Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'm going to be ok, I'm just going to be tired

If I were going to guess what the number one hardest thing for new mothers is I would go with sleep loss. But that's just my guess.

I can confidently say that that was the hardest part about it all for me. I mean, there were plenty of other extremely trying things and things that confused, bewildered and frustrated me, but nothing that straight-up turned me into another person (and a bad one that I didn't like) quite like losing sleep.

Fast forward 5 years after the shock of new-motherdom and I would still say that the fatigue element is the hardest element. Of course I pen this after a night of constant bladder kicks from the gestating male, a 3-year-old who is capable of mid-night potty trips on her own but who insists on running in at 2 a.m. just to wake me up and let me know that they will be going (and demanding that I go with her), and the teething toddler screaming from her crib at ungodly early hours. It's no good when nights look like that, and they do oh so often.

The big difference between myself 5 years ago as a new mom and myself now is.... almost nothing.
I still freak out about being overly tired. I still wake up absolutely sure that I WILL NOT make it through the day and I still make sure to divulge every detail of the night to Mike in my most gruff tone the second he emerges bright and early at 7.
^^ coping with sun and next to no movement
I do think, however, that I am inching along the path to eventual motherly maturity (if I continue at this rate, I should reach it's flourishing point some time after I die). Regardless, the one thing that I think I am learning about living life while half asleep -and while constantly wishing that I could just be sleeping- is that: it is ok.

I was talking to myself in the mirror today (because it's normal and you know you do it too). I was trying to plan out the rest of the day and deliver some sort of motivation to myself through positive self talk and just as I was about to give up on my own motivational speech out of total discouragement over the fact that there just wasn't any energy present to do the things I need to do, these words came out:

I'm going to be ok. I'm just going to be tired.

Saying it just made it better. The words themselves highlighted for me how ridiculous it is that simply being tired feels like such a crushing thing. Whenever Mike sees me on a day like today and asks if there is anything wrong, my standard reply of "I'm just so tired" always feels like the dumbest response, because, really? Do I even know what real fatigue is? I'm talking normal, pregnant, mother of small children fatigue, no sicknesses, no extreme circumstances are in play. And I am showcasing it that much that he even needs to ask if something is wrong? When the words come out and they just sound so trivial, so not a big deal. It's ok. It's sleep loss, it's not a terminal illness or a major life crisis. It's fatigue and not even fatigue at anything close to its worst.

It may be as simple for me as switching the emphasis in the complaint (never NOT complaining, ha!) from "I'm just so tired" to "I'm just tired". Taking out the "so" and emphasizing the "just" seems much more fitting and hopefully could help with the general change in perspective on my part. I am going to be tired, probably (hopefully!) for many, many more years of child bearing and rearing (God willing), but I am going to be OK. This is a reality that it just now sinking in (go ahead and laugh, it's ok).

Right about now you might be thinking that this is the most pointless blog post you've ever read, and that may be true, but it sure felt ground breaking for me.
2nd Coffee smoothie of the day. Bottoms up!


  1. Oh my gosh thank you so much for this post. I think sleep deprivation is one of the hardest things about being a mom. There are so many times during the week that I just don't know how I am going to get things done and that thought can be overwhelming. But owning the exhaustion may help take away some of its debilitating effects. Just maybe.

  2. IT's rough to lose sleep! But you are just around the corner from the awesomeness that is older child taking care of everyone in the morning so you can catch a few extra winks of sleep. Our 7 year old thinks it's fun to play mommy. She'll pull the youngest out of the crib and then make a gourmet breakfast of water and granola bars, and then read stories to the other two for a while. Hang in there!!

  3. Ana this is so timely and so true. I always want to snarl at my mother when she sing-songingly tells me "you'll only feel this way for the next 30 years!" ... but it's true. And the sooner we can own it, the less hideous the 3-6 pm slot will be. Right? Right?

  4. Ah, I just published a post about being so tired! You are way ahead of me in the stages of grief. I still think there is surely a way to get more sleep. Must read all the baby sleep books. All if them. One day I will move on to acceptance. God willing.

  5. You know what though Ana, I think being tired IS kind of a crushing thing. We aren't just tired on the random Tuesday, it's most morning for months in a row. I need to work (big big time) on my outlook on fatigue as well, because in a huge baby about it. And being a baby while dealing with babies is probably less than ideal. But for what it's worth, I totally get this post. Thank you.

  6. This is just wonderful. "I'm going to be OK. I'm just going to be tired." That should be the new mantra for mothers of young children everywhere. I'm using it.

  7. Sleep was the key for me, too. And not getting it was the worst thing I could imagine. Having a husband who can function just fine on 4 or 5 hours for days at a time didn't help either!! My youngest is 9 and I still feel like I'm "catching up"!

  8. Neither pointless nor laughable--really it's just as you describe it. A necessary revelation that will make the rest of your life manageable. I always tell myself, "Everyone's tired. But not everyone's tired because of parenthood." If i was still teaching i'd be tired because of all the teaching and grading. And apparently the capital i doesn't work anymore on my keyboard. Typical.

  9. Thank you, this is so helpful to me. I have 3 little ones like you, and I always feel like I should be out of survival mode by now. For me, being tired makes me depressed and self-conscious. With it being so hard to "accomplish" anything, other than you know, care for 3 beautiful souls, I end up feeling like everyone else but me has it together. It's so hard. My fear is that if I let my fatigue debilitate me, my children won't see how much joy they actually do bring me. Thank you for this perspective...with "I'm just tired," I can be tired and joyful instead of tired and grumpy (hopefully most days!)

  10. Nope seriously one of the best posts I have ever read! I think we all need to tell ourselves this-a lot!! Thanks for the reminder! I am praying for you!! :)

  11. Yes! Hands down that is definitely the hardest part! As my pregnancy came close to an end this time, that was the main thing I was worried about. I'm definitely going to try that attitude adjustment of changing the emphasis in my complaining (because I too can't seem to give it up all together!)

    <3 Jamie