Sunday Confessions: Exhaustion



Sometimes Hot Ash over at the ever-awesome More Than Cheese And Beer throws a topic at me for Sunday Confessions that I have no clue how to even begin to cover. But this time, when I was informed the cue was “Exhaust, exhausted, exhausting….” Pffft. I got this in the bag.
My name is Tonia and I am the mother of 6 young boys. That’s right 6. Boys. The words you’re looking for are “Holy” and “Crap.”
Any parent knows exhaustion though. I can’t play all high and mighty and say “Oh look at me, I win the MOST exhausted mother of the year award!” Because frankly I don’t. I mean, sure, maybe somedays I do. Somedays I swear my kids have this plan set into motion to make Mommy go batshit crazy. One wakes up with a nightmare, and just as I calm him down another wakes up needing a drink and as soon as he settles, another wakes up for no damn reason at all. I’ve done those days where I run more on fumes than anything, when there just isn’t enough coffee in the known universe to make it any easier. I’ve had colicky infants. I’ve dealt with night terrors and bed wetting and monsters in closets.
And I know I’m not alone. I have friends who have kids on the autistic spectrum who need almost no sleep. These mothers and fathers walk through days clutching energy drinks with bleary, glossed-over eyes, desperate for some magic solution. They try meds, they try melatonin, they try lavender and calms forte and herbal tea and warm milk with honey and nightlights with lullabies…..Because the entire world loses its edge when you havent slept a normal night of sleep in 5 years. Or 10. Or more.
I know mothers with newborns babies who confuse nights with days and stay up until the sun begins to rise. I know parents who have colicky infants and who know nothing but long dark lonely nights of screaming babies and helplessness.
There are parents who stay awake all night watching sleeping children, scared to death their child might seize or stop breathing and they won’t be there to help them or save them. There are mothers in hospital rooms beside beeping machines holding vigils by frail babies in the NICU. Fathers sitting with the hall light casting shadows across the room as they pray prayers without words over a child battling with cancer.
Exhaustion. Parenting is all about it. Parenting is so very damn exhausting. It’s harder than we would ever have been able to plan for or expect. Physically, emotionally…it can drain a person down to it’s very core and just when we think we have no more to wring out of depleted souls we find just enough courage and stamina to make it up one more mountain before sunrise.
The funny thing is, I don’t know a single mother or father who would trade a single solitary moment of everything else for the sake of needing sleep. Because having children is primarily about sacrifice. Of uninterrupted peaceful hours of sleep, of peace, of ourselves even. And we do it willingly, without qualms or pause to consider or weigh the pros and cons. Because it truly doesn’t matter. All that matters is this love, this life that walks around outside of our own body but whom we love far beyond our own hearts and souls. It is EVERYTHING. All that matters.
So, yes. I’m tired. Downright exhausted. Circles under my eyes, gulping coffee like air.
But these 6 sons are my heartbeat, my spirit song, my life-worth-living. All that I am is encapsulated in them. Tell me you wold trade me them for 24 straight hours of sleep and I’d tell you to go suck a dong. Or maybe something a little more ladylike, depending on how creative and quick-witted my brain is that day. (Which obviously depends on how much sleep I’ve managed to get the night before.)
The point is, it’s a dance I’ve perfected over the past 13 years. Rising with the sun to cook breakfast, change diapers, settle arguments, answer an endless ream of questions that HAVE no answers. Someday it won’t be this way. Someday my home will be quiet and peaceful and I will go to bed at 8 and wake at 8 and feel wonderfully rested. But right now…..Right now I have these awesome late-night chats with boys who are teetering on the brink of adolescence and who almost never talk to me about anything of any personal depth during the day but will open up to me at night. Right now I snuggle with soapy-smelling toddlers. I nurse babies into milk-induced comas and then just hold them in reverent awe and watch them sleep, their lips pursed into perfect rosebuds. Right now I am so very blessed. And if the cost for such a joy is exhaustion…well so be it. Pour me another cuppa joe, friend. And cheers to motherhood and all of its trials and tribulations,
which always pale in comparison to all of the love and glory it brings.
There will be plenty of time for sleep when I’m dead. For now, I’m too busy enjoying life. ❤


2 responses »

  1. 6 boys. You are my hero. I pass my Outmanned Mommy crown to you. But still you manage to write a beautiful and heartwarming post, despite your exhaustion, that nearly brought me to tears. It actually makes me want more children to fill my house. Even as I watch the 9 month old on the video monitor, I can see him turning into a toddler before my eyes. No matter how exhausted I am, his fat little sleeping face makes it all worth it. I loved this post!.

  2. I love, love, love this post. I’m not as eloquent with words like you are my dear…but I know exactly how you feel. ❤

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