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It’s Saturday. I shouldn’t be so tired. I haven’t worked today.

It’s the weekend. How can you be tired? my mind scolds. No school to ready for, no lunches to prepare, no homework reminders. My babies have slept through the night for years now.

I allow my mind to track back over my day. It’s an ordinary kind of day for our family.

I wake before seven and make breakfast. Chop up fruit for my daughter’s sports team fruit roster. Find myself hoping my daughter has slept well at her friend’s birthday sleepover. I wonder what our day will be like if she hasn’t.

My older child announces she’d like to come to the game. I value her interest but not her timing. Please hurry and no, I do not have time to make your breakfast. After realizing getting to the game on time is going to be impossible, I leave without her.

I collect my younger daughter from the sleepover and drive to the netball courts. We talk about the sleepover. We talk about the upcoming game and her hopes for it. This sport is new for her so I spend some time supporting and encouraging her.

We arrive at the courts, I drop my daughter off courtside to join her coach and team. I scurry around obtaining scoring cards for the game. I chat and learn how to use the score sheet.

I notice my daughter’s skirt is skewed, so I chase her around the court to fix it. I ask her if she’s put deodorant on even though I can tell from this proximity she hasn’t. Maybe next time, I suggest. That’s one way to keep the opposition away, I joke.

I score the game. I cheer and support. I keep my older child, who arrives with my husband, company and answer her many questions about the game, the scorecard and life in general.

I offer praise to other parents about their children’s progress. I chat with the opposition about the ups and downs of kids’ team sports. After returning the scorecard to the office, I collect my daughter, prompt her to thank her coach. I have a brief discussion with my husband and older child about travel arrangements.

I drive my younger child home. We prepare for the rest of the day. I deal with complaints about a missing pair of shorts with less patience than I would have hoped.

I take my older daughter shopping for shoes, pants, socks. We browse, we select, we try on and decide what to purchase. I add a pair of shorts for my younger daughter amongst the purchases, still guilty about the missing pair from earlier.

We return home triumphant with our purchases to start the next shift. My younger daughter has another birthday party to attend. Does she have her EpiPen, a pair of socks, the gift?

I scarf down some almonds, a carrot, let’s call it lunch. “Are you ready for hanging out at your friend’s?” I ask my older daughter. “Do you have your inhaler, your swimsuit, anything else you need?” I drive her to her friend’s home. “Have fun, no I won’t stay.” I tell her parents, “I’ll be back at five.”

I think about dinner and how I have nothing organized. I head to the supermarket. Make calculations about how much time I have to prepare dinner. Enough for a roast, or less?

I return home, load laundry. Field questions from my husband about how to complete Mother’s Day shopping when neither kid is around to do with him. Not sure, maybe go it alone and apologize to them later. He does after I tell him what to buy for all mothers concerned, including me.

I take down yesterday’s laundry from the line and hang new washing. I make plans to fold it today but history tells me that won’t happen. I find myself feeling irritated. Mother’s Day or not, Monday will be here soon enough and clean uniforms and work clothes will be required.

I arrive to collect my daughter from the birthday party but receive a text when I arrive that the party is running late. I return home. I grab a quick glass of water.

I receive some images via text from my husband: should I buy this one or this one? I answer.
My daughter is dropped home from the party. We talk about how it went before she dashes out to play with one of the neighbourhood kids she sees on the street.

Do I have time to walk our dog before I pick up my other daughter from her friend’s house? He’s been looking kind of sad lately, so I should. But can I? Maybe. What about the roast for dinner, can I make it work?

Why am I so tired? This is why.

My mind decides to put the matter to rest. Life with tweens and teens is exhausting, no further questions.

Nadene van der Linden

Nadene van der Linden is a clinical psychologist in private practice specialising in perinatal psychology, parenting and trauma. Join the Unshakeable Calm facebook group today. Science based tips for calm and confident living.

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