3 am kindness, control and oil changes

by rebecca on October 24, 2012

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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.

I am taking time to tend my home. It’s part of my 4-step philosophy in Soulful Cleansing. Identify – Notice – Address – Tend.  I’d love to have you join the class.

I am participating in 31-days of Soulful Cleansing. This project is the collaborative brainchild of The Nester. Join her here and see all the other 31-day projects.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon October 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

My 3am voice squally is either health related (you need to get that mole checked) or kid related (must do amazing art projects and cut sandwiches into shapes.) in other words, very important, or very unimportant.


Shannon October 25, 2012 at 11:37 am

I mean the kids are important…you know what I mean


Yvette Francino October 26, 2012 at 2:03 am

My 3am voice is saying “Go to Sleep before you have to wake up!” Now if only my 3am body would pay attention!


BigLittleWolf October 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm

You are certainly not alone in this! It’s hard to carry those endless mental lists in our heads day and night, but harder still – I think – the expectations we have of ourselves which are unrealistic and unhelpful. We seem to expect Superwoman levels of effort on all fronts; it’s neither possible nor necessary.

I like your idea of allowing ourselves some kindness for ourselves.

And yeah… we always compare our parental performance to all those “other moms” that our kids mention. But isn’t it great if they feel secure enough in their home life to ignore us – just a little bit?


rebecca October 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Oh! BLW, I love this reframe of security in my children. They ignore me BECAUSE they feel safe. Nice!


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