Tired like a Mother

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I am tired.

Like, really tired.  I’m tired with every fiber of my being.  I don’t remember the last time I slept the whole night through without interruptions.  Has it really been years?  I’m tired in a way that makes me long for just one night as my 20-year old self who thought tired was partying until 2AM and then having to wake up for an 8 o’clock class.  Someone should find that girl and show her what tired really looks like.  I’m tired in a way that makes two cups of coffee just not quite enough anymore.  Taking a deep breath and exhaling feels like a vacation right now.  I think about sex a heck of a lot more than I actually have it because when it comes right down to it, I get in the bed and consider making a move on the Hubster, but really let me just lay here for a minute…

And it’s not just about sleep.  Or lack thereof.  It’s about being a full-time working mom.  I know you at-home moms don’t have it any easier, really you have it worse.  There are days I will admit to being happy about going to work, if only to get a break from the chaos at home.  Well right now, work is just as chaotic.  Lately at work I’ve felt like I might have to start scheduling potty breaks.  Admittedly this is typically a very busy season at work for me, but this year is exponentially harder.  It’s a fact that has been stated to me by just about everyone I work with, but there is no solution other than hard work and detailed minutia organization (which by the way I happen to be TERRIBLE at-the minutia not the hard work).  There is no break from the firestorm of ideas and needs and wants and agendas and planning that goes on inside my head.  My brain is never quiet.  My to-do list is never to-done.  There is little comfort in knowing that I’m not alone.  Lately there have been a lot of posts about this idea here and here and here.  I was particularly interested in this quote from the Wall Street Journal article:

Or consider night duty. Sustained sleep deprivation, as we know, consigns people to their own special league of misery. But it’s generally mothers, rather than fathers, who are halfway down the loonytown freeway to hysterical exhaustion, at least in the early years of parenting. According to the American Time Use Survey, women in dual-earner couples are three times more likely to report interrupted sleep if they have a child under the age of 1, and stay-at-home mothers are six times as likely to get up with their children as are stay-at-home fathers.

This is my life. This is the life of my friends right now.  My Facebook feed is exploding with exhausted mothers looking for something, anything to get them through this “phase”.  We all have supportive, devoted spouses that help out in every aspect of our daily lives, but it just never ends.

We are tired.

We are tired in a way I don’t think any of us ever imagined and wouldn’t believe if anyone tried to tell us.

Here’s the rub.  I wouldn’t trade any of this beautiful life that I have for a good night’s sleep.  I love my girls, I love my husband, and if I’m being honest with myself I do love my job (although I don’t love the stressful animal it has become).  I think a big part of the exhaustion comes from this paradox.  A feeling of being completely overwhelmed but knowing that it is the exact right place to be.  Knowing that this is just one part of the journey, but not wanting this part of the journey to end.

I need my children to sleep through the night without me but I know that when that day comes I will desperately miss snuggling up to their warm bodies in the cold of the morning.  I am reminded of the family in Southington who just lost their son due to an asthma attack.  That mom would give anything to have her baby sleeping in her bed tonight.  I need to see this time in my life less like a burden and more like a gift.  It’s hard to do, but I do think it’s possible.  There will come a day when my to-do list isn’t quite so long with the goings-on of life and I will be bored.  Bored is a concept I can’t fathom right now, but when it comes I’m guessing I won’t welcome it.  This is probably why when I went to college my parents got a dog.

But still, I am tired.  Pass the coffee.

12 comments on “Tired like a Mother”

  1. Right there with you! Full-time working mom with #3 on the way … I feel so go-go-go constantly and my brain never turns off. I love this life so much but oh, do I long for a day to simply do nothing. Our former selves had no clue how easy they had it. 😉

  2. I’m so glad this piece spoke to all of you. We truly are all in this together and we are great moms, no matter how tired we might be.

  3. i’m so so so in need of a good night of pure unadulturated sleep like no one’s business. I was joking (well, not really) to my cousin that i can’t wait till the kids are old enough to go on sleepovers with their friends. even though we’re a LONG way off from that, i’m not gonna lie- i fantasize about that!

  4. What a fantastic post. It’s all true, most of all, this: I need to see this time in my life less like a burden and more like a gift. Life goes by quickly.

  5. You actually just made me cry (sitting here at work, trying to hold back the tears). I’m EXHAUSTED. We all are. Thank you for writing this.

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