Staying Up Too Late

Hi Brooke!

I am a younger mom to 2 boys, age almost 4 and 1. For about 2 years now, I’ve had a goal to become more of a morning person (historically a night owl). I see that as the gateway to reaching all my other goals (personal and business) as carving out time during the day can be challenging with littles, evenings is hard with wanting time with hubby and feeling ready for bed, and I just see that as the best time for me to consistently be able to focus on me and my growth and self-care.

My requests of you are two-fold…validation on if I’m doing models right (newbie) and help on finding a more intentional thought/feeling to help me get the result I’m looking for.

I’ve gone through multiple phases of attempting to reach this morning goal. The most recent attempt prior to SCS was a challenge with friends. I did pretty well for about 6 weeks (even with sleep training during that time and having sick kids one week), but never lasted with the habit because, I think, of inconsistent evening routine.

I realized since starting SCS is that up until this time, I have been prioritizing wanting to feel “rested” but that this is a poor feeling choice for me because it’s something that, to some degree, I feel is out of my control (like if I have to be up in the night with kids).

Within the first week of SCS, after listening to your podcast on commitment, I thought about how I’ve never been truly all in committed to getting up early…it was more like I rotated between prioritizing wake up time, sleep time, or hours of sleep depending on what I thought would make me feel the most rested. (Though truthfully I rarely woke up feeling restful – it’s an elusive feeling which is another reason I feel like it’s a poor choice).

For my first SCS goal, I decided to go all in with mornings as my one thing I’m focusing on and finally get this down. So I’ve been waking up at 5 every day since this past Monday (with the exception of one day when I slept through my alarm…failed forward and changed the alarm sound so that hasn’t happened again!). The first few days were great, but the low sleep (5-6 hours a night because I am going to bed way too late) is really catching up to me. I’m crazy tired this morning and have major brain fog. Today I just want to go back to bed. But I want to stay committed! Here’s a little more on how evenings typically go down for me…

After my kids are in bed, I have certain things I want to do to prepare for the next day (like pick up the house, journal, read, spend time with my hubby, go to bed by a certain time), but rarely do those things in a consistent order or structure. And I am definitely guilty of buffering at times (getting lost on my phone or computer). My ideal bedtime is 9:30 PM, but the reality is that I usually don’t go to sleep until closer to 11 or 12 (or sometimes even later…).

The times when I do get my act together and I’m ready for bed when I want, I tell my hubby “I’m going to bed,” which to me means “I’m going to sleep”…like really going to SLEEP…while to my hubby I think it’s like “Going to bed early? Time to be intimate!” LOL. Which for awhile was causing a lot of resentment in me, because I felt like I had shared my early bedtime/wake time goal with him and every time I actually got ready for bed he wanted to keep me up later. I felt unsupported.

And like he didn’t really care about me (a thought pattern that can come up a lot for me in my marriage if I don’t watch it). Unloved. And then I can have the tendency not to try to even go to bed earlier because “I’m going to be up late anyways.” I guess the feeling I feel would be helpless, not in control. We have talked about this lots, and from his perspective, it’s like I’m willing to stay up late to do other things but not when it comes to being intimate. It makes him feel insignificant and unimportant. And I get how he could think that. And the truth is that I don’t want him to feel like sleep is more important to him – I want to have both…passionate close marriage where my hubby feels like he’s a priority and ALSO enough sleep so I can get up and have time for me so I can have time to take care of me. I feel like that is the thing that ultimately helps me show up better for myself and for the people I care about.

Currently, I’m past the resentment…have been for a couple months…I just stay up late and then get up when my boys get me up…in a reactive state instead of prepared state…so that I could make up the sleep. But now that I’m back to the morning goal I can see the old cycle being a problem in the near future. Bad habits are catching up to me. LOL. And I should say that while I am tempted to play victim and play into that old thought pattern, I do realize that being really committed to my morning goal means being committed to figuring out my evenings, which means I would take control of my schedule and initiate more, earlier, so that it’s not even a problem. And that would also help my hubby feel significant. And then I also want to be able to say “No, I’m sorry, I’m going to bed.” sometimes and not feel bad about denying him. Focus on controlling me and being in control of me.

Oh, and as a side note – we’re not intimate every night (maybe 3-4 times a week), but it’s rarely planned so I typically find myself doing other stuff until my hubby is ready to go to bed, then we get ready for bed, talk / maybe read, and then most of the time I dread the inevitability that he will want to be intimate and stay up even later (which happens but not always…but either way I spend the mental energy wondering about it)…and I don’t want to be dreading intimacy. Truly, intimacy is not the problem for me. And I do love having time to talk to / catch up with my hubby in the evenings. It’s the time it’s all happening that is the problem for me, as well as the desire of not wanting to hurt or deny my hubby.

C- Evenings
T- “I’m going to be up late no matter what.”
F- Helpless. Dread.
A- Some buffering – procrastinate picking up the house / getting ready for bed. Keep finding tasks to do until hubby is ready for bed.
Resistant to intimacy because it’s later. Often don’t get the things done that are really important to me (like my evening journal / reading).
R- Stay up too late. Not as well rested as I’d like to be.

T- [Need some help here…can’t yet identify a thought that feels good and that I believe that makes me want to take the specified actions.]
F- I want to feel like I’m IN CONTROL of my evenings. Like I’m ABLE to say no sometimes in a way that is compassionate and loving. But also able to initiate intimacy earlier (or just more in general, I’m rarely the one to initiate). I want to feel like I’m prioritizing me and my hubby, instead of feeling like one comes at the cost of the other. [I think I could use suggestions on good feeling words that capture all this…maybe empowered? But that doesn’t quite feel like what I’m looking for.]
A-Initiate intimacy more often and earlier in the evening. Have an established bedtime routine and rough time frames for completion and stick to it. Be ok with saying “Not tonight” sometimes and then implementing a 24-hour rule (meaning if I say no when he initiates I have 24 hours to initiate intimacy).
R- Consistent bedtime. Plenty of rest. Happy hubby. Happy me!

Thank you so much in advance!! I absolutely LOVE your work. Finding you was a huge missing piece of a puzzle for me!!