It’s 7:45 pm on a Friday evening. I have just put my kids to bed, but not without my toddler throwing not one, but three monstrous tantrums over who knows what. My dogs have been in their crates most of the day and I am feeling guilty about that but have to get the kids to bed before I can pay some attention to them. Did I mention my toddler also emptied every bin of toys up in the loft before bed? I finally sit down for the first time since my prep period at work today, and I am spent. Literally exhausted. Not just tired but the physically and mentally drained kind of tired where you can’t even think straight. As I sit here, I know that there are at least 4 loads of laundry that I could be doing, the dishes in the sink need to go in the dishwasher, and the kitchen looks like a land mine exploded, the aftermath of trying to feed two toddlers and myself at the same time.
Friends, I am talking about feeling the pure exhaustion that is motherhood. And right now, I am the one keeping the ship running because my husband is a high school football coach, and we are smack dab in the middle of the season. For me, one of the hardest parts is trying to maintain my sanity and also keep everything running smoothly. I am quickly learning that is not an easy feat. Chances are when my husband rolls home tonight around midnight, he’ll want to snuggle and (this probably sounds awful but,) that is the last thing I want to think of doing at that point in my evening. But if I push him away or ignore his sweet advances, he takes offense to it. Men just don’t seem to fully understand the mental and physical load that is motherhood. Don’t get me wrong; my husband is a fabulous father and partner. We make a great team, but when it comes to parenting, as much as we try to keep the playing field equal, it never ends up that way. Even if it weren’t football season, much of the parenting duties would fall on me.
So what do we do when us moms have run out of steam? What happens when we are at our maximum capacity, and there isn’t really a relief in sight? We power through. We suck it up. We fight through sickness and exhaustion and grumpiness to make sure that everyone else’s needs are met. I am fully aware that this is not a healthy mentality. But on some days, it’s my reality, and I just have to keep paddling, so the ship doesn’t sink. It’s not even about being appreciated or understood; it is just the reality that is motherhood that is utterly draining on all areas of our well being. My brain never entirely shuts off, as I’m always thinking ahead to the next doctor’s appointment, who needs what when and so on. Not to mention, the think-on-your-feet problem-solving skills that come into play when you have a sick kiddo or a last-minute emergency (hello, daycare is closed…what??)
There are plenty of days that my tank is completely and totally drained, and I just keep on puttering along. On those days, I feel my patience wearing thin and I can tell that I am not being the best mom or wife I can be. But at that moment, that’s the best I can do and I am learning to be okay with that. I do my best to take some mental health days and ask for help from friends and family when needed, but it’s not always easy and I need to get better. But then, there are those days that fill my heart up so much, it feels like it might burst, like a few months ago when my almost two-year-old son said “I love you” for the first time. I guess in my mind, those heart-bursting days must drown out the empty tank days because I’m still here, trudging along in the depths of the wildest but most rewarding job in the world. If your tank is empty or feeling the weight of motherhood, hang in there! You’ve got this and look for the silver lining, even on the toughest days. Cheers to you, mamas!!