This post appeared on the My Big Jesus blog! We spent today bopping around town, carrying kids to and fro, shopping for this and getting ready for that. Our house is a madhouse, like it often is these days. I don’t mind – really, I don’t. I know that it’s a season, and that things will return to a semi-normal. I know that my kids will be these ages but once. I know that my niece and nephew (who I also got to see this evening!) will be these ages but once.
Yet, my lovely and insightful mother-in-law said something to me, in passing really, tonight that made me think. She had spent the morning with my son, and part of the afternoon with my daughter. She said, “I don’t know how y’all do it with these two. I guess I did it with mine, but I’m exhausted!” Going on, she explained that she meant chasing them around her house, entertaining them, and making sure nothing got broken.
Well let me tell you, I understood her completely. While my house is basically baby-proofed and I can let them run free a little more in our home than she can in hers (split-level=stairs upon stairs) I am still frequently exhausted at the end of the day. Even if I haven’t completed a single housekeeping task, or didn’t get in a work out, or haven’t left the house, or if I did catch a little snooze during someone’s naptime, I’m often exhausted.
It isn’t simply that my back hurts, or that I’m sleep deprived, although sometimes those things are true. (Have you lugged around a 30lb sack of flour recently?) It’s emotional exhaustion. It’s mental exhaustion. I’m not a creative person, so EK really makes me work my imagination (ie: silly voices, strange scenarios, and telling her “stories” that I made up). I’m constantly trying to think of ways to educate – nay, entertain – two developmental levels, two totally different personalities. I’m trying to explain to my daughter why she should share, can’t push her brother, and shouldn’t scream in the house. I’m trying to distract my son when he just wants to be held – for the entire 12 hours he is awake. I’m trying to make healthy breakfasts and dinners that also look enticing and taste delicious. I’m trying to not lose patience with messes and attitudes and too-short naps and refused meals. It’s a lot. It’s trying, giving, sacrificing, and pushing myself.
So yes, in a word, I’m exhausted. I’m exhausted when I think of how much love I’ve got in my heart for these little beings that need me so. I’m exhausted when I think that by the end of this summer, I’ll have a third little being that needs me like these two do. I’m exhausted when I think that in 18 years, they’ll need me so much less. I’m exhausted to think they won’t always snuggle into my neck or say “mmmmmm-ah!” when I ask for a kiss. But being exhausted in the midst of right now is a fulfilled, happy exhaustion. When I slip into my bed, and don’t have time to finish one sentence in my book, I’m not really upset about it. I’m just wishing I had more patience, more creativity, more knowledge to share with those exciting, excitable toddlers that I call my own.