Sometimes I think that I don’t realize how tired I really am everyday.
I push and push and push and push through.
I’m fine will come out of my mouth and extra caffeine will hit my Starbucks cup and I’ll race and rush only to realize I’ve once again forgotten three things, missed a call and I have not a single clue what to make for dinner. I’ll sit in the school pick up line at 2:10 wishing it was 10:10 but then when 10:11 comes around instead of going to bed I get back to work.
And then I have a moment to travel for work. And then, when I get on the plane, before the wheels leave the earth, I fall asleep. Not just kind of dozing asleep, but dead to the world head on the window asleep until I hear the bing-bong signalling that the plane is at 10k feet. Instead of sleeping, I’ll pull out my Macbook Pro and get back to work.
Sometimes we just work beyond our capacity.
In fact, my guess is that for most of you you just want someone to realize how tired you truly are. I’ve had those times pushing my cart through Target and wanting to just tell people to have mercy on me and my horrible cart turning skills. I’m not trying to cut you off – I’m just tired and moving forward.
We all have these journey stories of being deeply deeply tired.
Seasons of motherhood have different seasons of tired. Mental, emotional, physical.
There is so much talk about living awake and aware and I’m just wanting to pull up my cover and hit my snooze button for ten more minutes.
But we don’t.
We get up.
We brush the hair in our face away, put it in a pony tail and start again.
I just wish there was a simple cure for all of this tired.
Do you know why I work so hard and exist in tired? Because I absolutely love my kids and will do whatever it takes to do what needs to be done. Even when I’m exhausted.
You do too.
I don’t think there is a 28 step program to not being tired while we mother. There isn’t a magical cure, a great pill – there’s just sleep – but as we all know – sleep is often elusive for a good twenty plus years of our lives. Which is probably the very reason I can sleep while sitting on an Airbus heading to Nashville. I think instead of trying to fix being tired I’m just going to accept it and do my best.
Do our best.
Not some crazy super ladder of perfection. But our best. Your best. Trust me – there are seasons of different levels of your best and it can NEVER be compared to what another mom is doing. Never ever ever ever. Kids are different. Support different. Personalities different. Your best matters. Your friend’s best matters.
So don’t compare.
Sometimes that means taking a nap in the afternoon or making easy dinners or telling our friends I’m just really tired right now and not feeling like you don’t measure up. It means less about that pesky comparing to who is getting a million things done and thinking that no one else is tired but instead being proud of each other for what we do everyday.
Last week, on Wednesday morning, I woke after three hours of sleep. The alarm went off and the kids needed to get ready for school. And I remember standing in the kitchen not being sure I could get through – not knowing how the peanut butter and jelly would make it’s way to the bread. I remember getting to the top of my stairs, sitting down, and resting my head on the wall.
It’s a week later.
I got through. Pushed through. Even in tired.
Do you know what else? You do too.
All those times when you thought you couldn’t and yet you did.
You stood up from the stairs, you buttoned those coats, you drove those kids, you folded that laundry, you worked hard. There are so many of you who work and work and work and just feel wiped out. You feel like no one notices or the kids don’t care.
I know it’s hard.
I know it’s tiring.
So with that I want to tell you two words.
Yes, that. Thank you. Thank you for being the best mom you can be at times and sometimes feeling like the worst mom and sometimes just feeling annoyed and sometimes feeling on top of the world. But most of all thank you for all the times you kept going even when you were tired.
And that simple cure? Well, here’s the secret: I think the magic is when we begin to recognize how much we matter even in the tired. And that the cure for not being tired in motherhood really won’t be there until the kids grow. Because it’s easy to think we need to fix things or think we need to and forget that being a mom means being tired. Did you hear that? Being a mom means being tired. That’s normal. And it’s okay. Just do your best.
Thank you, tired mom. Thank you.
ps. Sleep is good. I have learned that – that sometimes the to-do list needs to wake so that I can take care of myself too. So don’t always put you and your rest on the back burner. 🙂
Hmmm. I actually am concerned about this post enough to comment. I really like your posts, but I disagree with your conclusion on this one. Judging from your picture (and you are lovely, even when tired), I have a few more years experience so it is in that attitude (older sister?) that I write.
I appreciate the “thank you” and the “keep pushing” and the “you matter”. But I have to say, I’ve done the pushing through, until I was deathly ill, twice. I almost lost my life, but I did lose two entire summers of my life to illness, have never been the same since, and have had 30 years of chronic chest pain and daily fatigue. I’d like to add that whatever it is that you are doing that is making you so tired (anyone, even me, not just Rachel), your family needs you alive more than it needs some of what you are pushing to accomplish.
I currently home school two elementary age children, teach part-time at a local college, and am building an international business with my husband. I also am regularly involved in my local church and neighborhood. I understand busy and tired. I’ve also had to pull back on many things that are good, but are not the best for us at this time.
I know tired. I slog through each day (because of my past illnesses). It’s the bane of my existence. But God has also shown me that His strength is perfect in my weakness. That when I wait on Him, I renew my strength. That when I take a day of rest as He designed (and commanded, in the Old Testament), I am a better person. I can’t remember what eminent theologian said, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.” I realize, Rachel, that you mentioned napping, in passing.
Please understand I’m writing this as a way of passing on my hard-earned painful experience of learning to STOP and REST when we are so tired that we are on the verge of collapse. I understand the idea of busy seasons – there are times we just have to push through. But not 20 years. Seriously, your body might not make it that long if you try.
I often feel guilty when I rest – like I’m lazy or lack discipline. But I notice that if I take a regular time to recover, I can accomplish more in the remaining minutes.
I also have had to ask for help and lower some of my standards. I know this runs counter-cultural, and is hard to swallow. But there are often people willing to help if they only knew.
Also, I learned that I took much of my identity from the way I looked, or my house looked, or my children acted or my to-do list. But that is idolatry. My identity comes from my relationship to God in Christ, not how clean my house looks or my clothing size. Although I take care of myself and my family and my house, I am not anxious and stressed about it as much as in the past. I’ve learned that when I look to the LORD for strength, direction, purpose, and identity, not only do I have more peace, but I have better health and strength. As a Shepherd, He guides, but does not drive us. I pray for moments of rest for each reader today, in whatever form that takes.
Yes, yes…I appreciate your words greatly. I think that’s why I added the addendum at the end about making sure there was no guilt in resting and that it was for important. Thank you for sharing your perspective and for encouraging all of the readers.
To A. Johnson. I think I could really use your counsel. I’m confused and burnt out by my life situation. I’m trying my best at life: homeschooling, the mom of a 12year old, an 8 year old and a 10 month old. I’ve been in bible studies, just was part of getting together an IF:Gathering that said “To Jesus you are enough” and yet also treated us like we are the one’s who can save the world. My mother and sister have both told me I’m doing a crappy job of staying in touch with them. My husband works ridiculous hours and I’ve been in bed with the flu?for over a week. I’m so tired of being beaten up by people who are supposed to support me. I’m hurt, deeply sad, and angry. Tell me what God would say to this? On one hand I hear “boundaries” on another hand I hear “forgive”.
I totally agree with your blog because my son awakes every morning between 730 and 8 am most days I have to work at 2pm and I have him ready for daycare by noon and by the time I get to work I’m already exhausted from chasing my tot around the apartment to get his coat and hat on lol. I love my son dearly but he is at the terrible 2s stage and some days I want to pull my hair out because of his temper tantrums. When he is asleep it’s like he is a different child than when he’s awake. I take it one day at a time to balance motherhood and being a full time employee and returning to school this spring. I’m hoping it gets better thanks for all the good advice
Tears…every time I read your words. I’m new to your blog and Facebook page. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This married, full-time working mom of 3 wonderful kids, part-time student is struggling. I want to run away. 🙁
Thank you, Holly. I really appreciate you. I believe you can do this – you really can.
I needed that. Being a tired Mommy is Normal. N NEVER feel your not doing your Best. Cuz U Are.❤❤