to the tired mom

Last night my four year old decided to sleep next to me.

He slept amazingly.

I didn’t sleep. Sleeping with a four year old is like sleeping next to the hands of a clock. As the night wore on I was inevitably met with feet in my face then hands and then back to feet.

I woke tired. More than tired. I woke wondering why I don’t have my red mini Keurig set up in my room waiting with a mug underneath and all I have to do is hit brew.

He woke up happy.

I love you mommy.

He had no idea how tired I really was or how my back was sore or how I really just wanted to sleep for five more minutes – he just was grateful to see me.

And you?

Are you a tired mom?

Are you waking up wishing for more hours in the day? Are you pushing yourself to limits that you didn’t have? Working? Cleaning? Mothering? Wondering? Dealing with kids that are fighting over whose turn it is to play Club Penguin on the computer? (or maybe that’s just me) Are you wondering whether what you’re doing every day makes a difference? Are you tired of the same routine?

Sometimes being a mom means simply being tired.

Sometimes being a mom means feeling a bit lonely. Like no one else notices what we’re doing. After all, no one would know that I had maybe a solid 42.4 minute chunk of sleep last night except that I wrote about it. Well, the gals at Starbucks might know when I come in and ask for a venti caramel macchiato. (Be ready, my Barista friends.)

Motherhood is so often this giving of self in our homes that no one sees. We work. We make macaroni and cheese and forget to take the noodles off and so they become mushy. We pick up Little Tikes toys in the backyard again and again and wonder why we have so much plastic. We fold frayed towels, match socks, call doctors, wash walls that have handprints on them, wash sticky faces, help with long division (is it ever easy for any child?), clean the kitchen, wipe down the microwave after our nine year old decided to zap something for too long, we go to work, come home from work, we work at home, we mother all day, we do whatever that each of our stories are, and then we go to bed.

Yeah, we could argue that it’s just motherhood. And it’s just what moms have had to do forever.

You know what? We have. Since the beginning of time moms have had to get up, had to deal with kid issues, money issues, teaching issues, health issues, and so on.

But,just because we’ve always had to do something doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be celebrated and honored. Motherhood, parenthood, they’re amazing things. It’s not just roses and sunshine and skipping though the meadows holding hands. It’s real hard stuff. Stuff that doesn’t seem like it will push us to our limits and yet it does. Stuff that gives us great joy and puts a smile on our face and an hour later has us wondering why in the world the four year old is making us want to pull our hair out.

We go into the world and do our jobs and smile at the other preschool moms and order our lattes and drive down the interstate and get groceries and we smile.

You’re not alone. Do you hear me?

You. are. not. alone.

The other moms in preschool, at the grocery store, at work, at school, at co-op classes, at the doctor’s office, at where ever you may be, well chances are that they might feel tired as well. Wondering about all this motherhood stuff. Yet, still giving of self for those kids that you love.

So today, today, I stand up and salute you the tired, and yet amazing, mom. You the mom with no sleep. You the mom who needs encouragement. You the mom who works and works and works for her family and it feels like no one notices. You the mom with those three kids under five who never gets a break. You the mom with the newborn who never gets sleep. You the mom staying up late waiting for the teen to come home. You the mom. Plain and simple. You, the mom.

Motherhood is a brave journey. It’s always been this brave thing to raise another independent, pushing the limits, melt your heart at night, love them forever even when they drive you crazy, human.

That’s what you’re doing. Even on those tired days.

You. The amazing, brave, empowered, no sleep yet fighting, awesome, cool, mom.  

Who needs sleep anyway, right? (oh yeah, and get that extra shot at Starbucks)

Today’s photos? All real life live from the instagram feed. Find me there at finding_joy
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.

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67 Responses to “to the tired mom”

  1. October 2, 2013

    Katie Reply

    Thanks for the encouragement! I needed it today.

  2. October 2, 2013

    Kristin Kat Reply

    Bahahaha! The feet being hands of the clock could not be more accurate!

  3. October 2, 2013

    Danielle Hottendorf Reply

    Thank you for writing this.. as a mom of 7 kids ages 18 to 2 it’s so wonderful to hear I am not alone! Thank you thank you thank you!

  4. October 2, 2013

    Sarah Mancini Reply

    Just thought I would take a moment to tell you how much I appreciate your blog. It speaks to me, it encourages me, it makes me feel less alone in all of this. Mothering is hands down the toughest thing I have ever done. It is nice to be reminded that I’m not alone and that there are other moms out there struggling and making it work every day, just like me. I appreciate you for reminding me of that!!

  5. October 2, 2013

    Catie Reply

    One tired mommy here- 2 1/2 yr old, 10 month old, and one due in January. Just spent 30 minutes with a crying fit over potty training- life doesn’t get more real than that! There should be a word for moms who don’t know anything but tired! My husband and I are planning a trip for our 5th anniversary, and I’m already counting down although it’s 16 months away. It’ll be a chance to sleep and rest uninterrupted- kinda forgot what that is like 🙂

  6. October 2, 2013

    Alice Reply

    I’m tired. My children are 8, 7, 5, 4, 2.5, and 16 months. My eldest two are on the autistic spectrum. We homeschool. My baby still sleeps with me and nurses at night, and I am 37 weeks pregnant. I’m so tired!!! Your blog is so encouraging, and it puts me in the right perspective time and time again whenever I come here to read. Thank you!

  7. October 3, 2013

    Violet Moon Reply

    From a mom of 5 under 8 including a 5 mo, I loved to read this today.

    Thank you for your wonderful post.

  8. October 3, 2013

    Lisha Burlin Reply

    I hope you know just how much you touch other people’s hearts. I am only a mother of one, but I feel all of what you write. You are all amazing mothers and I thank you all for making me feel less lonely today!

  9. October 3, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Thought I’d get more sleep now that I don’t have small children at home…nope! Now insomnia hits every now and then!
    The Lord understands whatever pain you’re going through! Always praying!!!
    Isaiah 53:1-3: Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    My email address

  10. October 3, 2013

    Colleen mckenney Reply

    I can relate to this so much! I used to feel tired ALL the time. After my third i was just so lazy lol. I had gest diabetes with him so i gained alot, and i just didnt want to get up and do anything. I actually started taking Plexus and i have lots of energy now and i really just feel good. I want to get out and do things, plus it has helped me to lose 29 lbs (in 11 weeks) so i am getting healthy and adding more years to my health. Very inspitrational and motivating article. Thanks 🙂

  11. October 3, 2013

    Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks Reply

    A friend of mine “Facebook liked” your Huffington Post page, which describes your writing as addressing living an intentional life and motherhood. I very much relate to those two descriptions and absolutely loved this post about parenting. I’m very much looking forward to reading more of your work!

  12. October 3, 2013

    Savannah Reply

    Love this!!! Thank you for the encouragement!! As a mommy to a 4 and 1 year old, life stays busy and isn’t gonna get easier but I love my babies and wouldn’t trade them for nothin! 🙂

  13. October 3, 2013

    Lynda Benson Reply

    Wait, what? Motherhood is not skipping through meadows and just happy sunshine all the time? 🙂 Your timing about the over-cooked noodles was perfect {just did that yesterday} mushy and gross and sent them right down the drain to start over.
    Club Penguin, yep totally hear you there and my kids are older. When “Rockhopper” is about to show up, then is it a frantic frenzy.

    Figuring out homework in the evening is so tiring and the angst I know I feel just trying to help the kids work through math problems {that I swear I have never seen} or science just makes me want to get up and toss the books out the window. How I hear my thoughts thinking “I just want this done”, “I want to sit and relax and enjoy a cup of tea”, “is this over yet”….those kinds of thoughts make me feel like I might be a bad mom, but then I read your posts and I feel “normal”…Thank you

  14. October 3, 2013

    Um Mariam Reply

    So beautiful .. thank you

  15. October 4, 2013

    Lynn Reply

    Grams definitely get tired, too!
    Know that I’m always here praying!
    Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
    My email address

  16. October 4, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    I appreciate this..going to be a mom by myself, also starting a new year of lawschool..yep I am crazy..I know I am crazy..but if I do not do it now, then when? I want my kid to be proud of me…By the time they are kindergarten they can say my mommy sacrificed when I was younger so I can now have what I need! Good luck to all the mommies! Be strong!

  17. October 9, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Mood boosting. Really need this encouragement. Feeling down lately. Thanks

  18. October 10, 2013

    Aggy & Me Reply

    Im a mom with one 2.5yo and a newborn. Feel so glad to read this. Thank you for the positive encouragement. Really need this.

  19. October 10, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    I needed this more than you’ll ever know. But I’ll be honest with you – as I read the comments I felt even more like a failure. I only have one child yet I can’t even keep that together. Kudos to Moms who do it with several children. I work full-time outside of the home and our son plays multiple sports that keep us on the road 3-4 nights each week. When I go to bed every night I wish I could at least close my eyes to the thought that I did good that day. But I lay there beating myself up over all the things that went wrong. Mommy Guilt is a miserable beast. 🙁

    I need to read this post aloud every morning as a reminder!

  20. October 14, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    I’m a mom of twin boy 5 yr old a 4 yr old girl and a 10 month old boy. But i also run an in home daycare…I’m not complaining. I’m blessed but I’ve had my days lately. What am i doing here! Thanks for the blog. I too feel so much better knowing that doing or best and getting by is normal and ok. I love the other mom support. My husband doesn’t always understand. Things are black and white for him, he teaches teenagers and by that age it should be but for 4 & 5 yr Olds they need grace for the “i don’t know where my shoes are” and “um i forgot it in the yard last night” ….I’m not alone. Thank you for that it made me cry!

  21. October 20, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    Thank you for this post; for all of your posts actually. They are inspiring. They are lifting me up.Ok now time to get to bed while I can get a few hours of sleep before my three bundles of joy wake up!

  22. October 21, 2013

    Natasha N. Reply

    Thank you. I really needed to read this today.

  23. October 22, 2013

    Kristen Hewitt Reply

    This was perfect. Thanks for your encouragement…and through tired eyes and fingers for writing.


  24. October 22, 2013

    Kristen Hewitt Reply

    This was perfect. Thanks for your encouragement…and through tired eyes and fingers for writing.


  25. October 23, 2013

    Sue Gemmell Reply

    I had my kids 19 months apart by c-section and kept nursing and working full time throughout. I know tired, in this context. However, you have a house, a bed, and you buy fancy drinks at Starbucks that cost more than most people in the world make in a day. Spend some time in the developing world, learn how the “bottom billion” live, be grateful and quit whining.

  26. October 23, 2013

    clementina cachola Reply

    thank you so much for this article… im a bit depressed lately because of too many stuff to do that when i forget, it seems like I did something unforgivable… I felt helpless and useless sometimes when I can’t do stuff properly like ironing the clothes.. but it is somehow good to know that I am not alone with the “tired” feeling… thanks…

  27. October 23, 2013

    Joy @ Reply

    It’s 6:50am in Sydney and I just hit the snooze button 3 times, hoping desperately that I would wake up refreshed. That hasn’t happened in a while, but knowing that I’m not alone makes all the difference. Thanks for the encouragement!

  28. October 24, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    This is the first time I have ever commented on the internet. Ever. And I am so glad I waited until now. I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear your words today. Seriously. Needed. Everyone has their own story so I won’t bother the internet world with mine, but I do want to tell you that you have put words to things I only feel and don’t say. Not that I wasn’t going to wake up tomorrow and do it all over again but now I will do so knowing that others get what I do. Thanks for what YOU do.

  29. October 26, 2013

    Brad maddox Reply

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  30. October 26, 2013

    Matthew Le Blanc Reply

    thanks reading this made me cry im a mom of 2 3 and 1 they are my world i work a lot and still feel like i missing everything at home. wish i could stay home with them and still be able to pay the bills.

  31. November 7, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    As Thea Bowman would say, “Keep on keepin’ on”. God bless moms . Where would we be without them. Xavier

  32. November 27, 2013

    Anonymous Reply

    I so needed to read this today- perfect timing!! Completely feeling overwhelmed, tired and unappreciated at this very moment! Thank you 🙂

  33. January 13, 2014

    Robin Reply

    Love this. I am pregnant and have a 3 year old, who kept me all night last night! Its like you knew!! 🙂

  34. February 7, 2014

    Sheridan Reply

    Thank you so much for putting in words exactly how I’ve been feeling lately! When a hubby doesn’t understand and you feel maybe you are the odd old struggling amongst all your friends it’s so nice to read this and know everything you are experiencing is normal and so very worthwhile. Thank you again for sharing the timing was perfect!!

  35. February 7, 2014

    Yas Reply

    The comment above quitting whining was not helpful. We all have our paths to walk, we all have our stories to share..
    Just because someone talks about being tired doesn’t mean they are not grateful for their life, are not thankful for the hand luck dealt them.
    Don’t judge other people’s journeys. Embrace and accept.
    I’m not a mother, but I have many friends that are and they are tired. You know what, quite often I’m really tired.
    Mothers in the third world would be tired from mothering too. It is the universality of the experience.

  36. February 8, 2014

    Melissa Reply

    Thanks. I definitely needed this right now.

  37. February 18, 2014

    Lin Reply

    After taking care of a hubby that was sick all last week and now my 3 littles and I have gotten sick this week i am so tired i dread sleep because its just a tease. I really appreciate your ability to write from the heart. As Dory says in Finding Nemo ” Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming” .. Im going on to swim another day tomorrow.

  38. February 20, 2014

    Bella Reply

    Rachel, thank you for letting me know that im not the only one that goes through these things. Not having enough sleep because my 4 year old son hand was pulling my hair when he wants to sleep and lay his feet on my face etc. I have to finish my PhD and at the same time working and taking care of him. It is so tiring. My only escape is only having a peaceful shower, Thank you once again. Now i know being a mom is the hardest job ever.

  39. […] To the Tired Mother […]

  40. October 2, 2014

    Kelly Reply

    Like so many others before me have written this is wonderful. It made me laugh and cry the ever constant journey of motherhood with no time to stop and stare and it can make you feel very alone. It’s lovely to feel the reconition and empathy that only a mother can truly feel. I needed this it’s one of those endless feelings weeks giving giving giving but what could be more worthwhile it’s the biggest blessing but definatly the hardest thing ever! Thank you, thank you xx

  41. October 23, 2014

    Aina_feltBABY Reply

    I’ve needed three clicks for being at last at the original source, you blog, your feelings and you as a mum.
    I don’t know if you’re aware that and The Huffington post (UK and ES) just with a mention, are generating traffic with your content (I suppose you know or work for The Huff but… there are others that ‘steel’ talent and make money with its on line ads, etc)
    Hugs (from a spanish tired mum)

  42. November 6, 2014

    Rhonda Reply

    i read this leaning over my desk and my arms holding up the weight of my tired heavy head, literally doing all i can to not fall asleep. life is hard, gotta keep doing the best we can…and keep getting up every morning. sometimes we need a high five for that accomplishment alone.

  43. November 6, 2014

    Rhonda Reply

    I read this leaning over my desk and my arms holding up my tired heavy head, literally doing all i can to not fall asleep. I am so tired. Life’s hard sometimes, but keep getting out of bed in the morning. SOmetimes we need a high five for that accomplishment alone.

  44. January 8, 2015

    Martha Reply

    Thank You :”)

  45. January 30, 2015

    TiredMomOf6YrOld Reply

    Thank you. I found myself crying today and locked myself in the bedroom while hubs stayed with our daughter. I just couldn’t handle being called “mom” onore time. I’m more than mom. And here lately I need to findMYSELF. I’m not just mom or cook or maid. I have feelings too. I matter too. Thank you for the kind words.

  46. February 8, 2015

    Brad Reply

    i totally agree with you ladies. I can’t not even imagine what you all go through. As a dad of 1 6 month old Little girl. I understand how difficult it is as I see it through my wife. If I could feed her I would but I can’t, God made us this way and God is GOOD so know there is a reason for this madness. Mother’s Day > Father’s Day as I unfortunetly bow to haha

  47. February 12, 2015

    Tired Reply

    I’m tired today
    of having to play
    the same role everyday

    I can’t explain
    but all this pain
    is pushing me away

    I want to hide
    can’t bear to fight
    you don’t understand

    I put on a smile
    it lasts for a while
    then I hide again

    I lost my dreams
    and so it seems
    I’ll never get them back

    The day is bright
    but all I see inside
    is black

    Don’t want to hear
    just for the fear
    I’ll be made guilty

    It’s just a phase
    It’s temporary
    All that I heard before

    Don’t you want to do this for us
    We are worth it
    The guilt comes back

    My list for the day
    makes me feel pathetic
    when its highlight is clipping some nails

    I’m tired
    I’m sick
    I feel guilty all the time

    I feel angry
    at him
    at me
    at all that surrounds me

    Poor resolve
    to get control
    of the life ahead of me

    I then get busy
    with mundane tasks
    I loose my resolve
    I wish for the past

  48. March 14, 2015

    Angela Reply

    First of all a four year doesn’t belong sleeping in bed with the parents. Put their butt in their own bed. I can understand a baby in bed but a three year old and up belongs in their own bed. They are not babies.

    • March 14, 2015

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Ah, Angela, thanks for your comment. I think it’s good to remember that there are many reasons why littles end up in the beds of parents – bad dreams, sickness, and other stuff. It’s about being tired, not about sleeping patterns.


  49. April 28, 2015

    Andrea cooks Reply

    Being a mom is a hard job and not for the weak ones. I have 10 children and I homeschool,so imagine that. I started blogging yesterday trying to find time to do something for myself. It’s new and no one has read it so if you would like to please feel free to do so

  50. May 12, 2015

    Shannon Walsh Reply

    Love this! Thanks for sharing and for reminding us that we are not alone. It is the reason I started writing myself- to feel more connected to all of the souls out there that may be struggling with the same things, and celebrating the same joys. Will definitely keep reading!

  51. July 14, 2015

    Rhonda Reply

    Thank you for this. I am feeling so tired today and have been feeling sorry for myself. I am a single mom and I work full-time. I am exhausted! I feel it straining me daily and I need the help and encouragement of others. I don’t feel like anyone else knows how I feel.

  52. July 14, 2015

    Joanna Reply

    Your words are comforting to all the hard working amazing moms (even if we are tired while being amazing).

  53. October 24, 2015

    Selena Reply

    As I read this entry it was as if you had a secret window into my heart, mind, soul and life. There is so much truth in this article. From one tired momma to another, Thank you!

  54. December 9, 2015

    Michelle Reply

    Thank you for the wonderful words and for uplifting my spirit. I really needed this now. I am a new mom with a 7 month old baby. I was overwhelmed with the responsibility; for dealing with the crying baby; for this new phase of my life. Being a mom is truly a remarkable job; you have all the titles in this world. I know it’s tough and challenging out there but God will give you strength to go on. Be strong. We should savor the time with our little ones coz time flies they will grow up so fast and wouldn’t need our attention anymore.

  55. December 20, 2015

    RB Reply

    Bravo! Needed this today!

  56. December 22, 2015

    Alison Scaggs Reply

    Your words you write are so deeply appreciated, thank you so much for writing, they go all the way down in the heart. 🙂

  57. February 15, 2016

    Jodi Reply

    I needed some encouragement today so thanks for this. I’ve been doing this for 17 years (5 children ages 3-17 also with some fostering for a few years) and I’m so burned out & weary. I know what I am doing is important but in the moment I am just tired of doing it & sometimes it feels like it’s wrong to say it, so thanks for this. Also feel the same about my coffee – sometimes people judge about the money spent on Starbucks but hey, sometimes liquid fortitude is what gets me through the day.

  58. February 16, 2016

    Chris Reply

    Not just a motherhood thing…its 2016 this is a fatherhood thing too. My job allows me to work from home often and my wife travels for work…so you described my life as a FATHER.

    • February 16, 2016

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Thanks for all you do, Chris. I really appreciate your job as a dad. and you’re absolutely right that it describes the awesome of dads. Just so you know, I write from the perspective as a mom, as I’m a mom, and don’t ever want to make presuppositions about what it’s like to be a dad. My good friend, Ryan Hamilton, runs LifeofDad – a fantastic site for dads.

      Thanks for the kindness.


  59. April 5, 2016

    Kata Reply

    I needed also encouragement, so googled mom + one year old + exhausted. This post came up and now tears are pouring out of my eyes. Not so professional from my part as I am at work :O
    Thanks! I still feel miserable, but now I feel it’s cool…

  60. April 29, 2016

    Sherene Buffa Reply

    Perfection. Pure and simple. This post is perfection!

  61. May 19, 2016

    Jami Reply

    This brought tears to my eyes. Everyday I feel like I am just going through the motions. I am exhausted day in and day out. Rarely a break, I always wonder how these other moms do it! They seem put together, happy, etc. While I feel the complete opposite. Thank you for writing this. Its nice to hear what you/I are feeling is probably what the majority of other mothers are feeling.

  62. March 30, 2017

    Meva Reply

    thank you so much to understand and to encourage…

  63. June 30, 2017

    Kim Reply

    Never sure how to like the article on your blog page vs facebook.

    What’s the exciting news?? 🙂

  64. June 30, 2017

    Ruth Reply

    Linked to this from your facebook page. Hope that was what you needed!

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