Everyday Reading: Everything Looks Worse at Night

May 8, 2012

Everything Looks Worse at Night

For as long as I can remember, my mom's been saying "everything seems worse at night." When we'd stay at my grandparents' home and I'd be a little freaked out by being in a different bed in a house that creaked, she'd say "It's fine. It's only scary because it's night. Everything seems more scary at night."

The night before a week-long sports camp or long away-from-home trip, I'd feel panicky and pretty certain I didn't want to do fun things - I'd much rather stay home and not be brave. My mom would say, "Tomorrow, you'll be excited. Everything just seems worse at night."

As an adult, it's less about being scared of the night for me (although, I won't lie that I did not love being home alone at night when we lived in Boston, and Bart was traveling a lot) and more about how likely I am to feel overwhelmed or discouraged at night. At night, I'll think "I can't do ___________" or "How will I ever deal with _________?" but I recite to myself "Everything seems worse at night" and sure enough, by the next morning I usually feel well-rested enough that life seems much more manageable.

When I was pregnant, it was only in the late evenings, when I'd think "how can I possibly handle having a child? What have I gotten myself into?" And it's when I'm getting ready for bed that I think "How can I possibly get everything done tomorrow that has to be taken care of?" when the next morning, without fail, I may feel busy, but I don't feel buried under responsibilities. 

Amusingly, a year or so ago, my sister Landen quoted this and after she'd left, Bart turned to me and said, "I do not like that saying. It just seems so negative to me." But I don't feel like it's negative at all - I feel more like it's acknowledging that things can seem frightening or overwhelming or just too difficult, but it's probably more the nighttime darkness and fatigue contributing to those feelings, rather than your own inadequacy or the problem itself. It's permission to not deal with something right now and to wait until you're a little better equipped to deal with an issue.

And you better believe I'll be saying it to my children (but. . . maybe only when Bart's not around). 

22 comments:

  1. I never decide to do or not do something at night. I wait till the next day to decide. I have found at night it seems near impossible so I'll tell myself not to do something (like go to the gym in the morning). But once morning comes I'm ready to go. I make no big decisions at night for that same reason!

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  2. So, like Scarlett O'Hara's "After all...Tomorrow is another day" line? :D

    I frequently tell Dave that I want to put an argument off until the next day. Sleep makes me feel better, so I will probably not want to argue about X the next day. Or if I do, my mind will work better, and I'll be able to convince him better!

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  3. All my freak outs happen at night. I agree with this saying 100%.

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  4. I like that. I think mine would be: "First things first." I can always finish the most important things in a day, or reach life goals a little easier when i finish the most important things in the beginning. Lots more freedom and fun when you do first things first!

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  5. Oh, thank goodness I'm not alone in this. I seriously thought I had some weird hormonal thing that made me freak out at night. I think you're right, though. As soon as I acknowledge that I'm feeling that way because it's night I feel better...or at least know I will by morning.

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  6. You know, I've heard that phrase not very often but it is SO TRUE. In fact, I'm really surprised it's not something my mom says because it sounds exactly like something she would say. (One of her common phrases is, "You can do anything for ___x amount of time___" and I'm always repeating it to myself. "I can do anything for a year!") I will be reminding myself of this too. I had a productive packing afternoon and now that it's night time I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed and discouraged about what's going on the next couple weeks. But I will remind myself that everything looks worse a night, go to bed, and wake up tomorrow and deal with it!

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    1. My mother also said "You can do anything for ___x amount of time___" frequently when I was growing up, and that is something that got me through many college semesters!

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  7. My companion comment to "everything looks worse at night" is "everything looks worse without sleep". I find them both very helpful.

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  8. My mom would often say this to my sister and me. That's when the crying would take place about things that happened that day at school. I say the same thing to my girls because invariably it is near bedtime when they seem to find many things upsetting about their day.

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  9. The last thing my mother ever said to me was "Always make me proud of you". Tough to live up to sometimes, but certainly worth striving for.

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  10. The last thing my mother ever said to me was "Always make me proud of you". Tough to live up to sometimes, but certainly worth striving for.

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  11. My mom would say this to me, especially regarding fights. And Spencer and I have learned not to pick fights or discuss tricky things when I'm tired. Because everything is worse at night.

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  12. My mom told me the same thing. "go to bed. It's just because your tired. It won't be so overwhelming in the morning." Boy was she right. I still tell myself that frequently. I don't think my hubby fully understands, but that's okay. =)
    Alesha <3

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  13. If it is any comfort, you can tell Bart I agree with your mom. Many times things do seem overwhelming at night, but I know I will feel better in the morning. However, I would take it a step further. Just being tired at any time of day can make things seem overwhelming. That is why I have always told my kids they need to go to bed at a reasonable time. Staying up late just makes one tired the next day and much less able to cope. Lack of sleep is also why new mothers have a hard time, and why naps become quite essential. So I guess what I am saying is that it isn't really night that is the problem, but fatigue, and that adequate regular sleep is a big part of the answer. When I'm rested, the world is beautiful and almost anything seems possible.

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  14. I wonder if Bart would be happier with "Everything looks better in the morning."

    Why, yes, yes, I have been doing a lot of PR for work lately. I can put a positive spin on anything.

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    1. This was what my mom always said -- and what I tell myself when I'm discouraged at night!

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  15. I totally agree with this. I hate it when people give the wedding advice of "never go to bed angry." What?! Everything is worse at night! Just go to sleep, let off some steam while you snooze, and in the morning you'll totally forget what was bothering you the night before.

    BTW, I'm obsessed with the Honest Company. I ordered one diaper bundle just to see what it was all about, and they sent the wrong size. I called them to inform them and they apologized about a million times, told me to keep the wrong size (since it was one size up I just put it in storage), and they were sending a new bundle with some cleaning products, PLUS refunding me $30. So I got 2 months' worth of diapers and a month's worth of wipes for $50 (which is a little less than what I'd pay on Amazon Mom). Then, I entered one of their FB contest thingies and won tons of cleaning/body products. I LOVE their products. Most especially their all purpose cleaner. Okay, I'm done gushing.

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  16. I agree! Everything does look worse at night. I still admit to sometimes getting a little spooked at night. I feel like I shouldn't, because I'm the grown-up, but still. :)

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  17. YES! I always feel overwhelmed at night, when I carry the weight of my today and the to-do list of my tomorrow. I agree with your cute, smart mom.

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  18. Dear mommy would say this to me as well. And I think about it often, especially when my children's fevers are raging at 11:00pm. (Have you noticed that sickness is worse at night?)

    This is why I love the line "There is sunshine is my soul today" so much. I sing it to myself often when night's gloom is pulling me down.

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