“Mom… Mom… Mom… MOM”
I can tell by the distinct lack of sunlight peeking around the corners of the curtains that it is way too flipping early to be awake.
Especially when Baby A was up every few hours. Especially when V had another night terror. Especially when I dared stay up a little later to spend time with Husband.
Especially when I am still so tired.
We live in a world where everyone is busy. Everyone is overwhelmed and pulled in a thousand different directions.
Men are working hard trying to pull in a livable income for their family, trying to balance work with caring for the physical demands of their home and bonding with their families.
We are all tired.
Women are balancing the endless debate of whether they should or should not work outside the home. Public school or private school or home school. Montessori or Reggio or RIE or Attachment. Baby-led weaning or homemade purees or store-bought purees. Breast or bottle. Cloth or disposable. The constant caring and calming, wiping and worrying.
We are all tired.
Our lives are a constant barrage of “this or that” – decision fatigue constantly lurking, ready to push us over the edge and make us lose our cool. Stealing our peace, wrecking our plans to stop yelling, stomping all over our joy.
Because we are all so dang tired.
Motherhood is an interesting level of tired.
I’m tired in the physical sense. My body was never really given the time, rest and nutrition it needed to recover from birth the first time, let alone the second. Baby A has consistently been off the growth charts physically and the demands of a massive toddler and a normal-sized preschooler, rocking and carrying, snuggling and reassuring, have left tight tendons and aching muscles all over my body. The need for physical closeness for reassurance of my high-needs preschooler and my still very much nursies-focused toddler leave my body itching from the tiredness of being constantly touched.
My mind, once sharp and ready to learn and take in everything I was exposed to, has turned sluggish. Mom-fog, brain fatigue, pregnancy brain – it’s all very much real and there. I reread sentences over and over without ever comprehending what was written. I remind myself of things that need to be done or bought or fixed over and over and yet as soon as I move to the next thing, the previous one has fled my brain. My mind is so very tired of the endless list of to-dos and the massive mountain of worries, of the choices we have to make or we may have to make or we already made.
Emotionally I vacillate between the massive joy sparked by the zeal for life that radiates from my children and the deafening self-loathing and shame that oozes from me after I’ve lost my cool and yelled at them for something inconsequential and, most likely, out of their control.
I am so miserably lonely and overwhelmingly needed at the same time.
I am myself and yet not myself. I am Sarah and yet Mom.
Spiritually I am spent. Jesus doesn’t talk to me the way I need him to. He isn’t giving me what I want when I ask for it. He isn’t meeting me where I am. I lose hope, I stop caring, I want to give up. And yet, He has that way of tugging me back to Him. I try to pray and end up yelling. I try to read the Bible and end up yelling. I give up and He ends up loving me so hard I can feel it. But still, I have nothing left to give him. I am so tired.
We are so tired.
In peace I will lie down and fall asleep,
for you alone, LORD, make me secure.
We’re shown throughout the Gospels that sometimes Jesus also needed to rest. He often “went of to a deserted place, where he prayed” (Mk 1:35) or “departed to the mountain to pray.” (Lk 6:12)
Rest is the balm for tiredness. And rest doesn’t have to mean sleep. When my body aches, rest can take the form of sleep but it can also be laying down while my kids play together on the floor or resting in a warm bath. Resting my mind can mean reading purely for pleasure, having an enjoyable conversation, or sipping a hot cup of coffee alone in silence while it’s still hot. Resting my emotions can mean journaling or making a to-do list to get things out of my head and onto paper (dealing with my dragons, if you will) or having a good hard cry. Resting my spirit can mean quality prayer time, Eucharistic adoration (my personal favorite), Mass or Bible study.
We are all tired.
And that is normal. But remaining in a space of constant fatigue, in any of its various forms, is not healthy for anyone.
Take a second to check in on your mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. Which one is having the largest impact on your life right now? Take a breath and come up with one thing you can do this week to help put a dent in that tiredness. Create a routine of doing this weekly and begin to build up some healthy habits to combat your tiredness.