18 Feb Exhaustion and Selflessness: Symptoms of Motherhood
The other day, I was talking to my very pregnant friend. She was telling me that if she hears the words, “Sleep now while you can, cause once you have kids, you’ll never sleep again” uttered by one more parent wanting to offer her advice, she was going to scream. I totally understood where she was coming from. I remember before having my son, getting that same warning time and time again.
Usually these words of caution were sprinkled with a bit of bitterness and a pinch of envy from my sleep deprived parent-friends. I recall their jealous glances when I would talk about my lazy weekends, sleeping in until 11am. Or their puzzled looks when I would complain about how tired I was. I made a vow that when I became a parent I would never shame my childless friends about their unlimited sleep privileges or their ability to bask in their freedom.
Lately, I have found myself thinking about the pre-mommy days.
When life was easy. When it was just my husband and I. When there was significantly less chaos. When there was definitely less stress and practically zero guilt. I have to be honest, in retrospect, it felt good to be selfish and self-centered. Those feelings are a foreign concept to me now. That selfishness and indulgence have now been replaced by selflessness and that life that I so vividly remember feels like forever ago….
These days, I am constantly exhausted. No matter how much sleep I get, it never feels like enough.
My husband and I tried to devise the clever plan of taking turns “sleeping in” on the weekends (let’s be honest, sleeping-in for parents is like 8am). Although it’s a wonderful concept in theory, it usually never works for one reason or another. And then there’s my son…this little human being that I am responsible for who occupies and dominates practically all of my thoughts and decisions. It is so consuming and emotionally taxing.
I know it may seem like I’m complaining. And maybe I am, to a certain extent. I am very aware of the fact that I CHOSE this life, I desperately wanted to be a mother. And I knew it would be hard and exhausting and frustrating and all that stuff. I just didn’t know it would be THIS hard.
I felt little pangs of guilt while writing this blog as I explored and accepted my longing for simpler days.
But I realized that just because I have these thoughts does not negate the insane love and passion I have for my son, my family and my life as a mom and wife. And the truth is, despite this relentless physical and emotional fatigue that comes hand and hand with motherhood, a smile, a kiss or a hug from my amazing boy can jolt me back into reality and allow me to see how truly lucky I am.
So to my very pregnant friend and any other expectant mothers out there…I swear to you from the depths of my soul… It’s all worth it.
And although sleep and freedom and indulgence are nice, they’re nothing compared to the unique love you will feel for your child and the fulfillment you will experience as a mother.