Friday, June 4, 2010

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Tired

At a certain stage, you reach the point where you are so tired, you stop caring anymore…about anything. Big things, little things that used to send me into a rage or make me cringe become things I shrug off in my exhaustion. They are not worth me expending an ounce of energy (that I don’t have left anyway) to fret over. There is a certain freedom that comes with being so very tired that you have to pause for a moment to remember vital statistics about yourself, such as your phone number or your age or the name of the child you’re looking at blankly in the face getting ready to yell at for leaving some crappy little McDonald’s toy in the middle of the floor for someone to trip over. I read an article which said that the average mother works approximately 90 plus hours a week just being a mother (whose job duties ranged anywhere from CEO to housekeeper to psychologist). Ninety hours a week, and that’s not counting any hours spent outside of the home working at a job. Ninety hours a week is more hours logged than most attorneys I know. No wonder parents are tired.

The other day, my younger daughter, Natalie, saw me sprawled on the sofa and it surprised her. She is used to seeing me in almost constant parent motion, doing any one of the nine million things we have to do to get through the day as we juggle work, family business, household things and oh yeah, carving out a minute for ourselves. Natalie crawled up onto the sofa and burrowed herself next to me, and asked “Is everything okay?” Before I could answer, my older daughter, Nicole, said, “Mommy’s fine, she’s just tired.” Clearly I had repeated it so many times that now my children can parrot that catch phrase for me. I rolled over, turning my back to them, trying to grab a few minutes more of peace. Yeah, right. Nicole joined Natalie on the sofa, both of them using me as a human pillow and turned on iCarly. So much for getting rest.

Whenever my husband, David, hears about some pop star on tour who has to cancel their shows because of exhaustion, he often asks how tired do you really have to be to pass out from exhaustion. It is tough to imagine that a pop star’s schedule is actually more grueling than a parent working a 9 to 5, dealing with a couple of kids, career, a mortgage, grandparents with health and aging issues, not to mention three neighborhood biddies who have dubbed me a jerk because I asked them (nicely – I knew my mother would disapprove if I did otherwise) not to let their dogs play and poop on my lawn. I know pop stars work hard, but let’s face it, if I had someone to drive me places, run my errands, answer my mail, pay my bills, deal with the biddies and their pooping dogs, dress me, do my hair and make up, cook my meals, book my travel, care for my kids, house and any assorted pets we haven’t yet managed to kill (those three goldfish who went belly up weigh heavy on Natalie’s heart even to this day), what would I have left to do to make me tired…get up on stage and sing and dance? Sign me up!

I’m beginning to wonder if the end result of being so tired is that I’m actually becoming calm. All these years, I’ve tried meditation, stress reduction techniques, yoga, all in an effort to slow down. Screw meditation and all those other things you have to work at…just become so tired that you have no choice but to slow down and be calm.

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