Am I the only mom that’s obnoxiously exhausted all of the time?
When I was pregnant, many people gave me advice regarding what I should and shouldn’t do with the baby I would soon be holding in my arms. I read every book I could get my hands on and talked on the phone every day to all of my mom friends in hopes of gleaning some advice. My husband and I took an eight week childbirth class where we practiced labor positions and swaddled a doll whose arms and legs definitely did not flail around like a colicky baby.
I expected the sleep deprivation that is synchronous with the early days of motherhood. My eyes literally burned from lack of sleep. I remember hearing the paper delivery man drive by my house many early mornings as I sat up nursing one of the boys trying to get him back to sleep.
When the boys finally did sleep for extended periods, I would wake up in a panic hoping everything was okay. With tip-toed feet, I would walk in and touch their backs to feel the up and down rhythm of their breathing, ensuring all was well.
Who am I kidding? I still go in and put my hand on their backs every night before I go to bed.
Now that they’re six and three and both sleep at least 10-11 hours each night, I am still pretty dang tired all of the time. I do have a lot going on, as all moms do, but I eat healthy, exercise regularly, and sleep a decent amount (sort of). Nevertheless, I end up drinking coffee throughout the day and yawning quite a bit.
Since being a mom, I’ve worked full-time outside of the home, part-time only from home, and now work part-time out of the home and part-time from home. All are tiring and emotionally draining in different ways.
I’ve come to the conclusion that being a mom is exhausting not because of lack of actual sleep but because it takes an absurd amount of physical energy to love and nurture such special tiny people. I might as well put my beating heart outside of my body, attach legs to it and let it walk around. That’s how vulnerable my heart feels as I watch my children take on the world.
When it comes to my boys, I worry all of the time. I worry that they’re healthy, I worry that they’re happy, I worry when they look sad, I worry when they say weird things, I worry when they’re too loud, I worry when they’re quiet. I worry, worry, worry.
But I also smile an awful lot. I smile when they smile, I smile when they talk, I smile when they eat well, I smile when they are surprised, I smile when they try something new, I smile when they experience an accomplishment. And boy do I smile when they laugh with their whole bodies like only children can do.
Whether it’s a happy moment or a sad one, it affects my entire person. As someone told me one time, “Once you become a parent, you’ll always be a parent.” Such a simple statement but so true. I watch my mom worry about my sister and me in the same way. I watch my mother-in-law worry about my husband and his brother and sister in the same way.
The thing is, I don’t mind. The joy I feel from being a mother completely makes up for any exhaustion that comes along with it. My every act and thought is somehow related to my two little boys.
I think sometimes we moms worry that we’re not doing enough for our kids, that we’re not doing everything we should be doing. The truth is, though, if we’re being the best mom we can be, our children can feel it and they know it, even if their little minds can’t articulate a way to actually say it.
So kudos to you, moms. We’ve got the hardest job in the world. But isn’t it so worth it?