"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

#EndDaylightSavings Time?

I did everything right: I got dinner ready early, kept the boys off screens on Sunday night, turned all the clocks back before I went to bed Saturday so we would wake up Sunday as if it never happened -- as if the time change was a chimera. We went through the day, keeping to our normal Sunday schedule where I only put the time in quotes in the quiet and safety of my stubborn brain (which had kept me up late Saturday night writing, and late Sunday night too). Still: I'd gotten them all asleep a little early than the normal quote-bedtime-end quote. That should do it, right?

I found out how wrong I was when I woke up at "7:51" a.m. this morning, nine minutes before Truman's final bell rings. It's only a half-mile away, but when I tried to wake him I was resoundingly unsuccessful. I barely managed to get Everett ready by the time his transportation arrived at "8:15"; we were just late, late, late with Truman, and as I walked him into the cafeteria at "8:50" for breakfast, I said that I guessed we were early for the old, dear, departed time!

"His software hasn't adjusted," I said. And honestly: why is it that we treat ourselves and our kids like computers that can just be reprogrammed twice a year for no apparent reason other than the convenience of... who? Retailers? Manufacturers? (And more, is it of any use at all to businesses these days? Isn't it just harder to get their employees to work at the appointed time a few days a year?) Why are we doing this? Seriously: why?

One study shows that the frequency of heart attacks increases each year after the spring-forward. Another links the time change to suicide. Still another report insists that the change does not, in fact, save energy -- it wastes it! And, oopsies. No one has ever added up the increase in driving due to the extra sunlight; as we know, driving is far worse for the environment than keeping the lights on (especially here in Portland, where most of our power is "clean"). I went to Trader Joe's on Sunday and looked, from drooping eyes, at the cashier. "We all agreed," she said of the employees at the store. "We should end it! Like Arizona!" I love her.

The whole concept was created by Benjamin Franklin (as far as I read, it was on a total whim and was half-joking). It was implemented, at first, during the Great World Wars. While at different times during the history of Daylight Savings time, energy savings were shown by studies to actually exist (as much as 1% per day of the later sunset), no one has ever done a study that weighs the benefits and the costs (to health and well-being and, let's face it, to the constant juggling of clocks and timetables that occurs twice a year -- there must be a cost to that).

What I do know is that the experiment doesn't work for my family. Wrenching our bodies forward and backward in time twice a year creates stress, exhaustion, tardiness, and screws with the really delicate balance I work so hard to establish in my family's routines. It's an enormous flight of whimsy by a man who lived over a century ago and never had to get children up for school in the morning. (Nor, very probably, cook food or wash dishes or feed the chickens.) Here: I promise to turn my TV off two hours earlier all year round if we can just #enddaylightsavings time for good. Who's with me? (And if you agree, please share this post on Facebook and Twitter -- or wherever else you share things -- with the #enddaylightsavings hashtag.)


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I totally agree and have been wondering myself if the increase in traffic accidents, heart attacks etc is worth the energy savings.

I love daylight savings time. Love it. Its so nice to have light after I feed my family their dinner. I use that light to garden, walk or play with my chicken coop.

Oh, and when my kids were little, I'd shift their routine a few minutes daily for a couple of weeks in anticipation of the time change. Worked like a charm.

Down with DST!

i just wonder why DST isn't the standard time. i do like the shift with more daylight at the end of the day and less at the beginning but i hate the act of shifting.

we've had some good laughs the last few days trying to help the 6-year-olds at my house understnad DST, by the way. some hilarious conversations that end every time with one or the other of them saying, "but i just don't UNDERSTAND it."

Not a fan of the time change--boo! And I'm sure this is all coincidental, but my daughter and I both slept horribly Saturday night, felt crummy all day Sunday, and woke up yesterday ill: she was vomiting and I had a migraine. DST 2012 is off to a HORRID start for us.

I don't mind it. I like the daylight at the end of the day. I don't like feeling tired the few days after, but the schedule works itself out within a week...and then we get to enjoy more daylight!

Weall took a walk after dinner last night and I was thinking how much I like this time change.

We could do DST all year... more sun, no change!

It is just an hour...

I'd be willing to venture, without benefit of research I admit, that it would be healthier for us to just live with what the sun does when it does it. Similar to eating local & in season, living without air conditioning, getting places under our own power, etc. I don't have kids in school (yet) so we managed all right, but I'm not looking forward to dealing with that. I say we sort this out before my daughter starts Kindergarten in the fall! #enddaylightsavingstime

To Kyouell..

it's really no big deal. Just start two weeks ahead bumping your kid a few minutes each day in the new time direction. They won't miss a beat when the time actually changes.

I am with you. I hate the time change! My son's school starts at 8:00 so it is ugly for the first few days of school getting there on time. My daughter is only 2, and falling back and springing forward bring at least a week of sleep problems, tiredness, tantrums, and general feelings of ill will twice a year. If either of us didn't work out of the home it would probably be somewhat less stressful, but my husband and I have jobs we need to be at by 8:30, so no one gets to sleep in after DST hits and all are exhausted. I desperately wish we could pick either DST or not DST and stick with it all year.

I love DST. I work at an office five days a week, and it's so wonderful to come home while it's still light out, in the burgeoning springtime, and enjoy the feeling of "daytime" with my family. It makes our evenings feel a bit longer, which I treasure.

Back when I worked in hospitality and frequently had an AM brunch shift after a closing Saturday PM shift, I truly loathed "spring forward" because it translated to sometimes as little as 4 hours' sleep. But even then, I loooved "fall back" because it bought me an extra hour.

Nowadays I don't really know that I particularly care one way or the other---spending the Sunday a bit more lazily than normal seems to pretty much resolve any time issues. At worst I'll find myself waking up a bit towards the later end of my morning (6AM or 6:30 instead of 5AM), but it isn't THAT huge an issue. But (as you've probably already figured out), I'm not an especially schedule driven person, anyway.

It all affects me about the same as the minor jetlag I encounter when we visit the East Coast (or when we'd visit Hawaii back when we lived in NYC). Simce we're early risers now, we just get up a bit less early when we go to NY or Florida. Back when we lived on the East Coast, we were more night people---so we became early risers in Hawaii.

I say, just go with it!

@KYouell That wouldn't work in Helsiniki! I had a beer there at midnight and it looked like midday.

We shouldn't change. People in northern climates should be on DST year round.

Not a big deal for our family with three boys under the age of 9. Not sure why some families seem so bothered by it, but for us, the gain in daylight is priceless! We can begin our evening bikerides and walks soon, and that is a huge benefit to our health and happiness.

Its not a big deal for us. We have 2 boys, 8 and 10, and this time,they didn't even know it happened. I didn't even say anything about it (not for any particular reason,it just isn't a big deal to me). Lol, and this is terrible to admit, but I'm not even sure they know what DST is. But I do like the longer daylight and being able to still feel like we can do an outdoor activity after dinner.

alarm clocks?

'Wrenching our bodies forward'....I'm not sure if it's quite that dramatic. But I do love the extra daylight.

Well, I'm a little late to the conversation but I agree with it being difficult. And you aren't actually gaining any daylight, you just get lighter evenings sooner - its dark again in the morning which is harder for me. It isn't too long after we switch that it would be light in the evenings anyway, so lets just stay the same all year.

The comments to this entry are closed.