I get tired. Running a household is relentless. There are dishes EVERY day. Dirty clothes don’t take a day off. In addition to these inexorable piles there is a long list of things on top of which I am expected to stay.
And I don’t.
This causes me to wake at 3 in the morning and begin to berate myself. “Everyone else has their act together, Rebecca. You are the ONLY one who forgets to change the oil in her car.”
I am here to tell you this is a lie.
My 3am voice tells lies. But it’s not her fault. She wishes she were asleep.
I began to recognize her when I saw her yelling at my husband. Here’s what happened.
My son was bragging about some fresh bread another mom had sent on a backpacking trip. I send fabulous food on a regular basis but he doesn’t comment about that. This is because I am his mother and he is used to me feeding him, but my 3am voice couldn’t see that. She just felt invisible, right?
So I say something snarky. My son leaves for school.
Enter my husband who arrives home from working all night. I tell him “his son” wouldn’t treat me that way if he didn’t take me for granted. Did I mention he’d just worked all night long?? While I slept??
So this is why I don’t want you to believe my 3am voice when she’s telling you I am the only one who forgets to change the oil in my car. She gets irrational because laundry and dishes are persistent and she wishes she could sleep until 5, at least.
I actually remember to change the oil in my car occasionally. Pretty regularly, if you want the truth. But not precisely on the dot of 5,000 miles which is the recommendation for the oil we use, and Ms. 3am is all about precision. I get it, she’s tired. I get consumed with precision when I’m tired too. Oh wait…
So I have 2 fixes for her.
One fix is my 43 folders. I’ve put a reminder for each car we own every 3 months. Now I’ll hop out to the car, turn the ignition, check the mileage and, if it’s time to change the oil, I’ll simply do it while I grocery shop. Easy-peasy.
While I was at it, I tucked a similar reminder to order our credit report because that’s another 3am message I receive.
But the more important thing I’m going to do is spend the time from 3-5am in pleasurable indulgence. If I can’t sleep, I want that time to be truly happy. I want Ms. 3am to feel spoiled. Movies, podcasts, favorite magazines, and guilty pleasure reading are all on the list.
When she begins the litany of how I’ve failed I will nod my head and say, “I know, now, have a soul-cookie, sweet sister.” Because kindness to others begins with kindness to myself.
When do you wake up and what does your voice say? What lies do you tell people about how you fail? What are the soul-cookies you could extend to the hungry someone inside you?
I often think I should watch something like this about the flipside of anger when I’m trying to change my mood, but the truth is, it’s much more affective to simply giggle about dancing rather than walking.