Here’s a little formula I’ve been trying to figure out ever since our kids were toddlers.It seems there’s only so much energy to go around in our house. When the kids are awake and active, they are actually siphoning it from their parents — or perhaps sucking it directly from our systems. They are, in effect, energy vampires.
How do I know this is true? Well, I think of myself as a pretty high-energy person. I actually do get up in the morning with a spring in my step, looking forward to the day. I sometimes even sing in the shower. At work I’m very high-energy, giving my best make my classes lively and interesting.
When I pick up the kids from school, I’m still doing pretty well. But by the time we get home and make it through homework, music practice, and getting supper ready, I start to wilt. By the time they’re ready to go to bed I’m often sleepier than they are. And the more energy they have — running around, yelling, shouting, playing, fighting with each other — the less I have. Jason has observed this same phenomenon in himself. There are nights I wonder whether I’ll get through putting the kids to bed without stumbling over the foot of one of their beds and falling comatose on top of them.
Yet as they settle down to sleep (which they have always been pretty good at, thankfully) a strange thing happens. It’s as if I am infused with new life and strength. I rise from my prone position and find myself able to tackle simple tasks, like sorting laundry or blogging. By they time they’re fully asleep I feel human again, ready to laugh and talk and tackle new challenges. I have my second wind about 9:30 and I’m good for a couple of hours then.
The only explanation is that when the children are asleep, they are no longer draining energy from me. Unlike traditional vampires, the energy vampires actually seem to favour the daylight hours and become dormant in the dark. Which I guess means they’re turning me into … a creature of the night.
It’s now 8:40 and their rooms are relatively quiet. I can feel my pulse start to quicken again. Soon the energy balance will be restored and I can begin drawing on it once more, allowing me a few more hours of mental clarity and physical stamina.