Waking Up With Betsy

When Tom awoke in the morning, Betsy was already dressed. Her hair was combed and she had put on lipstick.
'What time is it?' he asked.
'Good God,' he said. 'Go away. I've another hour to sleep.'
'No you don't,' she said. 'No more rushing for the train.'
'This is the new regime. We're going to have a leisurely breakfast before you go to work.'
'Oh, God!' he said.

The three children came in and stood by the bed staring at him. Their hair was all combed, and they had on freshly ironed clothes. 'Momma got us up early,' Janey said mournfully. 'Are you going to get up too?'

Sloan Wilson, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, 1955

I do enjoy this novel. It is the story of a marriage - one of those wartime marriages where the wedding was followed by an absence of years, with all its associated trials and stresses. Tom and Betsy are in their 'tired thirties', parents of three young children. Tom is working hard for not enough money, and the family are trapped in a house they hate, and a life not satisfying enough. Betsy's decision to get up early and take control of their family life is somewhat of a catalyst for the many decisions the couple begin to make which lead to them creating a happy future for themselves.

At our house, if I get up any later than 7.05am the entire morning falls apart. Getting one child off to school, three girls up and breakfasted, dressed, washed, house more or less tidied and school work more or less started by 9ish takes every minute. So, of course, human nature being what it is, I sleep until four and a half minutes past seven. Still, whilst loving to sleep, I am beginning to think that if I do a Betsy and get up early and take control, then I will have a minute to breathe. I may be able to go for a walk, or open my mail, or even cook breakfast if I am feeling especially gracious. Or maybe just comb my hair and put on lipstick. I can but try. So, 6am tomorrow morning. Me and Betsy.


Jen said…
Wonder if this book is available at the library. I really need some inspirational reading to get going any earlier than 9am. Yeah, I am vertical before then, I do have 4 boys after all but I don't move in any significant manner until about 9. Isn't that disgusting?
Jo said…
Small children do take it out of you. When mine were small and waking on the hour every hour through the night, The Man took over early in the morning and I didn't get up till he left the house at 8.30. Different stages of life - different possibilities. Don't be hard on yourself. I get eight hours of unbroken sleep every night!
Woah, good luck with your early start! We have the opposite problem here, the baby slept in till 5:20 this morning and I nearly cried with happiness. Usually we (I) am up at 4 something...
Jo said…
Oh, I will never forget those days of forced dawn appreciation. There is nothing worse to get up to than early morning bellowing... well, there probably is actually. At least babies are cute and snuggly. I am appreciating the element of choice, and the possibility of turning off the alarm. I do sympathise with your plight, and the impossibility of turning off the baby...

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