To All the Moms Who Are Just Tired (And Maybe Don’t Want to Wash Their Faces)
Oh, mama. Are you as tired as I am? I'm willing to bet the answer to that is 100%.
Today, I had one of those days that felt like I did a thousand things and yet nothing at all. It was a strange combination of meaningless tasks and errands, like scrubbing those weird sticky parts off the floor that I have been ignoring for days, cleaning out the fridge, finishing up paperwork for work, playing with my daughter (“Mom, I have SO much fun surprises for us!), cooking and cleaning up lunch, and vacuuming for what felt like days. Before I knew it, I had collapsed on the couch with my daughter, desperate to rest my eyes for a minute. When my husband came home from work, he took a look at me and volunteered to take our youngest to pick up the big kids and I gratefully accepted, dreaming of a precious hour I could have all to myself to catch up on work.
And then I fell asleep on the couch.
Sigh. Is that not the ultimate metaphor for motherhood? Just when we finally get a moment to ourselves to catch our breaths, to actually accomplish something outside of diaper changing and little-people-tending and small-hearts mending, we are so tired we can't even do the things we desperately want to do?
It's hard, mama. It's so hard.
Add in the fact that so many of us right now are coming off a literal Polar Vortex, where we were stuck inside with energetic kids who couldn't go outside to play in the sub-zero temperatures (in my hometown, temps plummeted down to negative 40!) and it's no wonder that we're all feeling just a little depleted right now.
For weeks, I have been wondering what the heck is wrong with me. I've been searching my soul, racking my brain, even commenting to my husband that I”m a bit worried I may need some actual medical help. Am I depressed? Is this normal at all? Why am I suddenly so unmotivated and why even the things I used to love seem like so much work? All I want to do is sleep and be warm and eat and be warm and sleep some more.
And while I think it's important — so important, in fact — to do those gut-checks with ourselves and be willing to seek help for our mental health when we need to and be open with our partners about, I also think it's important for us as moms to give ourselves a little break. Having a hard time, especially this time of year, does not necessarily mean that there's anything “wrong” with us or that there is any problem with us — it could be as simple as this time of year + motherhood + life = hard and oh so very tiring.
I have to admit that I've fallen trap to the thinking that there is something very wrong with me, or that I am naturally just a very lazy and unmotivated and well, boring person when I look around and see a lot of the narrative on social media. I mean, have you heard of a little book called “Girl, Wash Your Face” or listened to any podcasts lately or been on social media where the entire message seems to be: DO MORE BE MORE BE BETTER DO ALL THE THINGS CHASE YOUR DREAMS!!
I don't know about you, but I am just so exhausted by it all. I just want to, like, get through the day, do you know what I'm saying? Sometimes I listen to these “inspirational” women and watch their videos and scroll through their carefully-curated feeds and I'm just like, “Girl, have you ever spent an actual hour scrubbing mysterious crud out of the grout in your kitchen like I did today? Does your preschooler ever get diarrhea, forcing you to cancel all of your plans to work and instead spend the day running her back and forth to the toilet and trying not to gag because it smells that bad? Girl, have you washed your face with a wet wipe because that's all you can manage?”
Because that is my life. And I've come to the conclusion that there are times and seasons for everything and right now, I am just in a season of getting through. Maybe (hopefully) there will be a time when I am motivated and want to start a skincare routine and work out more or set some fierce goals, but right now, I just want to be OK with cleaning my kitchen floor and napping on the couch and getting my laundry done and earning a paycheck that I don't have to think too hard about. Is that so terrible?
So to all the mamas who are tired out there, let's not hide in shame anymore. We are doing hard things and we are making it, even if we occasionally fall asleep on the couch. Because before we know it, spring is coming and maybe, just maybe, there will be a little more pep in our step once again.