Monday, October 21, 2013

Worn Out

I wrote this over the weekend, but only just got to finishing it up.  Fortunately I'm feeling much better today, though nothing notable has changed.  I figured it was still worth posting.

This is the kind of post I feel terrible writing, because I feel like it makes me sound ungrateful for the beautiful family that I have.  I feel like it will make you think I'm a bad mother.  

So let me say this first: I love my family, my children, so, so much.  More than anything.

But still, I am exhausted.

When The Bean was a wee baby whenever Jen or I got to that breaking point, where we felt like we just couldn't deal anymore, the other could take over.  I would play with The Bean while Jen showered.  She would take him for a walk while I slept.  It worked out pretty well.

We usually seemed to find the time to have discussions about what was and wasn't working.  About both how amazing our son was and how frustrated we could be by his behaviour.  About parenting and how we wanted to raise our children.  

These nights, we can't trade off.   I've got Sprout and Jen has The Bean.  And by the time both kids are asleep I feel like I barely have the energy to have a conversation, never mind a conversation about parenting philosophies.  Many nights all I want to do is melt into the couch, turn the television on and my brain off and be absorbed into someone else's story.

Sometimes when it's going on a hour of nursing/rocking/nursing Sprout to sleep, I envy Jen in the room beside us reading stories to The Bean, though the rational part of my brain knows that it's not easy for her either.  Nearly everything these days seems to be a negotiation with him.

I get jealous that Jen gets to go to work and talk to adults, have a lunch break that's actually a break , and can go to the washroom by herself and/or not worry that she'll wake someone up by flushing the toilet.  In these moments I overlook the fact that she is working eight hours a day to support us, on top parenting and partnering at home.  She deserves a kiss or a back rub, heck, probably both.  But it's hard to find the time to give her recognition and attention when I feel like I've been giving all day.

Even though I am worn out physically, mentally and often emotionally, I know I'm going to miss these days.

I have this photo that I took nearly six months ago.  It's the shadow me and Sprout cast on the blind in our bedroom as I was rocking her to sleep.  I would stare at that same shadow for hours every day.  Her funny little sideways mohawk would bounce as I rocked her.  She had to be upright, because her reflux meant she'd fuss when lying horizontally.  I took the photo because I knew it was one of those things I would likely forget, even though at the time that seemed like something that would never change. 

Sometimes I daydream about having an entire day to  myself.  A day where I might not ever get out of bed.  A day where I hold a complete conversation without being interrupted by a two and a half year old.  A day where I don't have to do dishes or laundry or straighten up the same toys at least four times.  A day where I don't have to think about feeding other people or getting them to sleep.  

But as much as I daydream, I know if I were to get that day my bones would ache with missing my children.
Every day has moments that I treasure.  Snuggles and hugs.  Sprout giggling at her brother's antics.  Then Bean coming in to give his little sister a kiss goodnight and asking to stay and read her a bedtime story.  Jen holding my hand when we're walking the kids to the park.  Sometimes I stop and think: THIS.  This is what I dreamed about.

I need remind myself how quickly these days are passing and how precious these moments are.  


  1. Don't feel guilty for feeling this way. We all do, from time to time. I've been feeling quite a bit like this for quite a while now even though our kids are older. I also have been catching myself daydreaming about being somewhere else ALONE. It happens. It doesn't mean there aren't amazing moments or that we don't realize how wonderful our lives are. But we are also working hard and we are exhausted and need a break. Hang in there and I'll try to do the same. :)

  2. This is beautiful. And honest.

    I think the saddest part is that we all feel we need to apologize for our frustration and exhaustion - to pad it in "I swear I love my kids" and "I'm going to miss this." I feel the same when when I write (or talk, or think) about how exhausting parenting is. But when you are giving and giving and giving all day long, it IS exhausting. And there is no need to apologize for that. Or for jealousy over another's ability to go away for a while, to deal with someone else's needs, and to not have think through every minute decision about the tiny people you have been charged with.

    And you wanna know what? I already miss a lot of things about infancy, but there are some things I don't miss. Bedtime frustration is a big one. And it's OK to not want to have your child CIO and also acknowledge that it sucks to spend an hour trying to get her to sleep. Really.

    Anyway... I hope you know that you are doing an amazing job with your incredible children and that your feelings are so very much felt by so many people, and that you do not have to apologize for them.


  3. Thank you for sharing!
    I met the father of the kids I babysat as a teenager on Saturday. The older girl ist 19 now and off to college. The other one is 17 and has been on a week's field trip in Turkey. He told me that I probably couldn't imagine right now but that it's real hard for them, when both girls aren't home. It's so quiet. :-)
    xo from Germany to you!

  4. Oh gosh, I think every mother has her moments/days like this. I know I sure do. Sometimes it takes everything in me to even stay awake once I put Evelyn to bed. I tell myself that these hours between her bedtime and mine are the ONLY hours I have for "alone" time and decompressing, and I don't want to sleep that away (even though I'm knackered!).

    It's so hard to give, give, give all day to a little person (or, people in your case) and have anything left at the end of the day. I remind myself that everything is temporary, like you mentioned above. But sometimes that doesn't do much for making me feel better in the moment.

    So, here's to daydreaming about having a day off to do nothing childcare related. Even though we'd miss our kids, it would feel SO GOOD. You're not alone!

  5. OMG, I could have written this post myself! As much as I wouldn't trade my babies for the world, it is exhausting and hard work. You are so right as well when you talk about the fact that someday we will miss these days! Hang in there!

  6. We have all been here honey and it is totally ok to feel the way you do. Raising babes is not for the faint of heart. Exhausted or not, you are an awesome mom!

  7. I've felt something similar many many times recently. I adore my girls but they are exhausting, frustrating and challenging. Admitting that things are tough doesn't mean that you aren't grateful for what you have. I'm working very hard on not feeling guilty too :)

  8. Hell, I don't even have kids, and the stories I read from my many friends with young children leave me EXHAUSTED. I don't think you're ungrateful for a second! I think you're doing a super job, you're allowed to be tired, complain, take a break, and be a human! Remember that your children will watch YOU deal with frustration and learn how to later deal with it themselves. It's good for them to see you use healthy coping mechanisms, even if THEY are the cause of the frustration!

  9. I agree with others. I have felt like that many times and last month I felt it a lot. I honestly think the change in weather/sun doesn't help either. Just wanted to say you are not alone.

  10. This is normal. It is also normal when you are ... over 65... that you will miss this time even with all the frustration and tiredness. What I really hear is that you are savoring the joys ... while staying in reality. Wonderful achievement and fabulous role modeling.

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  12. I'm happy to hear you're feeling better about things in general. From what I've been told this is a phase being a parent of two that you need to get through. People keep saying it is worth it.

  13. Oh what a complex thing it is to have 2 children! Corey and I are in just this sort of divide and conquer place. It's so hard. Our kids are just so young. I feel like you really talked about an experience I've been struggling through for 18 months. But it's starting to get better! I hope things start to ease up for you, and that you can soon flush with abandon.