I am so tired.
Really, extremely tired.
I know I’m not the only exhausted mommy out there. I know you’re exhausted too. We’re in good company. I’d bet that most of the mommies are exhausted.
The other day I posted to my personal Facebook page about how I was so tired, I spent ten minutes waiting behind a car in the drive thru lane at A&W – TEN MINUTES – before I realized I was, in fact, just waiting behind a parked car near the A&W (about 12 feet to the left of the drive thru lane).
My post was rewarded with lots of sympathetic understanding from other moms doing equally (or even more) ridiculous things in their exhaustion.
Half of the sleepiness isn’t even the baby’s fault.
I struggle with postpartum insomnia.
I also get really confused in the night and hold him long after he’s finished eating. I could put him down and get an extra hour myself, but it doesn’t occur to me that this is the thing to do (I know…it sounds crazy, but I swear it’s true). Plus even if he’s out at 11:30, I can’t fall asleep until 1, and then of course we are up at 4 and that’s basically it for my night. I really struggle to “sleep while he sleeps” during the day.
So I am tired. So, so tired. So tired, my skin hurts sometimes.
But it’s the best tired I have ever been in my life, and it is imperative that I remember that.
Hear me out.
I complain about being an exhausted mommy. I do. We all do.
But when it comes right down to it, this is the best kind of exhausted. And I have been all kinds of exhausted before. By choice, it seems. (I know?!) I bet you can relate to some of this too:
In high school, I spent late nights on MSN – (ha! remember MSN?) often until 4 am. I’d be on the school bus by 7:45, and sort of “zombie” through my day, barley able to stay awake in class.
Then I spent long nights in clubs, somehow dragging myself into work the next morning… I remember laying down behind my desk once, when I knew the boss was out. I was so tired I felt like my legs wouldn’t hold my body up for another minute.
I traveled, and I met people from all over the world, people I would never meet again – and I stayed up with them, drinking and laughing, night after night. Often feeling guilty the next day that I was too tired to get of bed to go see the world.
Then anxiety took hold of me, and sleep deserted me. I was terrified to lay down, because I would be alone with my thoughts in the quiet and the dark, and I missed sleep so much. I knew that sleep would make everything seem better, but I couldn’t make sleep happen.
I struggled through a difficult season in my personal life, and stayed up each night crying into my wine glass. (A habit that I didn’t love but couldn’t – or wouldn’t – shake.) I was so sleep deprived that my face aged ten years overnight. I averaged 3 hours of broken sleep per night for nearly a full year. It was awful.
When I was pregnant I was so tired I could hardly think, and a part of me really believed nothing could be worth feeling this terrible. (I was wrong.) (UPDATE: I’ve been pregnant again since this, and I know now how to get some sleep while pregnant, thank goodness.)
But, what I’m saying is this: I’m an exhausted mommy, but exhausted is far from new to me. In fact, this time, exhausted is the most wonderful exhausted I have ever been.
Here it is, 1 am, I’m waiting for the squishy baby to decide it’s time to close his eyes. And when he does, I’ll be lucky to get two full hours in before he’s up again.
When he wakes in the middle of the night – demanding that I do too – I will pick him up, all of his itty-bittyness, and cuddle him close. I’ll put him in my bed, and nurse him lying down because I’m too tired to sit up.
Even though I am exhausted, I am aware that these middle of the night moments with him are the only moments I have with my baby where nothing else demands my attention. No phone, no email, no dinner to cook, or sinks to clean, or laundry to do. This is just our time; I’ll hold his tiny little hand, and kiss his chubby face and I will cherish these exhausting – fleeting – moments we have.
One day very soon he won’t need me in the middle of the night. (I had this realization recently, and it changed EVERYTHING for me when it comes to my struggles with my baby being up in the night.) He won’t even need me in the day. This is exhaustion won’t last, just like the other exhaustions didn’t last. But I will miss this one someday.
Related: This Too Shall Pass, Mommy
This season will pass, and again I will be well rested.
We’re approaching the age where sleep training is an option. I’ve always believed I would sleep train my children. (It’s easy to believe things about your children when you don’t have any.) I’ve seen, first hand, the wonders that sleep training can do.
But I have a hesitation now. What if, when my baby learns to sleep on his own, he no longer wants to sleep in my arms?
Why would I rush through these days? I lay him down beside me and he burrys his face into my shoulder – and falls asleep. And for a moment my heart stops, because I realize (any day now) this could be the last time he does this.
I am in no rush. I will sleep when my baby is bigger.
For now, I can endure being an exhausted mommy. I can choose to remind myself that this is precious exhaustion. And it will be over before I know it.
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