Oh beautiful mama, you are tired for so many reasons. So many valid reasons.
You’re tired because of a lack of sleep.
You’re tired because you stayed up past your bedtime. You’re tired because you couldn’t sleep. You’re tired because you nursed your newborn seven times last night. You’re tired because you were working late again. You’re tired because you had to catch up on Olivia Pope’s latest adventure after you got the kids to sleep. You’re tired because even when you tried to lay down and close your eyes, they just didn’t seem like they wanted to close.
You’re tired because you’re a mother.
You’re tired because you were changing accident sheets at 1 am then puke sheets on the other bed at 3 am. You’re tired because you can’t decide which preschool to send your kiddo to and it kept you up all night. You’re tired because you fell asleep on the ground next to your toddler's crib until your partner came to wake you up. You’re tired because you jolted awake at 4 am wondering, Is everyone fine? Did I roll over on the baby?
You’re tired because you’re being pulled in different directions at the same time.
You’re trying to get back into working out. You’re tired because you’re on a deadline or because you’re just back from another work trip. You’re tired because you need to make it to your son’s school presentation then your doctor's appointment then to your daughter’s soccer game then your work meeting then home for dinner then finish the laundry then look over the budget then finish that spreadsheet...then, then, then….
You’re tired because of the season you’re in.
You’re tired because you’re in the throes of new motherhood, trying to find your ground. You’re tired because you’re a seasoned mama who is still trying to find her balance. You’re tired because you’ve recently expanded your family and you’re back in that foggy fourth trimester. You’re tired because you’re recovering from birth, you’re getting over (another) cold, your hormones are so up and down that you’ve had a headache for the past three days.
You’re tired because of the mental load and the emotional labor.
You’re tired because you are the CEO of your home. Because you have a list of to-do’s the size of a CVS receipt when you score big on ExtraCare coupons. You’re tired because you are remembering so many things at one time. One thought pops into your head, then a reminder squashes it, then another thought clouds that reminder and then a worry trumps all and adds in some anxiety on top of all the thing going on inside your mind and before you know it, you feel like you’re simultaneously forgetting everything and remembering all the things—at the same time! (Sometimes it feels like motherhood is really doing a number on my brain.)
You’re tired because the role of ‘mother’ is a physical one.
You are carrying toddlers, you are giving piggyback rides, you are hauling 10 grocery bags inside at once. You are crawling on the floor pretending you’re a tiger that the princess rides around the kingdom. You are picking up lots of toys and wiping endless messes. You’re craning your neck and tweaking your back while feeding your baby countless times.
You know what you’re doing, my friend? You’re kind of trying to pretend there are more than 24 hours in a day. You know how I know that? I am kind of doing that, too.
I feel your exhaustion hit the second your eyes pop open in the morning. I know you have no need for an alarm clock as you’re woken up each day by your eager preschooler. I see you make your way to your coffee machine and load it up with the grinds that will magically bring you to life.
I don’t have the brilliant cure for not feeling like a mombie anymore. (But I do have a feeling it has to do with getting more sleep if I had to guess…)
But what I do have for you is understanding. I just wanted to say: I get it. I’m in it. And we both know, it won’t always be like this.
So for now, I can tell you a little bit about how I am coping with my exhaustion. I am asking for and accepting help. I am being gentle with myself—I am not beating myself up when things don’t look perfectly or go perfectly.
And here’s some real talk for you. I just snapped at my 2-year-old for barging into my office again right after I sent a snooty text to my husband. I haven’t showered since Sunday and it’s now Wednesday. I have been up until 1 am too many days in a row to count, and I have a big deadline in five days, but you know what?
Right now, I need a second. So I am going to take a shower.
To-do list? I’ll be back in a bit. Right now I need 30 minutes to myself. Don’t forget to ask yourself what you need today, too. Deal?
Colleen is a wife and mom to three awesome girls. She is the Motherly Stories Editor at Motherly. Follow her adventures on Instagram.