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Exhaustion Wrapped in Resentment Sprinkled with Mom Guilt

Being a parent is exhausting. Physically. Mentally. At times, financially.

<Insert sentence about how it’s also rewarding, you’re paid in love, etc. and etc. but I got three hours sleep last night and am not in the mood.>

Recently I was talking to another mom about this very subject. (It comes up a lot, am I right?). She told me that there have been times when she irrationally wished to come down with an illness- one that was not life-threatening but that nonetheless required a minimum 3 day hospital stay- just to have an opportunity to rest.

Personally I would have wished for a solo Caribbean cruise but that’s just me.

I’ve been there, though, in that place of exhaustion wrapped in resentment sprinkled with mom guilt for feeling the way I did. And let’s get real for a moment: I’m in that place now.

It’s been a rough week. There have been big decisions made in our family: good ones, but big, stressful, scary ones. There’s been the usual cleaning of messes and drying of tears, but on top of it there has been the struggle to accept heartbreaking disappointment. Worries for loved ones in times of major conflict. Stress about if we’re making the right choices for ourselves and our family and crossing our fingers that our intuition is correct.

There has also been a woeful lack of quality sleep.

I blame three things: the aforementioned stress, a minor head cold, and a change in schedule due to the end of the school year and the start of the summer.

No matter how you slice it, though, it’s the pits. I’m running on fumes this morning after my toddler kept me up until 2:30 am. (She’d gone to sleep early and I’d foolishly stayed up late, and when I finally decided it was time to sleep she decided it was time to watch The Fresh Beat Band. Midnight tantrum ensued. It was as awful as it sounds.)

There was a moment, though, just after the tantrum ended and just before my daughter finally fell asleep: I held her and we walked the upstairs hallway, just like I’d done so many times when she was an infant. This time, though, her three year old legs dangled low. Instead of a onesie she wore a big girl night gown. The binky was old news and there was no need for a swaddling blanket.

I held my tired baby the same way I’d done when she was so small, and counted my blessings for the chance to do it once again.

There are lessons to be learned even on sleepless nights, and blessing to be counted even when I’m running on fumes.

How do you get through the exhaustion during times of transition?

Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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