I’m a mom and I’m feeling tired.
Quickly realizing, after having kids, telling people you’re tired is redundant. Moms with kids get it, and women without kids just don’t. I no longer tell people I’m feeling tired because it’s fruitless. Of course I am feeling tired. I have a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old. They’re in constant motion. One still nurses during the night and the other crawls into bed with me every night around 3am. I sleep in whatever space is open so I don’t wake them. Lack of sleep is bound to leave even the most super-human of moms feeling tired. (Although I don’t think of myself as super-human by any means.)
Today though, I felt myself melting down. After a wonderful early morning of snuggles, breakfast, and outside time, I lost it. While trying to unload the dishwasher, my 1-year-old would not leave the knives, spoons, or dishwasher door alone. My 2-year-old wouldn’t stay off the counter. I pleasantly moved the barstools back to the island countless times, using my nicest mom voice to re-direct him, with no success.
Then, out of nowhere, I was actually melting down.
I opened the door the to the porch and this tired mom threw all four of our barstools out of the kitchen. The boys stood there, mouths open in disbelief. Then, the loud, shrieking, ear piercing cries that only moms of toddlers can relate to, and moms of older children may have a PTSD-like response from. There was nothing I could do to make it stop. I felt like I was in a movie and there were special effects showing me spiraling downward into a dark place while my inner monolog asked, “Did I really just throw our barstools out of the house?!”
I managed to get lunch in the oven by turning on a favorite Netflix show and plugging both kids with pacifiers while practicing deep breathing exercises. The three of us sat peacefully at the dining room table eating lunch together, and it was almost as if the past half hour never happened. That is, until it was time for us to transition from lunch to Grammy’s house so I could go to work. It was if I was asking them to board the sinking Titanic. Their shrieks are what nightmares are made of.
To make matters worse, while loading both kids into their car seats, I was bombarded with the sight of the inside of my car. It currently resembles a trash receptacle. The napkins, toys, socks, sippy cups, and shoes with no mate. Nothing like a dirty car to remind me how I have no time to do anything other than to keep my adorable tiny dictators alive.
A steady balance between sanity and chucking barstools out of the house. I’m the captain of the ship, the head of household, and I’m responsible. Some days, I want to curl up in my bed and throw the covers over my head. Other days, I want to shout my happiness from my front door. Every day, I’m one of many tired moms.
As vulnerable as it feels to express how bad my bad days really are, I wish more moms could open up about their tears over spilled milk, and frustration over playrooms destroyed by a bored toddler. I’m not ashamed that I threw the barstools out of the house, or that I loudly asked my toddlers to go play with any one of the 3,000 toys in the house instead of begging to rearrange the contents of our pantry. I know that I am a good mom.
Instead of harboring guilty and frustrated feelings inside and pushing them to a crevice where they could fester, I asked for help. I called my partner on the way to Grammy’s and told him, “I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I had a meltdown.” I named the problems, and I owned them. I don’t feel bad for not being able to “do it all.” I am not a superhero. There are some days when I feel like I could give parenting classes and there are days when I wonder why there are two little people calling me Mom.
Life is not simple. There is no rule book or map.
We plan, and plan, and plan and then throw the plan out the window while traveling down the interstate. Life is a balancing act. Some are better at faking it until they make it, but I have resolved to stop faking it. Moms, let somebody know you’re feeling tired, reach out and ask for help. Sack out on the couch during nap time. Go for a walk, away from your house, without your kids. Or, as recently seen by millions, lock yourself in a closet with Twizzlers.