Do you like coffee? Man … I love it. I love the smell, the warmth, the energy it gives me. Nothing says “I love you” like my husband bringing me a cup of coffee in the morning. I have read The 5 Love Languages and I came away from it fairly certain that caffeine is my love language.
I never thought I’d find myself too tired to make coffee, but one morning this week I really was. At 6:30 a.m. I was staring at the ceiling trying to muster up the will to stand. I ended up flinging my arm onto my husband’s stomach until he made a sound that was a cross between a waking-up grunt and a cry of pain, and when I was certain he was fully awake I asked him to make me a cup.
Actually, I said “I feel like I’m glued to the bed,” and a few minutes later while HE was staring at the ceiling trying to muster up the will to stand, he said “I feel like I’m glued to the bed,” and then I got mad at him because I REALLY DID FEEL GLUED DOWN and he totally stole my line.
We really make quite the pair.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my tiredness level because it occurred to me that I’m the fun-killer in our house. I’m worn out, you see, and everywhere I turn there is another mountain of laundry or another mess. This is to be expected in a family of five, I know. But just ONCE, I’d like to be the one whooping it up with the kids, while Robbie nags us about the noise level or the mess. Just once, I’d like to not be the one who has to remember important appointments, make to-do lists or worry about what the kids will eat for dinner.
I’d like for someone else to be the one who says, “The baby needs a bib,” “You’re too close to the electric fireplace,” or, “I’m going to fold laundry.”
I want to take a break from reminding my husband to dry his hands on the kitchen towel instead of using paper towels, because when we run out of those I will ultimately be the one who has to buy more … with three kids in tow.
Somewhere along the way, I became this exhausted annihilator of glee that I don’t even recognize. Childbearing and home managing has done something to me — something wrinkly. It’s not fair because deep down I’m a fun person! I am! Really! I simply get tired of being responsible. I get tired of feeding people. Sometimes — shhh, don’t tell — I even get tired of showering. I think it’s because I am responsible for bathing three other people in addition to myself, and then my husband comes home and makes a joke about me giving him a sponge bath, and wonders why I don’t laugh at his jokes anymore. IT’S BECAUSE THAT IS SO NOT FUNNY.
This is the not-fun part of motherhood — the tiredness.
On Father’s Day, I tried to rally because it was my husband’s special day, but all I wanted to do was take a nap. That evening, I got down on my hands and knees to clean up a spill under our kitchen table … and I seriously considered lying face down, right there on the kitchen floor. How long would it take them to find me? As I considered this, the baby came crawling over with an ecstatic look on her face.
“MAMA!“ she said, so happy to have made the discovery of her mother, who was now lying face-down on the kitchen floor. I made a conscious decision not to think about the water I still hadn’t sopped up, or the dirty dishes still sitting on the table above us. I allowed myself to be still for a few moments and ignore all the things that were still undone, and I took the time to look at my daughter. Really, truly, look at her.
Sometimes I feel like I go long periods of time without really seeing my family — taking the time to study them, relish them. I’m always too busy killing fun or wandering around in a zombie-like state, and they’re always moving so fast … a blur of arms and legs, never sitting still long enough for me to see them clearly. So I looked at her closely, soaking in her delight, listening to her babble and watching her smack the tile floor with her hands.
God, I was tired.
But I wasn’t tired because I’d been out all night with my friends. I wasn’t tired because I’d been studying for an exam, or working late at an office job I hated. I was tired because when you have a house full of people, they leave a lot of crumbs on the floor. There are a lot of fingernails to clip. You’re needed a lot more. And you are loved so much that all they want to do is hug you, touch you, and soak you up. Taking the time to consider the source of my tiredness helped me to see that I’m actually more blessed than exhausted.
And so I got my butt up, because that’s what mothers do when they would rather lie flat on the floor, but instead of returning to cleaning the kitchen I picked up the baby and went to see that the rest of my family was doing.
They were wrestling. It looked dangerous, but they were all laughing.
And this time, I didn’t say a word.