Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Exhausting Business of Parenthood

I'm not really one of those people that collapses into bed.  I'm usually up too late writing, surfing, watching, overthinking, worrying, wondering...it's tough to turn my mind off.  I'm more of a toss and turn kind of gal.  But Sunday night, I collapsed into bed because last week and weekend wore me out.

It's so weird because it wasn't me meeting new teachers and being thrust into new classrooms to make new friends and do homework like the kids. It wasn't me that practiced football in the weird 90-degree weather last week like the boys or play in the games over the weekend.  

All I did was worry and love so hard I had zero energy on Sunday night.  Whether it was pep talks after school or watching every play from the bleachers, I put my all into it.  Then of course I stayed up a little bit late every night wondering, worrying, possibly overthinking...did I give the right advice? I should have said more about sticking up for yourself. Oh my gosh, she hates her freckles, how could she hate her freckles? Do I overpraise? I think I read something online about overpraising, oh shit, am I screwing them up? Don't even get me started on football and concussions, but they love it and there are good things about football, seriously.  woah, it's late, I need to sleep.

One of my favorite things about the boys playing football is watching them on the sidelines with their dad (who is also one of their coaches).

Back when the kids were babies I thought I knew what tired was, but woah, nope, no clue.  
Life--it ain't no game, unless you are playing the actual game of Life which my kids love.  I don't play it with them because I don't like the focus on money being what it's all about.

First of all, I was so much younger and I think that makes a difference. Back then my metabolism actually worked, I could have one glass of wine without feeling hungover the next day and I just didn't need as much sleep.  

Now, I'm older and slower and I have to go the doctor for things like "my hip hurts when it rains" and one glass of wine (or a Tylenol PM) gives me a mild hangover feeling the next morning. The real kicker is that no one in my house naps now that I finally see the value of sleep.  

Now that my kids are a little older they need me in different ways--there is a lot of talking.  Talking about meanings, intentions, injustices, politics (world and middle school), identity issues, pop culture, technology (this is basically me saying no to i-everything).  It is all negotiation and affirmation and encouragement and let's get real.  It is being there and being ready to stick to my guns or bend a little.  It is listening and watching and loving.

It also brings new kinds of deeper interactions and connections and joy.  I mean they can talk about politics (world and middle school), it's pretty cool.  They get jokes, and can tell them.  They're creating their own world view.
And hey, we can all go to the movie theater together now that they are older.  Woot. Woot.  Sure, Tim and I might have taken a quick nap during the movie but we were all together. 

I'm beyond grateful that I get to parent these four little beings with so many questions and intentions and world views.  I'm honored to help them on their journey and pray that I don't hold them back or screw them up too badly.  But shit, it's exhausting.  

So, yeah I collapsed into bed the other night.  I slept for almost 10 hours.  I woke up refreshed and ready to start a whole new week of worrying and loving and connecting and enjoying and possibly overthinking a little bit.


  1. The first week of school is so hard on everyone! Wait, we're in week three, and I'm still exhausted. I'm sure I'll be this way until May. xoxo

  2. I LOVE that last picture.
    Having older kids is much more enjoyable than I had anticipated. I love all of the talk and the deep thoughts. Teenagers often get such a bad rap, but it has turned out to be one of my favorite stages of parenting (so far).
    They stay up too late, though, so, yeah, I'm tired.

  3. I'm not in the stage you are - just in the trenches of parenting very small children, who are incessant in everything they do. More physically than emotionally exhausting than parenting older kids like you are (and I think I'll take the physical any day!). I think a 10 hour night's sleep is AWESOME and everyone should do it regularly. :)

  4. I love that last picture. But I totally get this....even though mine are mostly younger than yours, it's fun to hear their jokes and see their personalities growing. But yeah....EXHAUSTING.