When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I had friends ask me all kinds of questions about if I was worried about things that were SO FAR in the future that I could not even register them. They thought that what keeps me up at night would be who would teach my kid to drive or how I might afford college.
Shortly after that same firstborn turned one, I wrote a blog post about how those things were not on my radar, but what keeps me up at night instead were big questions about how to be kind or escape the same kind of perfectionism that I have struggled with for most of my life. I thought maybe I was just that kind of mom who focused on the big picture…. real talk: I was very wrong.
Now the things that keep me up at night range from the ridiculous to the adorable. But they are seldom big picture questions because, to be honest, my brain isn’t usually firing on all cylinders by that time of night. On the good days, my husband and I will stay up late into the night legitimately just scrolling through pictures or videos of our kids and cracking up and telling stories about the funny things they said. On the bad days, I find myself unable to sleep as I plot how to strategically wake them up at 5:30 AM when they are teenagers who finally want to sleep in and say “HAHAHA HOW DOES IT FEEL?!” (As I said, those are the bad days, not going to say I’m proud of these moments, but will absolutely admit that they happen.)
During the school year, I thought what would keep me up at night would be if I had helped the right amount with homework or if I can learn this new strategy of math. It turns out what keeps me up at night is the thought, “Does my son have anything yellow to wear for class color day during spirit week? If he doesn’t is it the right choice to potentially waste money on a shirt he will only wear once, or to skip that particular spirit day and know he might feel really left out or like he is letting his class down? Did I save that idea on Pinterest for my daughter’s crazy hair day next week?”
During the school breaks, I thought what would keep me up was if I had planned enough enrichment activities with my kids or if they might be falling behind in school if I did not enroll them in some sort of camp. Instead what keeps me up at night is why the magical house in Encanto didn’t give Mirabel a gift. Seriously WHY? What was the reason aside from necessary plot device? I can’t be the only one who feels this way, right?
Sometimes I feel bad that what keeps me up at night are not those same big questions I thought I’d always be focused on. The truth is though, parenting does crazy things to your brain, and the past few years most of us have been in survival mode just trying to figure out how to get through to the next day. So whatever it is keeping YOU up at night, I hope you can lay it down for a few hours, get a little more sleep, and not judge yourself for all the wacky thoughts parenting can bring!