“If you’re so tired, then lie down and go to sleep.”
This phrase, spoken by my well-meaning husband, drives me crazy.
He can, in fact, go lie down, shut off the world around him, and drift off to sleep; almost anywhere, anytime. Me? Not so much.
The second my head hits the pillow, the floodgates of my mind spring open and I am suddenly overwhelmed with too many thoughts to handle.
Did I play with my kids enough today?
What are we going to have for dinner tomorrow night?
When am I going to find time to clean for the company that is coming in?
Which errands do I need to run in town this week?
Am I reading to my youngest son enough?
Am I taking the right approach in teaching my oldest son to stop hitting?
On . . . and on . . . and on.
Forget a mile a minute—a mama’s mind runs a whole dang marathon organizing, planning, preparing, mending, acquiring.
And it’s not just the busy brain that keeps me awake at night. It’s the doing. So. Much. Doing.
Doing the dishes, doing the laundry. Paying the bills, picking up the floor. Tending to the wake-up calls of a toddler and a baby who, even when Daddy is home and available, often just want their Mama. Those after-bedtime hours that should be a chance for me to wind down are too often when I decide to do all the things instead.
I know I’m not alone in this. A mother’s work is never really done, and that truth can be the most exhausting reality.
So when my husband tells me to go lie down like it’s the most simple thing in the world, I often feel a little bit of annoyance creeping up.
It’s not that he never pitches in, or even that he doesn’t value and appreciate what I do for our family. It’s just that he doesn’t fully “get” the always-running, never-ending to-do list that is a mom’s mind. I’m married to a man who busts his butt each and every day to make a living for our family, but the second he walks in the door, he’s ready to sit down, take a load off, and relax. So he does.
When I’m really being honest with myself, my annoyance is truthfully just envy in disguise. Envy at his ability to check his stress at the door and just be.
But you know what? I’m done envying that. Instead, I’m going to imitate it.
I’m challenging myself—challenging you—to take a load off. Give yourself a well-deserved break.
Even if it is only one night a week, decide which things on your list can wait, and let them do just that. After the kids are in bed, sit your worn out body on the couch with a cup of hot tea or a glass of wine and take it easy. Scroll through Facebook, cuddle with your honey, watch some Netflix. And then, when you’re “finished” relaxing, step over those unpicked-up toys and go straight to bed.
Lie down, let your mind do its inevitable laps. Then, as your thoughts begin to slow and your eyelids grow heavy, let yourself succumb to sleep—beautiful, glorious, magnificent sleep.
Soak in every second, until—without fail—out of the darkness a little voice will whisper these five words in your sleeping ear: “Mommmmmy, I have to poop.”
A mother’s work is never done, and her mind is never still, but let’s give ourselves permission to just be.