Friday, July 16, 2010

Acceptance

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I have recently been meditating on acceptance and releasing oneself from the obligations placed on us by no one but ourselves.

This is the truth: I am not a SAHM. I am not a full-time housewife. I have a full-time job, not a part-time job. I work nights. I am a night person. I hate to get up in the morning.

I have decided to stop trying to be a super-productive housewife on my days off. I have no children, just a husband and there is no reason to be a martyr and put all of the chores on myself. I do not need to feel badly when I don't manage to cook a meal from scratch every night of the week I don't work. I should not feel so guilty when I don't leave my husband a prepared meal in the fridge. (He often doesn't eat it anyway.)

Being a person who gets up early in the morning does not make you a better person than someone who does not. As long as you are productive and use the time you are up at night like a person who spends all day working, what's the big deal? I have never been a morning person per se and I always take at least thirty minutes to get out of bed if I don't have a specific time I need to be somewhere. My dad always called this "opening my petals". And because my dad was a morning person and my parents generally valued and praised us for being up early and accomplishing many things before noon while admonishing us for staying up late, I always carried guilt for being up late. In my understanding, responsible, good people, and all adults for that matter, went to bed early and never slept past seven thirty.

My MIL stays up very late. She does a lot at night. She's no less productive than any other early bird. I still remember hearing her talk about grading our Math Superstar papers during Letterman when I was in fourth grade. I couldn't believe that. She was a grown-up! (Don't ask me who I thought did watch Letterman.) Once I could adjust to the idea that there were plenty of normal, moral, responsible adults who did not wake up at the crack of dawn or go to bed before ten, I could begin to forgive myself. Though in truth, I still carried guilt up until about ten months ago.

Once I finally had a job where I had to be up all night, I realized, lots of people do this. And I have no choice! There's tons of us! There is no shame! It is only recently that I have really been able to release my inner night-owl and know that there are places for us in the world. (I often wish I had a t-shirt that said, "There are people who stay up all night--just in case something happens to you.") I now fully realize that one doesn't actually have to get up in the morning (at least not every day), even to work and be a normal, moral, responsible adult.

And that feels freeing.

7 comments:

  1. Thumbs up! I think learning lessons like that is part of becoming (more of) a grown up.

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  2. Night Owls can be productive, however, it helps if you can get by on less sleep.
    How did you recall the Letterman story?

    Mom P.

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  3. I totally agree. Different does not mean better or worse. It's hard not to compare yourself sometimes, especially when so many people like to play the compare game.

    BTW, I was a night editor at the newspaper for years. Loved being up late, still do. And my brain works better at night (probably because no one is whining at me then!) My best writing usually gets done after 10 p.m.

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  4. Hey Kelley!

    I agree. There are different phases in life. When I worked full time, my husband and I split the housework and I never cooked on the nights after work (hard to do when you get off at 7pm and have a 30 min drive!). I remember feeling guilty about it, but looking back, that seems so silly--I did what I could.

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  5. Good for you...let go of being everything to everyone now, cause you will just make yourself crazy trying! I love to be up late...I love the quiet and stillness of it...however, my kids are early birds so my inner night owl will have to wait a couple of decades to come back out!

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  6. I used to stay up very late and did my best writing then. Along came kids and I learned how to get up way before they did so I had time to myself. Now, that they are teens...we all sleep in together! My husband is and has always been an early riser... Whatever you are or do...guilt should never be part of it. good for you for letting go of it!

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  7. Good for you. Stop making excuses and embrace who you are. It sounds like you have a job that suits you perfectly. And I kind of like your dad's phrase about opening your petals. . .I might use that on my one can't-get-up-in-the-morning daughter. . .I think it's a lovely way of saying it. Guess it depends *how* it's said, huh? Nice visiting with you and all Rachel Anne's friends here tonight!

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