Rude Awakening

This morning in my very sleepy haze I thought it seemed pretty light out and I didn't remember the alarm having gone off yet. You know that feeling where you think for a second that you have no idea what time it is first thing in the morning? Yeah that was the feeling I was having as I first woke up.

Since Bret and I are both blind as bats we have to scramble to find glasses first thing in the morning so we can see the clock. Since Bret sleeps with the alarm on his side of the bed I usually quietly ask "honey, what time is it?"

I hate asking this question because I am usually too early or too late in asking. So in the first scenario I usually get a quick panic jolt from Bret and then a large sigh and a few grumbles letting me know that he doesn't appreciate me waking him up before he needs to be up.

Then in the other scenarios I get a jump straight of bed followed by loud cussing that would make you blush. The light comes on and he is running around and rushing into the bathroom to take a shower. I get orders barked at me (pick me something out to wear, go grab my pager, etc, etc) while I am still trying to pry my eyes open from the rude awakening.

I don't know what it is but some how Bret manages to over sleep at least once a month. Part of it is exhaustion. Too tired at night to remember to set the alarm or too tired in the morning to hear it and that automatic hit the snooze button response. I don't blame him. I think most of us would have a hard time getting out the door in the morning after putting in 12-13 hour days for a month straight. Of course when I ask him if he remembered to set the alarm of course he has and is annoyed that I would ask. Then when I don't ask it can some how be my fault for not reminding him.

I am a very light sleeper so it is pointless for me to have my own alarm because I am usually pretty awake when his alarm goes off. I hate the fact that he sets the alarm literally an hour before he has to get up so that he has time to "wake up". I on the other hand am usually awake the first time the alarm goes off. I think during pre-marital counseling there needs to be a session on how to manage your mornings. The alarm, who gets in the shower first, are you morning person, etc would all be topics of coverage. Let me tell you that after almost six years of marriage we are just finally getting into a reasonable routine that is upset every month with the change in Bret's rotation.

Here's hoping that tomorrow we get to sleep in to a decent time for the first time in a long time.


LegalMist said...

My husband sets the alarm way earlier than he needs to be up, too. Drives me nuts. But it's such a minor "flaw" in my book that I have just resigned myself to getting up earlier than I otherwise might. Or sometimes I go back to sleep. :)

And I sympathize with the glasses issue -- I go through the "I can't see well enough to find my glasses" syndrome at least a couple times a month. Frustrating, isn't it?

Can you get just a clock, with really large numbers, for your side of the bed? Or even a wall clock with large hands so you can tell approximately what time it is by the fuzzy lines even if you don't have your glasses on? That way you could see what time it is without waking him, and then wake him only if it really is time to wake up.

And although it's nice that you sympathize with him, he really is being unfair to blame you when he oversleeps. My husband has that natural tendency to blame me for everything, too, and it drives me nuts. Marital counseling has helped, but he is still a work in progress. So am I, truth be told...

One thing that has helped for us is recognizing that a huge part of communication is actually on the recipient's side. People don't always properly understand what you're saying, even if they hear every single word that you said. So when you say, "Did you set the alarm clock?" (or whatever words you are using) some part of his brain is hearing "You are so irresponsible you can't be trusted to set the alarm clock," and that is why his response is to be annoyed with you for asking.

So, you might first try softening the approach. I know it seems ridiculous, but literally saying to him, "I love you honey darling sweetie pie love of my life who is the smartest most wonderful guy in the world, and so I have to ask, did you set the alarm clock tonight?" It should be so over-the-top that he is practically guaranteed to smile or laugh instead of feeling like you are accusing him of being irresponsible. If that doesn't get a smile and a simple "yes" or "no" out of him instead of a grumpy response, then try the following:

Sometime when you are both feeling good (i.e. have had a reasonable amount of sleep and you guys are just hanging out), you could talk with him about how you "are having a problem feeling stressed" and ask if he would be willing to help. If he says yes, then explain that you know he is stressed out, and you feel stressed too, when the alarm doesn't go off and you both oversleep, and that you feel blamed when he says "[whatever words he usually uses to blame you for oversleeping]" .... and yet ... the times when you remind him to the alarm clock, he seems to feel offended that you would accuse him of being forgetful.

Point out that he is obviously a very bright and responsible and capable guy, but also overworked and overtired, and that it is human nature to forget things and/or to oversleep sometimes, so when you ask about the alarm clock, it is *not* an accusation that he is incompetent, but a loving reminder. Explain that when he hears the words "Did you set the alarm?" (or the expanded version above) he needs to understand that you **really are saying** (the underlying message is), "I love you so much honey and I want to help you be successful, happy, and relaxed" and that you are *not* (in fact, would never even consider!!!) saying "You're an irresponsible idiot who can't be trusted with a simple task like setting the alarm clock."

Then point out that, when he blames you for the alarm clock not going off and yet gets angry if you remind him to set it, it puts you in a "no win" situation that causes unnecessary stress for you, too.

Then, ask him what he would like for you to do to solve this "no win situation" problem. Does he want you to
(1) *NEVER* remind him? Then he needs to take full responsibility and NEVER blame you and bark orders at you if he oversleeps, or
(2) Remind him to set the clock? Then he must promise to understand that the underlying message is "I love you," not accusation and blame, and so when you remind him, he should respond with love, too, by saying something very kind such as "Thanks so much for the reminder, sweetie" with a smile and possibly even a kiss (and with no sarcasm or offended tone, just an understanding that you are showing your love) and then set it or not depending on whether he already did it or not, or
(3) (If this is an option you are willing to do) Set the alarm clock every night for him? Then he must promise to *NEVER* be angry at you if you forget, since it's human nature and all, and to say "Thank you" every morning when he gets up.

And -- if he turns the tables and reminds you about setting the alarm, you have to promise to hear "I love you honey and I want us both to have a stress-free morning, so I am just curious to know whether the alarm has been set" and not "you're an idiot who can't be trusted to set an alarm clock." :)

Wow, that was probably longer than your original post. Sorry. I guess this one hit close to home for me, since it's a recurring issue in my own marriage.... communication is hard sometimes, isn't it?

Adriana said...

Whew I did hit a hot button LegalMist :)

I should have also included that I usually get a text or call at work with an apology later. I too am guilty of blaming..no not blaming but more taking it out on Bret when I am stressed. Luckily for both of us that as fast as we might freak out on each other we tend to get over it just as quickly. Communication is always a work in progress :)

Autumn said...

So after reading your blog and LegalMist's book (lol) I realize that (GASP!) I'm NOT alone in the Mr. Grumpy problem first thing in the AM!!! Bill is HORRIBLE first thing in the morning I have tried everything to make him a little happier for the morning drive to work (we work right next door to each other so to save gas we carpool to work). I mean literally tried everything (from making him breakfast to early sex) nothing works! I have decided that he is just going to be grumpy for the first hour upon waking and I just keep my mouth shut and let him complain about everything and anything. Besides by the time the afternoon rolls around he is usually apologizing for "whining" (his word, though I was thinking it). I think the main problem is stress. With the economy currently residing in hell and hearing about all our friends/families/other peoples job losses/ bankruptcy filing/ financial struggles etc I think our men freak out that we could be next and what if we loose everything (job, home, money etc) how are they possibly going to provide because they aren’t exactly irreplaceable at their jobs and what if..... etc.
I know I freak out sometimes too, but apparently it goes SO MUCH DEEPER for men. Idk that's just my guess.


ps if you have Googly Analytics I bet you will get 100+ hits off this entry alone (and the response LegalMist gave you) which is awesome because you both gave a LOT of great info! :D