Twice a year, I receive a variety of “woe is mom”-like submissions about DST (daylight saving time / daylight standard time). But unlike the other two occasions a year that parents complain about a temporary annoyance (fireworks during the Fourth of July and/or New Year’s Eve), I can actually sympathize with parents who think that daylight saving time is a tired old tradition that makes everyone cranky. Most people seem to agree on this sentiment, especially considering the original purpose of DST was to reduce energy usage, and today “the actual effect on overall energy use is heavily disputed.” It’s helpful to get an extension of daylight, of course, but sleep disruptions can be a nuisance, and shifting just one hour can cause a surprising amount of frustration.
That said, the one way in which I don’t agree with certain parents who hate DST is that those parents tend to take the shift personally. Rather than consider all of the people whose lives are affected by the time change (in ways both big and small), parents see the bi-annual clock adjustments as targeted affronts. They know that DST has been around for nearly 100 years, but that doesn’t stop them from angrily lashing out or whining as though the time change affects them and their kids more than any other “type” of person. Technically, this is because kids already get up so goddamn early, it’s hard to imagine losing even more sleep because little Trexton suddenly wants to kick it at 4am or 5am, but hey, that doesn’t mean it’s much easier for anyone else. How about the people who travel for work and regularly hop around various time zones? Or people who work night shifts or early morning shifts and have to make yet another sleep adjustment in their bizarrely off-kilter schedules? Everyone is affected by our archaic DST system — not just parents and their energetic, wakeful children. And yet every five or six months when we all dutifully abide by the time change, some parents take their online complaining to woe is mom heights as if the change only truly impacts them. I’m here to tell them that they are, in fact, wrong. Let’s check out some examples.
1. DST Screws Over Event-Goers And Moms
Rachel’s got a point, but there IS a relatively easy solution to solving the DST Parenting Crisis, which is to put kids to bed ten minutes later than usual (or earlier, for standard time) each night for about a week before DST kicks in. OR, try to extend the kid’s nap times. Whatever works! Ultimately, something will. In the grand scheme of things it’s a hell of a lot better to lose an hour of sleep due to daylight saving time than it is to lose sleep over riots or bombs outside your window. I’m not usually a “Count your blessings!” type, but let’s get real. It’s a freaking hour.
2. DST Panic Mode!!!!
Exclamation points tell me that Brandy is not fucking around with this readiness assessment!!!!! She is not a happy mama!!!! Her child cannot handle this apocalyptic, stress-inducing lack of sleep and yes it WILL affect the average kindergartener’s ability to read and potentially enter the first grade!!!! Ahhh DAMN YOU, daylight saving time and ignorant school systems!!!!!
3. Story Hour
Honestly, after reading through Liz and Kasy’s enlightening discussion about bed times, I might need a nap myself. Maybe Liz should try something called “a night cap” that will leave her feeling oh-so-woozy at a slightly earlier hour until her kid’s body adjusts? Either that or she can just read her own Facebook page until she dozes off. Shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
Meg’s DST hostility is palpable. She scares me. I hope her friends see this update and know to stay out of her way this week, because she’s bound to explode on someone – anyone – who doesn’t have kids. I can already picture her flipping over grocery carts in the parking lot because all the parent and child parking spaces are taken. The world is a cruel, cruel place.
5. DST Sancti-Mommyjacking
What’s interesting about this mommyjacking is that Kim knows that Robert is a recent dad himself, and yet she still barges in on his cheerful Facebook thread to sass it up. Why bother? Robert isn’t concerned. Maybe Kim should take a parenting tip from him rather than offer useless advice that bums everyone out. “Schedules” are for THE WEAK, Kim!
6. Moms Lol
True, Melissa, true. But the cool thing about daylight saving time is that there’s a bright side — a literal bright side that means we can all enjoy an extra hour of sunlight from now until the fall. Sure, adjusting to the time change sucks, and babies don’t “get it,” but neither do pets, and I’ve yet to see an update in which people complain about their dogs getting up earlier. Those updates probably exist, but they would sound just as stupid. Maybe instead of assuming that DST sucks more for moms than anyone else, it’d be better to accept that everyone has a relationship with “time,” and eventually we all get used to the change. Until several more months pass, and we get to go through it all again. Thanks for the great invention, George Vernon Hudson. Everyone pretty much hates you.