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
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).