Someone looked at me the other day and said: "you look tired."
“Yes, I am tired," I answered that non-question borderline self-evident statement that didn’t really need to be verbalized.
I wanted to say: Well Janet, tired is an understatement actually, but thanks for pointing out I look like crap.
The exhaustion sometimes that goes hand-in-hand with this whole motherhood thing is unexplainable unless you are in it. It’s exhaustion up the ying-yang.
We’re tired from the moment our precious little ones are born and require us to feed them every three hours. We are tired from chasing those same babies when they become mobile and oftentimes too distracted to sleep. We’re tired when they start dropping naps and entering one of their gazillion sleep regressions. In every stage, we are tired.
We’re tired because besides losing sleep, we are always thinking about and preparing for the next meal, meltdown, and activity. We carry the mental load of motherhood that keeps us up even when we can sleep. I for one, am one of those stay-up-late-because-I can-finally-get-crap-done mothers and don’t find my head officially hitting the pillow until midnight each night.
And with little ones, there is always something. Someone has a cold, ear infection, or is in a crappy mood. There is never a long pause where you get that full deep breath. There is never more than a moment or two when everyone is okay. Because little ones are little humans, and humans require a lot of TLC (tender loving care) even when they are fully independent so when they are not—you are their lifeline.
We are especially tired when we are crazy enough to do it again. I am beluga-whale-pregnant (almost 32-weeks) with my third child—and the baby’s head is nestled right in my rib cage. I don’t know how in the world that is comfortable for her-- I will make sure to ask her when she comes out…
But gosh, of course, I am tired! Being pregnant the first time around, you are tired. With other kids on this earth—it takes that exhaustion to another level.
And this is the kind of tired where as I am watching a movie my consciousness ebbs away. My eyes roll flickering into darkness, and I never make it through.
The kind of tired where you think about sleep and don’t understand your daughter losing her afternoon nap and vow to wake her up during all her naps when she’s a teenager.
But this kind of tired is only temporary. And though I won’t miss the tired, I will miss being depended on and needed. I will miss all of it: the baby kisses and clinging-on-to-me hugs.
Us mamas, whether we stay-at-home or go into the office are crushing it. Our tired is all the same. Our tired is because we are working harder than anyone.
Our tired is because of how much we love.
So the next time I am told “you look tired,” I will just smirk back because I know the alternative to bags under the eyes and I wouldn’t trade my babies for all the sleep and snooze button pushes in the world.