I’m tired of being tired.
I am a working wife and mama of three kids age 7, 6 and 3. (Also two dogs that I tolerate. That’s about as deep as it goes.)
This is how a typical night goes at our house:
8pm- The husband lays down with our little man, who still has to have one of us lay with him until he falls asleep. Which can be hours. I take turns tucking in/saying prayers/kissing and hugging the two girls goodnight. Sometimes a child wanders out of the bed to get a drink of water/complain about some random physical ailment/go potty and I quickly rush them back to bed. This may happen once or several times. (No lie, as I type this a child came out of her bed complaining of an ear ache. IT NEVER ENDS.)
9pm(ish)- The husband has finally gotten the boy to sleep (hopefully) and comes downstairs. We may watch a show or talk or eat dessert (yes, we always eat dessert after the kids go to bed) for an hour or two, depending on how heavy my eyelids are.
10 to 11pm- We trudge up the stairs, brush teeth, and fall into the bed. I am usually out in about .5 seconds.
Anywhere from 11pm to 3am- The boy makes his way into our bed at some point. He is not a sweet, cuddly sleeper, mind you. He is a future UFC champion in bed. He thrashes and kicks and squirms and head-butts until one of us caves and makes our way to his bed to get away from the torment. During this time there is also a good chance that the oldest girl wakes up and tries to weasel her way into bed with us. There is no restful sleep during these hours. Just pain and agony inflicted by a three year old.
4:30am- The puppy starts whining. And scratching. To which I lay there and pretend I can’t hear him, despite the fact that I am no longer sleeping and just counting down the minutes until my alarm goes off.
5:00am- My alarm goes off, to which I promptly push the snooze button. Not because I’m going to sleep (because at this point I probably wasn’t sleeping to begin with) but because I just.don’t.want.to.get.up.
5:30am- My alarm has gone off several times. I finally cave and drag myself out of bed to let the dogs out, make my coffee, read my Bible, pack lunches, and start the day. Typically my eyes are half-closed during the majority of these things.
This is my bed. Isn’t it lovely? It’s nothing fancy, but I often have lustful thoughts about laying in this very bed with no children (and sometimes no husband) where I can stretch and sleep and dream in complete and utter peacefulness. No husband snoring. No children kicking. No dogs whining. Just me, my bed, and sweet, sweet sleep.
I love the Timehop app- it makes me feel all sorts of sentimental feelings about things when it brings up pictures and posts from previous years. But I have noticed a reoccurring theme in my postings and statuses- I am always talking about being tired. Of course, some days are worse than others. But I can promise you, if a napping opportunity presented itself to me daily, I would jump on that bad boy like a kid on candy. To be honest, sometimes I come home from work, put on a quick episode of something for my kids on Netflix (don’t judge me), set my alarm for 10 minutes and let the magic happen. Some days my kids won’t stay out of my room long enough to actually let me doze off. Sometimes my brain won’t shut down long enough because I think every noise I hear is a child about to start a fire or break a bone. (Usually they’re just eating EVERYTHING IN THE HOUSE. But whatever.)
I’m afraid it’s a common thing for us, mamas. We’re tired. There’s no break from motherhood. We are on call 24/7. And even when we get a moment away from the house or the kids, our brains don’t know that. We are constantly putting mental, emotional and physical effort into this mama thing. And it’s tiring. No, it’s exhausting. Even if your angel children all sleep in their own beds all the way through the night (shut.up.) I have no doubt that you have days when you just feel overspent and under-appreciated. It’s hard work, what we do.
But I have found that there is a difference between being tired and being weary.
Being tired is part of this season of life. We’re going to have sleepless nights and long days. It’s the reality of these years of life with littles. We can drink gallons of coffee and cope. It’s when the weariness sets in that we need to press pause and re-evaluate things. Weariness sets in when we have let motherhood consume us and we forget to take care of ourselves and make time to be in the presence of Jesus. Weariness is when we pull from the reserves instead of the abundance. Weariness whispers “not enough” into our ears and causes us to look around us and assume that everyone else is better at this than we are. Weariness makes us question our ability to love and teach and raise these little people well. Weariness pushes us away instead of pulling us close.
Weariness is Satan’s tool to drive us to discontentment in motherhood.
We may only be able to do so much to combat tiredness in this season of our lives, but we can effectively combat weariness. We can protect ourselves from the lies that weariness tells us. It takes being proactive, but it is possible. Here are a few ways to combat the temptation to grow weary:
1. Get alone with Jesus daily. There is nothing that restores, refreshes and re-fills us like being in the presence of our Creator- the one who knows us best and loves us most. When you find yourself growing weary, rest in His presence and let His love remind you of your value and worth.
2. Don’t compare. I am so guilty of this. I see other mamas and I think they are better at this than I am. It is easy for me to give into the misconception that motherhood should look the same for all of us. It doesn’t. Some people make fancy lunches for their kids to take to school. Some people monogram all their kids stuff. Some people take their kids to cool places all the time. Some people are super involved in their kids’ activities. Some people’s kids look put together all the time. Guess what- I AM NONE OF THESE. And that’s ok. I have to realize that God gave me the kids I have and He trusts me to parent them just as I am. I am myself, and I am enough.
3. Stay connected to your passions. It’s easy to let your own passions slide when you’re consumed in your kids and family. But when you stay connected to the things that you loved before kids and that make you unique, it gives you fulfillment. Do you play an instrument? A sport? Are you artistic? Crafty? Do you write? Do you like to plan parties? Do you love to read? Whatever you’re passionate about, do it! Make time to do the things you love. Introduce your kids to them. Let them see you passionate about something. It will re-energize you when the weariness threatens to set in.
Mama, if you are weary today, take heart. You are an amazing mother and the work you do day in and day out is SO IMPORTANT. You are changing history with every diaper you change, nose you wipe, pair of shoes you pick up, lunch you pack, and child you hug. You are shaping the future and it matters. Don’t give into the lie that you’re not enough. Find your strength and your hope in Jesus and let the abundant life that He promises give you the strength to press on through the tiredness and into the joy of being your child’s champion.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9
It’s worth it. We can do this. With Jesus…and coffee…we can do this. Solidarity.