“They didn’t tell me how tired I’d be.
Or maybe they did, and I just chose not to listen.
‘Sleep when the baby sleeps,’ they said, as if the only reason I would be worn out was from midnight feedings.
The truth is, this kind of tired is so much more than that.
This is the kind of tired that settles into your bones. The kind that pulses through your body like a slow ache.
It’s the kind of tired that makes you stay up even longer, for the simple fact that peeling yourself off of the couch, washing your face, and brushing your teeth before bed calls for way too much effort; so much effort that you’d rather just stay firmly rooted in that couch cushion even if it means staying up later.
This kind of tired is an emotional exhaustion from days spent refereeing fights, negotiating with toddlers, teaching lessons, and working through your own bouts of depression and anxiety.
It’s the kind of tired that makes it so that you can’t think straight. The kind that causes you to forget important things like phone numbers, names, birthdays, obligations.
It’s being tired of touched and talked to. Being tired of being around people. Being tired of those you love most. Being tired of yourself.
Whether they told me how tired I would be or not, this much is true: I didn’t ‘get’ it until now.
I didn’t understand that the tired that comes with parenting is so much more heavy than the tired of staying up late to cram for finals and waking up early to make an 8 a.m. class. I didn’t realize that the tired I feel as a mom is of an entirely different breed than any other ‘tired’ I thought I knew before.
But if they didn’t fully prepare me for the tired, they sure as heck didn’t prepare me for the love, either.
‘The love you feel for your kids is unlike any other,’ they said. And while that much is true, those words didn’t even scratch the surface of describing the transformation of my heart.
The love of a parent is all-encompassing. It’s the kind that steals your heart in an instant and never, ever gives you even a speck of it back.
It’s a soul-quenching love. The kind that fills every crevice of your being and expands into the air around you, wrapping you up in its warm blanket.
It’s a love that makes heartaches cut deeper, and worries sit heavier, and doubts speak louder.
Yet it’s also the kind of love that makes sunsets more beautiful, and bird songs more cheerful, and air more life-giving.
It’s a love that says, ‘always,’ and ‘forever,’ and ‘unconditional,’ and means all three without hesitation.
This is the type of love so powerful that it trumps every bit of tired and pushes us onward and upward because, darn it– we can do this!
This tired and this love… neither one can be done justice with simple words.
So, from my side of this “before kids” and “after kids” bridge that life has built for some of us to cross, I offer these words to those still on the far bank:
‘Sleep while the baby sleeps.’
‘The love you feel for your kids is unlike any other.’
You’ll figure the rest out for yourself soon enough.”
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