30 Dec
Posted in: parenting
By    Comments Off on Making Peace With Exhaustion in 2015

Making Peace With Exhaustion in 2015

I’m exhausted, always. It really never matters how much sleep I’ve managed to enjoy. During a recent doctor’s appointment for me, the doctor asked if I thought I was more tired than normal. The thing is, I can’t actually remember not being a little tired. After chatting about my level of tiredness, I realized I’m not physically tired (well, sometimes), I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted, which rolls over to every other part of life.

The thing about parenting that wears me down is the vigilance required for the job. Something always requires my awareness, if just for a fleeting moment. I don’t remind the boys to take library books back to school. That’s their job, but I still remember it’s their library day and wonder if they have books. The same goes for numerous other items: lunches, gym clothes, musical instruments, homework.

four children wearing Santa hats standing in front of a church

I remember how tiring chasing after toddlers was years ago. I was primarily wary of danger. Now my vigilance is different. I’m forever waiting for that moment my tween feels like openly talking about life. I have to watch for the signs. Same thing for our fourth grader who saves his words for what’s important. I have to be ready for those bursts of sharing. I’m on alert for friend’s names to be dropped and remember those in the context of eating lunch with, playing sports with, in which class, etc. Not keeping names straight means the chance for a sigh from my tween, or possibly even the dreaded eye roll.

Likes and dislikes change seemingly all the time. One meal asparagus is the “in” food. The next it’s not. One breakfast only peach yogurt is wanted, then it’s plain vanilla. Pink is the best. No, it’s blue. Black is the only color of t-shirt worn, and then it’s green. I vigilantly file away the changes in the children to stay up-to-date with who they are. It’s exhausting.

I wonder if we’ve talked enough about drugs, alcohol, human nature, and human bodies. I drive myself bonkers keeping track of the myriad of ways I’ve thoroughly messed up this parenting job, multiplied by four. The vigilance is unrelenting and automatic. No wonder I’m tired. It’s no surprise I can’t remember the last time I genuinely said, “I am so rested today.”

But….even on the longest of days when I sit in the peaceful, late-night hours, I know I wouldn’t change any of the effort, the fatigue, or the endless thoughts about people other than myself. This year, like each year before, has been full of change. This new year will be no different. I don’t want to get caught in over-analyzing 2014 with its goodness and missteps. I’m capable of allowing myself to drown in reflection. Instead, I choose to give a nod to this year for its grace and lessons. Here’s to 2015 and 365 days of life and all it holds.


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