Dear Google Searcher: Today you landed on this page because you searched “too tired to be a good mother.” If you are searching terms like this in what little spare time you have, it tells me one thing… you are probably exhausted.
I have been there. Oh I have been there.
I know what it’s like to lie down in bed and have the infant child wake up as soon as you have a split second to breathe. I know at that moment you would rather do anything than get back up out of that bed for the 3rd time that night. I know the feelings of anger and frustration, and sheer desperation, when you think that you just can’t nurse or rock that child one more time without losing sanity completely. But in those moments, I got up out of bed and rocked and nursed my baby back to sleep…again…while praying for grace, strength, and hoping that he would stay asleep this time. Because I’m a good mother, and so are you.
I know what it’s like to be so tired and exhausted that you can’t think straight, and the thoughts that you think terrify you. I surely didn’t feel like a good mother when I, for the briefest of insane moment, considered abandoning my son in the middle of an upscale mall so I could run away and go sleep. But, of course, I didn’t. Because I’m a good mother, and so are you.
I know what it’s like to drag yourself out of bed at 5:30 am (for the 40th morning in a row) to attend to your two-year-old who is crying for you. I know how it feels to stumble into the living room, fumble with the TV (cringing with guilt because you already know how much TV this child will be watching today), unwrap a banana, and hide under a blanket while trying to muffle the sounds of Thomas the Tank Engine so you can get maybe a few more minutes of sleep. I know how hard it is to put a smile on your face when you greet that perky face before the sun wakes up. But I did. Because I’m a good mother, and so are you.
I know what it’s like to put your toddler in the playyard, put Little Einsteins on repeat, and go to the bedroom to sleep for two hours in the middle of the day, because your choice was either to limit the TV and be a “good mother” or get some sleep and be a sane one.
I know what it’s like to mother while having a condition that makes you chronically tired. To mother when your husband is gone for a year and you are left at home with the infant that refuses to sleep through the night that entire year. I know what it’s like to think to yourself, day in and day out,“If I could only get a little more sleep, then I would be a better mother. Then I wouldn’t yell at my child. Then he wouldn’t have to eat Spaghettios because I’m too tired to cook. Then he wouldn’t have to watch so much TV…”
I have been there so. many. times.
(And even though he’s 2 1/2, I still am many days…)
I can’t promise you that you will ever not feel tired again. But the tired changes. It goes in phases. There’s the infant-is-up-every-hour-to-nurse tired…the infant-is-sick-and-teething-and-screaming-all-night-long tired…the chasing-after-the-toddler-all-day-long-tired…the dealing-with-terrible-two-tantrums-all-day-long tired. Each one is hard in it’s own right. And each one is different to deal with. But each is a phase.
I promise you that your baby will sleep through the night… eventually. It might take two or three years. (Trust me, I know.) They will finally cut that last set of molars that wakes them up in the middle of the night for weeks on end. They will eventually stop staying up til midnight…finally stop waking up at 5:30 in the morning. They will eventually stop nursing.
It might take several years, but eventually, you will look back and then see how far you’ve come and think, “Naw, this isn’t so bad now.”
This isn’t one of those “oh kids grow up so fast, so treasure every moment while you can!” posts. Those don’t do anything for tired mommas but to make them feel more like crap.
No. This is the post that says, “Hang in there momma…you’re doing great. You are a good mom, even when you are too tired to see it!”
I know that you feel guilty about the hours of TV, the extra naps, the junk food dinners, the extra lattes. I know you feel guilty about being too tired for sex, snapping at your husband, and yelling at your kids. I know you wish you had more energy to do things like taking showers and wearing makeup or going to the gym.
But “good” motherhood isn’t measured in the hours that your children don’t watch TV and how much money you spend on organic food. It’s not measured in how many showers you take or how many times a week you make it to the gym.
“Good” motherhood is immeasurable. I said it before, I’ll say it again:
“Good” mothers are the ones that worry about being good mothers.
“Good” mothers know that hugs and kisses and bedtime stories (even when you are yawning the whole time you are reading them) are more important than the external things like too much TV with breakfast and Spaghettios for dinner. “Good” mothers may yell and snap, but they always say “I’m sorry” and give a hug afterwards.
So take heart tired momma. You will make it through these exhausting days. And you will be stronger for them. You are a good mother. You only need to look into the eyes of your children and believe it.
More resources for tired moms:
Hope for the Weary Mom: http://www.hopeforthewearymom.com/
Dear Mom Letters at Finding Joy: