Before becoming a mom I was one of those people who didn’t get tired. Even late at night I struggled to fall asleep. People would talk about being tired, and I always wondered what that meant exactly, what it felt like.
Last night I put up this tweet:
— Levi’s mom (@lifew_levi) August 3, 2016
Like I just seriously could do nothing more than drag a pint of ice cream out of the freezer (that’s right, I couldn’t even manage to scoop a portion of it into a bowl…) and plant my ass on the couch in front of Jeopardy. Jeopardy represents all kinds of things for me: a show I liked to watch with my parents when I was younger; a show that Dawn and I used to watch during our pre-baby winters, while we did things like eat dinner (uninterrupted) and crochet (!?); an escape during the early days of baby being here — I would breastfeed and watch Jeopardy while Dawn rubbed my feet (or at the very least took off my socks for me. (I had this weird thing when I was first breastfeeding where I couldn’t stand having socks on in the evenings)). Anyway, the point being that once Levi got a bit older and more active, Jeopardy left my life. Generally, I am just getting out of his room at 7:30 (the time the show comes on) and have a house to tidy, diapers to clean, and so on.
Okay, so moms are tired. Moms get tired. This we know. I am no exception. The other thing I bet all moms do is beat themselves up when they’re tired and just cannot keep going. I know I do. For example, take the night I watched Jeopardy with a pint of Three Twins Ice Cream in hand. The two nights before, I had come down the stairs from bedtime, refused to succumb to my phone and social media (as I had been doing the previous week), and stuck to my evening routine of cleaning up, doing yoga, writing, getting to bed at a reasonable time. Still when I deviate into what I deem more negative evening behaviors (e.g. TV, social media, ice cream) I spend more time panicking and punishing myself than I do actually enjoying the “deviant” behaviors! The “shoulds” and “should nots” crowd in. And the big, overarching thought is that this is it, this is who I have become: a lazy mom who isn’t productive.
I do feel often as though in order to maintain the kind of order and cleanliness in the house that I find tolerable (not even great, just tolerable), I cannot really afford to take any evenings “off.” Doing so creates a snowball effect where the laundry that didn’t get put away that evening intermingles with laundry coming up from the basement the next evening, and then I have spent so much time on laundry that I never get around to x, y, or z that, and so on….
So here is the thing I need to keep reminding myself: It will all get done. (Even though I flat-out do not believe this little mantra, I also know it’s true. What a paradox there!). An evening off, or even a week of evenings that don’t adhere strictly to my evening routine, will not ruin me, will not bring the household to screeching halt. Indeed, the house will one day be clean (enough) again. Energy will return. Yes, this one is key: Energy will return. The other little bout of panic that I enter into during these “lazy” periods is that I will never again have energy. I get in such a funk and so frustrated. I need to remind myself to listen to my body. If it is tired. It’s just plain tired. Nothing wrong with that. (Even if I don’t believe this; I know it to be true). It’s something every mama knows.