Lately it feels as if most days my head is below water and in the moments I get a breath, it’s a gulp of a breath, not that inhale with the long exhale we learn in yoga. It’s rushed, choppy, stiff, painful, tight, racing.
That’s my life. Except I’m not swimming, I’m just trying to keep up. To work and be a mom and do all the stuff that makes the world right while the clock races around waiting for me to catch up. From the moment I wake to the moment I should sleep it seems to be a frenzy of busy and worry and doing and sometimes laughing and so much thinking.
Oh yeah, just so you know, my brain doesn’t stop thinking just because the clock turns to 9pm and my littles kids are supposed to be sleeping. I say supposed to, because half the time it’s me saying go to bed….you know you’re going to be so tired at school.
In fact, sometimes, that 9pm time – it’s the start of the thinking. I start remembering all the things I have yet to do. I start making these mental tally lists – homework, projects, appointments – and as the tally starts to grow, along comes that panic that I’m missing something. I hate that feeling.
Is it a birthday invite? Did I volunteer? Doctor’s appointment?
Then I grab my phone and start to scroll through text reminders and emails hoping for a clue. Seeing nothing, I’ll check Facebook and my kids phones and wonder.
By the time the house is still, there I am, downstairs, attempting organization, plotting things on the desk calendar, finding homework that needed corrections and bills to pay and then looking up at the kitchen I told myself I’d tidy in the moment. I’m not going to sleep. I’m caught in the frenzy of the great catch-up. The great you-could-be-doing-more story of motherhood.
Is it any doubt we are just tired?
There’s no rest for the weary. Because if I wake in the middle of the night, it starts again. And then the alarm sounds at 5:45, and next thing you know, there I am, standing by the coffee maker praying the brew speeds up. When they were babies and toddlers I would soothe my tired self with words of when they are older I will sleep but now that they are older I’m still awake. Checking for them to return home, reminding them to turn out the lights, checking phones into my room at night so no-one is watching HULU at 3am. And if they are, those night owl teens, then there I am, awake again.
And the list, the tally, the race starts again.
Most of my days are spent diffusing problems that my kids have deemed as emergencies. It doesn’t matter that the time on the computer isn’t equal to me, but it sure does to my kids. So instead of figuring other things out, I’m dealing with mini wars of justice between them. And then I’m problem solving as well. Not remembering the math my math teachers told me I would need to learn because I would use it in life. Nope, nope, nope. So instead, there I am trying to use Google, typing in math problems hoping for an answer.
We have to evaluate and sort out and problem solve and manage and negotiate and mediate and invent all day long. And all of that problem solving is exhausting.
Sometimes I just want two plus two equals four. Or the washing machine to not break. Or the kids to not care that someone got what seems to be 2.48 grams more ice-cream. Or for me to not get frustrated with the school pick up line.
It doesn’t seem to be the motherhood story I signed up for.
But haha, it’s a good thing we go in blind and oblivious to the job that states, “this job requires no sleep, unending hours, your ability to solve problems and a crisis at 4:13 am, for you to drive around constantly on the same routes, create meals, and love always. You’ll be dealing with people that once loved you but as they grow older will start to look at you like you’re an alien creature and one day they’ll tell you that they hate you but you are not to take it personally. And oh yeah, don’t forget yourself.”
Maybe the reason we’re tired and I’m tired is because this is just what motherhood actually is about.
(probably not the answer you’re looking for. But who has time to read about a thirty-four step program to solving mom tired because I think I’d fall asleep even if I tried to read.)
And the more we just accept that the more we can be proud of ourselves for all that we do.
That’s what I’m telling myself as I sit here writing, even though the tally sheet of stuff to do is racing through my head. I do know this, and this is important – I get more and more tired and more and more cranky and less and less able to figure stuff out when I put myself on the back burner. And it is so easy to do. I’m the queen of I’ll do that tomorrow.
The problem is this – in the almost 22 years I’ve been a mom that tomorrow never comes unless I GRAB IT. So you have to learn that too. You are IMPORTANT. And if you want to have an hour of sleep here and there and time with your friends at Starbucks and a break YOU HAVE TO BE THE ONE TO SCHEDULE IT.
No one will do it for you.
You’re so important.
So tonight or whenever you read this, make sure as you’re going through your list of stuff, to add yourself to the list.
You know what? You may be tired, but if you mix up those letters it also says TRIED.
Don’t ever forget that. Maybe you are so tired because you tried today. And doesn’t that matter? And in the end doesn’t that matter the most?
From one tired mom who tried to you.