Before I had a child, the only thing that got me out of bed before eleven on a Sunday morning was a flight to catch. And then in winter, it was worse. It was an achievement to get up for breakfast, and even if I did I’d go back to bed till lunchtime. All that ends when you have a child of course. I’m lucky if my son sleeps till nine, and by eleven, it’s not unusual for us to be returning home after a walk around the block or a quick trip to the supermarket.
During these walks, I’ve discovered that there are actually lots of people who get up early on Sundays. To do sports, go fishing, walk the dogs, see sights, whatever. So far, so good. But what I didn't know, and only just found out, is that Sundays are a kind of parallel universe. Populated by families with small children.
It all began when a good friend of mine invited me to a concert for babies. On a Sunday. Ten in the morning. Outside the city. When the alarm went off just after eight that morning, I went into a state of shock. My body actually hurt, and I could hardly manage to speak. Quick shower, quick breakfast, baby fixed in baby-carrier, quickly. When we got there, I was expecting all the other parents to meet me with that knowing look of solidarity that said ‘There you go again making a little sacrifice for your baby.’ But to my enormous surprise the hall was full of happy, smartly dressed families and the only looks I got said ‘You could at least have combed your hair.’ More surprising still, there were parents here who were doing this for the third or fourth time. Now, I even found the concert fun as an experience (and I’d like to take this chance to thank my friend for the invite), and I can understand why a lot of people would want to go back, but why not at three in the afternoon? Why not at midday?
The reason is simple. It’s that parallel universe, populated by families that go out on Sunday mornings, of their own free will, and need something to keep them occupied. In this universe, concerts and plays begin at ten and birthday parties at ten thirty (!!!), and they’re full of entire families well turned out, wide awake, not a hair out of place, made-up and dressed up, at that time of the morning.
In the regular world, Sunday mornings are for resting, for nursing a hangover, for making the most of the only day in the week when the alarm clock doesn't go off. Even when there are early-waking babies around, it’s the one day we can be more relaxed about everything we do, when we can really enjoy our breakfast and play around in the living room without always looking at the time. In the parallel universe of families with small children, everyone’s had a bath by eight o’clock; everyone’s out of the house by nine and all the various events are underway by ten.
Now I’ve found out this parallel universe exists, all I want to do is stay in mine. In my family, Sunday mornings are for wearing pyjamas until noon.