May 8, 2014

I Am Mom, Hear Me Snore

I am tired.

I say this way too frequently for someone who is in half-decent shape and still climbing the climb this side of "over the hill."  (Which, incidentally, as a child I used to think was 40, but now that I'm 40 I'm not sure where the hill crests, but I'm pretty sure I haven't reached it yet.)

And I'm not saying that it's not entirely true. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) I am actually tired in whatever varying degree. The best illustration of that point is that I should be in bed right now. I feel like there just isn't enough time in the day, so if something needs to be done (after work and family time and dinner and whatever extracurricular activity we have scheduled on any given night and laying with the toddler for an hour waiting for her to fall asleep and paying bills or whatever is on my agenda after said toddler actually falls asleep) what gets sacrificed is MY sleep.

But at what point can I reasonably expect my kids not feel like it is at their expense? It's not a choice I am making--to use this as an intentional excuse--but it's something that has been weighing on me lately.  It is such an easy fallback that it is definitely overused. And it's a terrible catch-all for everything:  I'm upset. I'm frustrated. I'm scared. I'm overwhelmed. I'm angry. I'm miserable.
It hides a multitude of "sins."

I don't think any of us have it easy. We've all seen the World's Toughest Job interviews, but if I'm acting like The Geel without a nap and throw in a serious yawn, it can handily mask the next few minutes of yelling at the kids for whatever minor thing that got my hackles up.

And when it is even just a little bit true, it exacerbates anything else that is gnawing at you. Angry at your boss? Stressed about that late car payment? Frustrated over your kid's messy room? Upset about a falling out with a friend? Sprinkle a little "tired" on any of that and your molehill just turned into a mountain. And it's all too easy to throw a blanket of tired over it all and call it okay.

We tell toddlers to use their words when they are frustrated, screaming, and having trouble communicating what it is they want.  As a writer, I have no excuse for not mining my brain for the right word. As a mom, I have an obligation to my kids to mine my heart for the right feeling. I don't want them to feel like they are what is being sacrificed in my exhaustion/frustration/anger/misery.

What I need to be is more self-aware and less inclined to fall into the "tired-trap."
So right now what I'm feeling is guilty. And just a little tired.

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