July 22, 2024
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July 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Daylight Savings and the Tale of the Unseen Mom

The recent clock change was painful. Yes, by the time you’re reading this our internal clocks will likely have adjusted, and identifying the time of day will not feel so disorienting. And yet, that Sunday—the fateful day—felt eye-opening to me.

I watched as my friends in Israel posted the week beforehand, when their clocks changed, about how their kids were simply not given the memo to sleep in. They posted photos of their sleepy children in pajamas waking in the wee hours of the morning asking for television, and they posted pictures of their extra coffees to get them through the day. The night before we changed our clocks I watched as friends of mine without children—many of whom still live in New York City—were out or gathered together to take advantage of the extra time.

And I felt sad. I felt sad because while I’ve become somewhat of an introvert, preferring to recharge my batteries alone or with a group of trusted friends, I still look at outings and gatherings and remember when that used to be me—before moving to New Jersey, before the pandemic, before having a child. I reflect on all I’m grateful for—the list is very long—while validating that the social part of me that enjoys adventures and hangouts with friends after work is dormant at this time.

And then I met Sunday morning. I woke up, as my toddler was screaming in her room an hour before she normally wakes, even with the clock changed. My groggy and disoriented self provided my daughter with time to settle, then went in to console her, brought her books to look at in her crib and finally brought her to hang out with me while I ceased the denial and started my day.

And somehow, Sunday November 7 was the longest day that I can remember. It wasn’t just about my daughter’s crankiness or that we all woke up earlier. It was about the change in my circadian rhythm, and a shorter Sunday meant that I couldn’t take her on our usual coffee and cookie date outing, making the day feel even longer. By the time the dinner hour rolled around and my husband and I had our first date in years for local outdoor dining, I thought it was 2 a.m. and my eyes were barely open. (It was 7:15 p.m.)

The day was also filled with more of my mom friends, posting about this being the longest day, memes and videos about how, for people without kids, this extra hour adds so much—but with kids, what do you get? Spoiler: You get nothing.

And I realized, before I had a daughter I would have likely looked at these posts, perhaps sent a message to these mom friends, and then moved on. Now being a mother myself, I felt a sense of community and camaraderie with my fellow parents, while also feeling somewhat separate from my friends without kids.

My belief as a psychotherapist is that one can have all the empathy in the world, and even have a shared similar experience, and yet we truly do not know what one another is experiencing individually. As a group, though, the collective experience can, of course, provide a sense of comfort and understanding. I made my own post that day on social media, noting that if we see a common trend amongst our friends, or even out there in the world, while we may not relate, we can do a better job of reaching out to check on one another.

While perhaps this sounds obvious, I do think that in our busy lives it can be easy to forget or to make space. We are all coping with our experiences, living through a pandemic and the adjustments at this time, and are navigating the world within our various identities. Taking the time to reach out and simply check in. Ask “What can I do?” instead of “Is there anything I can do?” when you notice that there is a collective experience that could be affecting someone you know or love. Know that Father’s Day or Mother’s Day can be challenging for individuals with a complicated relationship or without parents, for example? Reach out.

We cannot predict what someone may experience or what type of support may be needed, but the more we can push ourselves to truly show up for one another, especially when we feel afraid or cannot relate, the more we can provide a sense of safety, opportunity for connection, and in some cases—we may be making someone’s day or even saving a life.

On the Sunday of the clock change, what felt meaningful was being able to chat with others about the frustrations of the day. And I know that if my friends without children had reached out, I would have felt incredibly seen. Because sometimes, that’s what we want at our core: to feel seen and validated. I hope that as you navigate your own journey, reader, you can take time to validate yourself, to ask for help, and to reach out to others—others to whom you can and cannot relate. Provide that safe and supportive space so that we can grow further as individuals, and as a community.


Temimah Zucker, LCSW, works with individuals ages 16 and older in New York and New Jersey who are struggling with mental health concerns, and specializes in working with those looking to heal their relationships between their bodies and souls. Temimah is an adjunct professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, an advocate and public speaker surrounding eating disorder awareness, and a Metro-New York supervisor at Monte Nido. To learn more or to reach her, please visit www.temimah.com.

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