruins

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