My husband has come to dread the ever repeated, “I am tired.” I can literally sneak in a nap or sleep all night, and you bet your bottom dollar I am still feeling drained. You know why, because this tired isn’t workday tired. This tired is “Mommy Tired.” And while it seems downright dreamy, uninterrupted sleep “ain’t gonna” fix it.
Motherhood in general is exhausting. This applies to single moms, working moms, married moms, moms with moms, moms with nannies, MOMS! It’s the emotional pull that never turns off. It is the “did I pack enough lunch today” tired. It is the “did I forget to sign the school folder” tired. It is “Mommy Tired.” The reality is moms are expected to carry the emotional and planning load at home. Then, if you’re a working mom, you’re expected to give 110% every single day. So, when we don’t know what to say, we simply say “I’m tired.”
If we could just be honest, we really want to say that while being a mom is one of the most rewarding honors, it does not erase the fact that we are human beings and not robots (albeit zombies most days). The truth is, as mothers, we feel like we must be supermom 24/7. We feel like we should have a never-ending supply of Energizer batteries strapped to our backs constantly replenishing our energy, memory, stamina, metabolism, and overall bounciness. So, let me make it plain. We do not. We are running on E and just one missed appointment away from dropping a load of “F bombs” that could make a sailor smile.
Ironically, I can’t think of anyone else that’s expected to carry the weight of it all on her shoulders while standing up straight and smiling. Oh, and somewhere in here, we should also look like a supermodel and never ever gain weight. Add all of this to having perfectly manicured nails, flawless makeup, and perfectly groomed tresses before you make breakfast.
This is where it gets downright offensive. We need to do all of that without the benefit of a break or outsourcing help. Because if you want to be deemed “Bad Momma,” hire someone to help. Never mind that most moms are just drained from juggling so many hats while doing the laundry and cheering on the sideline of youth sports. So, you know what this tired momma did? I hired the help. Because face it, the folks nagging in the back aren’t offering to herd your kids around town while you complete the household tasks and work calls.
The mom shaming is real. And sometimes comes from other moms. No matter what a mom does, someone will assure her she is doing it all wrong. As a mother, we already judge ourselves. Try giving your child a Lunchable to take to school in place of a hot meal in a thermos … the mom guilt gets real. When adding in the mom shaming, at the heaviness of “Mommy Tired” is truly amplified.
So, what we really want you to hear when we say, “I’m tired” is “I am overwhelmed, and I need help.” We want to ask for help, but it is just not that easy. For one, even organizing the help is a task. For those of us with husbands, it doesn’t automatically mean the load is nonexistent. Let’s be honest, you can have the most amazing husband in all of times. But societal norms indicate that it is Mom who should shoulder the bulk of the parenting responsibility.
While I am fully confident that I am being the best mom that I can be, I do hope that we normalize removing the idea that gender determines parental and domestic expectations. I am almost willing to bet my last breath that most mothers share this dream for their daughters. However, since children are sponges, this change requires us to release the antiquated ideologies that we have been taught as the only way. I know that I for one am teaching my daughter that glass ceilings don’t apply to her. The glass is shattered, and the path is clear. I’m fully confident that she will be a change maker. I am relieved in knowing that there is hope to shift the paradigm. I am satisfied that while we may endure “Mommy Tired,” we don’t have to pass this on to our daughters. And when they become of age and decide to have kids of their own, they will normalize “Mommy Breaks.”