Sunday, July 12, 2009

So THAT'S Why I'm So Tired!

My cousin's wife, Crystal, posted this article on Facebook. It's a "Dear Abby" kind of letter. All Crystal had was a photo of it, and I know it's kind of hard to read. I couldn't find an actual link or anything. BUT, it was good enough that I thought I'd type it up so that you can see it good enough to read it..."Dear Carolyn: Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): What'd you do today? Her: Park, Playgroup...

OK. I've talked to parents and I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please, no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners... I do all those things, too. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or email? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events); I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy, but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a contest ("my life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids, and all us child-free folks have the same question. --Tacoma, Wash.

Dear Tacoma: Relax and enjoy. You're funny.

Or, you're lying about having friends with kids.

Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.

I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom-friends are either lying or competing with you is disingenuous indeed.

So, because it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, cleaned, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms, carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving the books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired, or bored, any one of which produces checkout line screaming.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.

It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.

It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends. It's resisting constant temptaion to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.

It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first ten minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you, or marvel at how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a good effort to understand or keep your snit to yourself."

I guess that is what I do all day everyday, times three. No wonder I'm tired...

4 comments:

A Blessed Wife and Mom said...

A-MEN.

Lee and Michelle said...

You can tell the writer is really a mom! I like the comment 'trying to resist constant temptation to seek short term relief at everyone's long term expense' That is a big stuggle of mine from my waste line/chocolate) to the guilty pleasure of reading a magazine.

Rachel said...

Michelle, I agree with that statement being a "biggie" for me. Only, in addition to your comments, I took it to mean short term relief in the form of giving in to a tantrum or putting up with disrespect instead of taking the harder/longer route of teaching the discipline/politeness/respect that is needed...

Amanda Brooke Kilgore said...

I soooo enjoyed reading this article. Thanks for taking the time to type it up for us! It was refreshing and comforting to read. I'm thinking of framing it and putting it near my sink in the bathroom so I can read over it on those "hard" days for strength. I often feel guilty for not picking up the phone, doing a load of laundry, unloading the dishwasher, or checking the mail in one of my short quiet times. I feel like I waste so much time in those quiet moments, but then once the day fianlly rolls to an end, I look back on those "selfish" moments and end up being thankful I used them for ME! I've got to stay sane somehow... And I have to trust that my friends will understand that. Luckily for me, all my friends do have young children, so I know they totally get it.