I didn’t think I would still be this tired.

I remember when my kids were young and 7:30 p.m. would never come. After a full day with three toddlers, I plopped down on the couch each night and tried to recollect what I did with my day. It didn’t seem like I accomplished much, but I was freaking exhausted.

I remember all the chasing around and hoisting kids up onto my hip and bending down to change diapers and leaning over to wash bottles and sippy cups and the favorite purple plate she had to eat off of at every meal.

I remember the slow walks around the block while carrying a tricycle and pulling a wagon and the pushes on the swing and the cleaning of the toy room again and again and again.

And at the end each day I was physically spent. I felt like I ran a marathon.

I feel that way tonight. I am tired and drained and spent. So, when I looked down at my watch after taking the dog for his last walk and saw I hadn’t moved more than 5,000 steps today, I was like, “WHAT?”

I mean, I woke up at 6:15 a.m. and worked for two full hours before taking my older daughter to soccer practice and then another to middle school schedule pick up. Then, I dropped one off at the orthodontist, swung by and picked up another from practice and returned to the ortho. An hour later, I returned to the middle school to volunteer, where I helped what felt like four million sixth graders pick out sizes for their gym uniforms  When I returned home two and a half hours later, I quickly made a dinner we could eat in the car, sent a note about a project I’m working on to a client, ordered reeds for my daughter’s saxophone, booked a hotel room for an upcoming soccer tournament, took a phone call from my daughters’ principal regarding an issue with her schedule, ran to Target for a last-minute purchase of a black binder that was not on the school supply list and said a little prayer as I threw a load of wet clothes into the dryer that had been sitting since 7 a.m.. I then hopped back in the car with my youngest daughter to transport her to soccer practice. I worked for an hour and a half in the parking lot, then returned home by 8 p.m., when I took my dog out for his last walk around the block.

And I thought to myself, “I am freaking exhausted.”

So, I looked down at my watch expecting to see about 25,000 steps, and saw this number instead. 4,944. Not even two miles of moving in 14 hours.

This stage of motherhood, well, it is as freaking exhausting as before, but just mentally instead of physically. We are working and volunteering and driving and scheduling and driving and coordinating and driving.

Older kids don’t need our help to complete basic tasks much. Although my house still looks like a tornado hit it, the labor-intensive chores are now shared in our house. But these kids, these women-children that roam the halls of my home, they need me much more emotionally, and most likely even more important to them, they need me to transport them to and fro. All the time.

Parenting is such a roller coaster. Nothing else in life gets simultaneously easier and harder at the same time.

I am more experienced and organized in the chaos, and realize that my child will survive even if I forget to buy new black binders or turn in every school form.

Yet the weight of raising conscientious and capable members of society lays heavy on my shoulders each and every day.

My steps may be shorter now that my kids are growing up, but each of those 4,944 forward movements, well, they took a lot out of this mom today.

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Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a communications consultant, and blogger. She tries to dispel the myth of being a typical suburban mom although she is often driving her minivan to soccer practices and attending PTA meetings. She writes about parenting, relationships, and w(h)ine on her blog Playdates on Fridays.