It’s 2:00 pm. We’ve made it to nap time! Owen is finally down for his nap, and I’m sitting in the living room feeding Wesley his afternoon bottle before his nap. It’s finally quiet in this house. This type of quiet is far and few between these days, and this type of quiet is dangerous for a stay at home mom like me. When both of the kids are down for a nap at the same time, I can totally disconnect for a little while and turn my brain off in the quiet; but today, I sit in the silence and remain present with the task at hand.
Being a mom has turned me into a robot. I go and go all day long, and when there is a moment of silence and rest, I automatically distract myself so that I don’t sit with my thoughts. You know why? Because my thoughts are screaming “THIS SUCKS” so loudly that I can hardly hear anything else. When I’m confined to a chair during a silent feed, I accidentally remember how tired I am, and today, I am so tired.
Before I became a mom, I dreamed about staying at home. I fantasized about doing crafts with my kids, taking them on adorable play dates, and teaching them how to be tiny responsible citizens who were kind to others and hopefully cared about the planet.
Turns out, while the highs are incredibly fulfilling and abundantly life giving, the lows are the deepest of deep and totally suck the soul right out of you. Every emotion is magnified by a million when you’re a parent, so on the days that I’m feeling stay at home mom burn out, I’m REALLY feeling stay at home mom burn out.
Have you ever burst into tears when you try to work out for the first time in 9 months, and the gym staff member taps you on the shoulder and tells you that your baby is crying and that you need to pick him up?… because that’s what I did at 10:30 today. Have you ever burst into tears while the staff member at Okie Playground helps you to your car (who am I kidding, I don’t drive a car anymore) minivan, because you’ve thrown your screaming/kicking/sobbing toddler over your shoulder and need help holding him down to get him strapped in?… because that’s what I did at 1:30 today. Have you ever burst into tears because while you were changing the youngest, the oldest emptied an entire container of cashews on the living room floor and spilled your old coffee on the bar stool?… because that’s what I did 20 minutes ago. Y’all. I. AM. SO. TIRED.
And when I say tired, I’m not talking about a teething, all-nighter kind of tired. I’m not even talking about a first day at a cross fit boot camp class that you joined by accidentally ‘liking’ a facebook post 6 weeks after giving birth (we’ll chat about that later). I’m talking about a three year long viewing of a new cross over between This Is Us/Grey’s Anatomy while reading The Notebook during commercial breaks, eating Taco Bell five layer burritos for every meal, and every stretch of sleep longer than 5 hours activating a recurring nightmare that you’re the leading lady in Liam Neeson’s French action thriller, “Taken.” That kind of fatigue. A special mix of emotional warfare and sloppy life choices because you’re trapped in a weird space of being both sedentary and physically active at the same time, all while doing nothing for yourself. This is the tired that I feel today. Today, the weight of the fatigue feels truly palpable.
I’ve heard people talk about these thoughts creeping in as if they’re Satan trying to rob you of the joys of motherhood. I’ve read posts comparing this type of fatigue to the ‘enemy’ planning his attack on your family. You’re supposed to resist these thoughts, and make them background noise while pressing on with this kingdom work… but what if you just need to sit in it?
I need to know that today is okay. I need to know that it’s normal to feel burnt out and defeated, and that while I’m trying my hardest to follow the advice of my hobby lobby wall decor and “choose joy”, I feel nothing. I need to know that Satan doesn’t present himself in spilled scrambled eggs on my kitchen floor and the sitting blowout in my laundry hamper. I need to know that my mind is not betraying me, and that my brain screams “this sucks” because THIS SUCKS.
The only thing that makes this motherhood gig harder than it already is, is pretending that it’s not as hard as it already is. So today, to the moms that are reading this that are feeling burnt out, let’s speak it into the universe together. Today, let’s not pretend that we aren’t all dog tired. Now goodnight.