Today, I went out on a limb and tried to explain to a friend about our "coming around week"... and I realized that it is exactly the sort of thing that makes people think that RU is not for them. So I thought it was worth addressing.
I spent a considerable amount of time trying to keep my family on a consistent sleep/wake schedule. Not a conventional one, perhaps, but I definitely had a window of time where I thought: we should go to sleep during this time period. And a window for when everyone should be waking up. This ended up with a lot of stress for me, and everyone else. So I let it go. Totally. We sleep when we sleep. And the most interesting pattern has evolved: one week out of every month, we switch night and day, and we are staying up all night and going to sleep a bit later each day. And then after that week, we're sleeping at night again. Dh and I call it "coming around." My kids just call it staying up all night.
We're all sleeping at least 8 hours (me) and up to 11 or 12 hours (the kids.) I'm actually getting way more sleep now. How it works is that every night, bedtime is a little later than the night before. So we have one week of getting up early, going to be early. And then the next week of the "perfect schedule" I tried so hard to make the ONLY schedule - going to bed around midnight and getting up late morning. And then we have a week where it's getting later and later, and we're up until 2, 3, 4 in the morning. By the following week, we're staying up past dawn, then to noon, and then to the late afternoon. And then that brings us back around (hence "coming around") to the first week w here we are up at 6 AM. And so on. It was so strange to find that this is how it is. It's like a revolution. (As in something that revolves, not a coup!) There is no way I could have orchestrated it For that one week where it is TOTALLY flipped, playgroups are hard to get to, if not impossible. The rest of the month we live what looks like a normal life.
This is very much something that other families would look at and think that it was absurd, ridiculous, impossible, wrong, too much work, too much laziness, whatever... but it is apparently what works for us. I wanted to share it because I spent so much time resisting it, trying to make something else work, and it was awful. I was in tears a lot, of frustration, exhaustion, resentment. But I thought that I would find "peace" and "rest" when I figured out how to make the schedule I was trying to maintain work on a permanent basis. We've "come around" in the past and it's always been in desperation because it was the Only Thing that Worked. But I felt that if I were doing things right in the first place, it wouldn't be necessary. So it had that feeling of failure attached.
I let go of all of that, and from then on we just followed our happiness. I stopped saying "It's time for bed!" and stopped placing expectations on myself and the children. I threw away the guilt and worry and shame and frustration. Now we bake brownies at 4 AM if that's what happens. And sometimes we are getting up at 6 AM and having a normal day like normal people. The reason I wanted to share this isn't to say that everyone should have this same kind of kooky schedule that doesn't make any sense. I wanted to share it because what I thought I wanted was not what I wanted. What I truly wanted was for us all to be well-rested and living in joy. Finally, after YEARS of struggling with how I thought that was supposed to happen, I released control on it, and what worked out was EXACTLY what everyone needed. As my kids get older, this all might change. These nights of staying up until dawn might be just a memory. But for right now, it's our reality, and it's what works for us.
I encourage everyone to take whatever it is that they are struggling with the most, and just Let It Go. Release it. Stop fighting... and I think you will be so unbelievably blessed by the results. Joy follows.