The 3 A.M. Wake-Up Call That Taught Me a Valuable Parenting Lesson

The 3 A.M. Wake-Up Call That Taught Me a Valuable Parenting Lesson

While wide awake at 3 a.m., one mom figures out exactly what her hectic life is missing.

By: Nicole Fabian-Weber

A few weeks ago, I found myself wide awake at 2:30 in the morning -- and despite being eight months pregnant, this is a rarity for me. Sure, I have my nightly trip (or two) to the bathroom, but usually I can fall back asleep in no time -- mainly because, after working and running around after my 2 1/2-year-old every day, I’m dead tired each night. This time was different, though. It wasn't my routine run to the bathroom. I quickly realized that there was no way on earth I was going back to sleep.

I tossed and turned for about 30 minutes, did the classic tricks we’ve all learned/heard/tried for when you find yourself awake at an odd hour -- counted backwards from 100, deep breaths, blinking (does blinking make anyone else tired?), but nothing worked. So, bleary eyed, I shuffled downstairs, made a bowl of cereal, and hopped on Pinterest®.

Not gonna lie: I was annoyed that I was up. Like most moms, I get so little sleep as is, so the fact that my precious rest was being disrupted by … nothing was incredibly irritating. When I first sat down at my kitchen table, laptop and cereal in front of me, all the things I needed to do involuntarily began rolling through my mind like credits at the end of a movie. Laundry, finish -- and start -- nursery, buy milk, buy dog food, sign daughter up for music class, stop eating trail mix for lunch. But instead of popping up and jotting down a list in my trusty notebook like I normally would, I decided to just sit. I continued to mindlessly scroll through Pinterest and eat my cereal when I realized something: Despite not being in what I'd call an “ideal situation,” I was enjoying myself. A lot, actually. For the first time in who knows how long, I had complete, uninterrupted time to myself. No one was going to wake up, I didn’t have any work to do, no household chores needed tending to. This was actual me time -- that thing I seemingly had an endless supply of before becoming a mom, yet didn’t properly appreciate. Once I made that realization, the overall feeling of the night went from frustrating to awesome.

I visited blogs I rarely get to read anymore, organized my Pinterest boards, yes, had another bowl of cereal. Nothing I was doing was necessarily constructive or helping me check items off the never-ending to-do list I like to give myself. But it just felt nice. It was pure leisure time, and even if I only got to experience it a few hours before sunrise, I still appreciated it.

More from P&G everyday: 10 Ways Real Moms Sneak In a 'Time-Out' From Parenting

After staying up for about an hour and a half, I made my way back upstairs to the land of darkness and snoring. And then I realized something: I felt normal. For the first time in a while, I didn't feel frazzled, or like I was forgetting something -- I didn't even have anything spilled on me! -- as I so often did. I felt like, for lack of a better word, myself.

I wouldn't trade my chaotic life for the world, even if it can be a bit frustrating on occasion. But I did realize that it's probably not a bad idea to take more time for myself here and there. Doesn't have to be anything elaborate -- it could just be holing up in my room for 45 minutes to check out blogs while my husband takes care of our daughter. But it's important; I honestly think "me time" makes us all better parents.


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All that from not being able to sleep at three o'clock in the morning. Not too shabby, huh?

Where do you find time for yourself? Anyplace surprising?

Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a sweet toddler girl (with a boy on the way!). She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications.

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I'm right there with you. Just like now it's 3:30 am and I'm surfing.

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I'm a mom to 3 kids, they are 14, 10, and 4. I'm also a full time student. So the never ending to do list is very real to me also. A few ladies and myself just had this same conversation two days ago! How as a mother it's so hard to get your mind to shutdown at night to get any sleep at night! I go and walk around Target for an hour once a week get a coffee for some much needed me time. It's a huge help!

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