Do you remember when we were young and carefree? We could stay up all hours and somehow still drag our sweatpants-clad bodies to college classes. We were in our mid-20s, judging the moms with the annoyingly loud children at the next table in the restaurant and scoffing at the mother who gave in to her whiny child’s wishes in the checkout line for sugary candies and sodas.
We were funny then. Today we are too exhausted to pass judgement.
There isn’t a word of which I am aware that can encompass the level of fatigue that accompanies being the kind of tired you are when you are keeping a husband (or not) fed, managing to keep your kids alive, performing at a full time job, balancing a budget (that would suggest the only vacation you will take this year is a trip to your own backyard), and attempting to maintain yourself at PTO meetings and soccer practice to keep up with those other moms whose glitter-dawned shirts with their kids’ names on the backs are blinding reminders of your shortcomings.
THAT is our level of tired; the “no amount of coffee in the world will get me through today” brand of tired.
As I am beginning to adjust to our new lifestyle of living tiny in a one income household, being the only one working outside the house, and organizing our son’s homeschool curriculum and daily lessons, I have become a crazy-eyed Monday through Friday zombie version of myself. She wakes up and pours coffee; she grocery shops and meal preps; she feeds the family and reads bedtime stories–but she is nearly dead.
Before you break out the torches and tie me to the stake for being ungrateful, please understand that I love my family very much. But I. Am. Tired. In fact, I have started this same blog four times and couldn’t finish because I was distracted by other things that needed doing and took priority.
So, here is my attempt to muster the energy to cheer on the others like me who feel like the next Monday is just around the corner. To the moms who roll their eyes at millennials, but secretly fully understand the concept of “I just can’t today.” To the hard workers who bust their tails but never feel like they will ever catch up and be on top of things, much less ahead of the game. To you, I raise my coffee. This is my victory anthem, tired mamas!
Dear Working-Mom Who is (Beyond) Tired,
Giiiirrrrllll, I feel you! Our lives are a whirlwind of balancing super lame “to-do”s with what can only be described as some sort of majestic motherhood because we all know that (and my husband agrees so I am in no way intending this as disrespectful to him) most men just couldn’t handle our lives. Somehow we were given the innate ability to multitask like a, well, mother while our hairier counterparts stand proudly–muscles flexed–gazing toward some invisible light from heaven that they must think shines down on them when they complete one household chore. I appreciate that you managed to get your dirty laundry ALL THE WAY to the laundry basket this time so the fumes of your feet and crotch aren’t engulfing the entire bedroom, but I feel a choir of angels as your backup singers for this accomplishment is a little over-the-top.
First of all, working moms, you are killing it! Seriously. No one else can fill your ever-widening and sweaty shoes. Admit it, mama, those Toms smell like hot garbage juice because remembering to put those little sock liner thingies on in the morning is just one too many “to-do”s most days. But you march yourself to work everyday (or slay it at home with your kids, or manage a self-employed business, or balance direct sales) like a BOSS!
Most people are good to drag themselves out of bed to beat rush hour but you!? You have woken the sleeping beasts, made sure their bed head was somewhat tamed, that their breath didn’t smell like the hot Cheetos they sneaked the night before, and had their lunch made up in time to throw some sort of cereal bar at the back of their heads before they caught the bus. Stop downing yourself for not being the mom who had time to write little notes in their lunch or cut their PB&J into heart shapes. You are nailing it! We both know they would be the smelly kid in class if it weren’t for us.
While it may seem never-ending, you kind of love it. Admit it, when we—by some miracle of the Lord Himself—get 10 minutes alone with no major task to accomplish, we just stare around the room like we just woke up from Dorothy’s tornado and now the entire world is in color and filled with tiny singing men and witches who want to kill you for your shoes.
Feeling needed is in our DNA. When we are left to our own devices, we are just going to waste hours drinking wine leftover from last year’s holiday party and watching an entire season of a show we’ve never heard of on Netflix or planning million dollar renos that we will never do to our houses all because we just burned an entire night with Chip and Joanna and a bag of M&Ms we’ve been hiding from the kids (and our husband). Let’s just embrace that while doing laundry isn’t glamorous, it is a tiny cog in the wheels that keep our family moving–and we get some serious pride out of that.
Trust me, they appreciate you. This is tough to see sometimes because, generally (certainly not always), husbands and kids aren’t spiritually gifted with the ability to put words together to form a sentence to thank us for the fact that if we fell off the face of the planet tomorrow, it would only be a matter of days before they were sitting in their own filth watching Family Guy with their two-year-old who is eating Ramen noodles because that is the full maximum of their cooking prowess. But trust me, they get it.
Kids know that mom has this whole “keep us alive and happy and well-fed” thing on lock. That is why they whine to us so much. Most kids want their moms first when things go wrong because they know we are their biggest cheerleaders. We do an incredible job of burying the thoughts of dangling them from the ceiling fan when they won’t stop asking the same questions 400 times in a row so they are none the wiser. They are fully confident that we love them all the time, even when they are acting like tiny mental patients.
If I have learned anything parenting in this crazy world it is that we need each other. I am constantly baffled by the amount of slamming we do to other women on social media or behind each other’s backs. Why?! No one else understands us like another one of us! Cut that crap out. It is childish anyway and you know you will only end up feeling guilt and shame for it because it is wrong and you were just heated at the time.
Take a second to think of the people you have looked up to in your lifetime. Chances are, while some of us have pretty incredible dads or grandpas or uncles, many of the mentors and role models running through your heads are other women. These are powerful ladies who have been forces of strength and encouragement in our lives. They are people who, in our eyes, were slaying it at motherhood, careers, service, community . . .
Guess what!? She is YOU! Someone younger than you (or maybe not) right this very minute is thinking of YOU as her role model. She is in awe of the fact that you balance work and school, kids and career, husband and friends, a budget and meal prep. She cannot even fathom how you manage to remember birthdays and meetings and still roll into work with donuts because you thought of everyone else this morning. She is enthralled with your heart for others, your love of your kids, and your respect for your husband.
Notice anything? She sees so much good in you. She is so inspired by the miracles you pull off every day—you know, those mundane tasks that we dread? She doesn’t even know that you broke the coffee pot this morning, changed clothes four times because you felt like a busted can of biscuits in every outfit, snapped at your four-year-old who manages to lose one shoe EVERY MORNING right before it is time to leave, or that you realized on your way to work that you only put in one earring. That all falls to the wayside in the wake of your awesomeness.
So, carry on mighty warriors! We are hard-working women of incredible sacrifice and when we take a second to see ourselves from that point of view, we will be amazed by all that God has gifted us to do. We are pretty amazing.
Originally published on the author’s blog