I have four kids, so I have felt many levels of exhaustion over the past 13 years since becoming a mother. Let me tell you this—there is no exhaustion quite like being a mother to a toddler and a young teenager. Being tired isn’t just physical anymore; it’s emotional too.

One minute I’m sprinting after my son, the toddler, who is bee-lining toward the street to get his loose ball. The next minute, I’m listening and guiding my middle school daughter as she processes the current school or friend drama happening in her life. It’s a new level of exhaustion no one prepared me for. The differences in parenting them are drastic.

I chase after my son on a tricycle. I drive my daughter to her sporting events.

I cut up food for my son. I give my daughter a knife to cut her food (and pray she doesn’t cut herself in the process).

I give my son a bath and take him to the restroom. I wonder what is taking my daughter so long in the bathroom and if she might need me to check on her.

I dress my son and pick out his outfits (usually). My daughter chooses her daily outfits, and we discuss dress codes and clothing budgets.

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My son goes straight to bed. My daughter loves sharing her thoughts and chatting with me before bed.

My son can’t be outside without me. My daughter bikes to school with her friends.

My son wants to hang out with me on a Friday night. My daughter wants to be with her friends.

My son can wake up at his leisure. My daughter is up before the sun.

My son requires my presence and for me to move my body. My daughter requires me to listen and not act surprised by what she just told me when I am shocked on the inside. I have to trust she can make good decisions and somehow summon up words of wisdom to help her navigate life.

One is physical. One is emotional. It’s a lethal combo for a mother.

For months, I wondered if something was wrong with my health because I was always tired. Even when I relaxed on the couch to watch a show or movie while the kids were at their schools, I’d still be exhausted. I worried even more when a good night’s sleep would leave me just as tired the next day. My workout routine wasn’t helping my energy level either, and that used to always give me energy along with happy endorphins.

It took me a long time (and a visit to my doctor) to realize it is simply the season of life I am in right now. I won’t be this exhausted forever. At some point, the physical exhaustion of chasing after a young child will go away. All I’ll be left with is the emotional exhaustion, and I know I’ll miss the stage I’m currently in.

Isn’t that the beautiful and crazy thing about motherhood? No matter how exhausting a season is, we’ll miss it when it’s over. We probably won’t even remember the exhaustion. That is why nobody warned me about how exhausting this season would be. Mothers tend to forget the hard seasons.

RELATED: Teenagers and Toddlers Are More Alike Than Different

So, I’m sharing my experience with you now before I forget. I know motherhood amnesia comes out of nowhere. Being a mom to a toddler and a teenager is exhausting but totally normal. The personal growth I’ve experienced this season has been so good for me too.

This season has taught me that exhaustion isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s taught me to know my limits and set boundaries with my schedule and activities. It’s made me look at the foods I put in my body and what gives me energy. It’s taught me to think more about my bedtime and water intake. I am a better person and mom as a result of this season.siglings

I also get to witness the sweet relationship between my oldest and youngest. She loves to take him on the trampoline. He loves hanging out in her room while she’s doing homework or chatting with a friend on the phone. The age gap may be wide, but it makes their relationship all the sweeter.

So, in my exhaustion, I’ll continue to grow and find joy in the day-to-day activities of this life of mine. I am truly blessed to be this exhausted. It won’t be like this forever.

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Lauren Elizabeth Miller

Lauren Elizabeth Miller is the author of Made for More: My Story of God's Grace and Glory. Lauren serves people through words and points them to Jesus as the blogger and creator at laurenelizabethmiller.com. She earned an MBA in 2012 and uses her business degree for nonprofit work. As an adoptive mom, she has a passion for kids in need of families locally and around the world. Lauren lives in Nolensville, Tennessee, with her husband, Scott, and four children.

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