When I tell him I am tired, he looks at me with this half smile, part attempted empathy, part frustration. The truth is, he is also tired. He worked a sixty hour week, travelled up and down the country, barely had any time off and got woken by the kids on his one chance to lay in. He has to run errands, trim his beard and find the energy to throw a couple of small people over his shoulders because they are desperate to ‘swing like a monkey’ just one last time. He is tired. For a moment, we sit and just look at each others state of exhaustion as though we want to have a legitimate battle as to who is having the hardest time. The truth is, when your needs are not getting met, day after day, week after week, that word, tired, holds a weight that no one wants to bare.
My tired is raw, its the mixed up mess of everything I want to be, everything I am striving to be and everything I am not. As the hazy dark sky slowly starts to glimmer with light and the day shows itself, I rise, often unwillingly. Little hands creep across my face and as much as I want to resist, my heart sings because I can feel how excited she is to fill her lungs and talk her talk. The pitter patter of feet, the endless questions and tales of awakened dreams, the sleepy eyes and tired chants. Then the requests that come thick and fast, for milk, and fruit, yoghurt and bread, wiped bottoms, stories and “can I get dressed now?” My head is still with yesterday and I don’t feel ready to begin again, being everything to everyone, but I do. I sip my coffee and scroll my phone wanting to escape for just a minute longer. He sleeps silently in the next room, and every part of me is trying not to scream my truth, because it doesn't seem fair.
My words are laboured and my voice is tired. It’s spent its days cheering kindred spirits, hushing baby cries, and singing sweet lullabies in the dark of the night. That voice tries each and every day to remain calm to use words that won’t punish, belittle or shame. That voice has to mediate sibling rivalries that make me want to scream at the top of my lungs. The voice that was once a song, a tale and a dream. A voice that made a difference and talked its talk into empty mugs of tea with friends now gone. As I search for a way through these days that seem to last forever, my words quiver on a prayer in the depth of the night. I beg Him to help me be the best that I can because He has trusted me with them and I don’t want to fail Him but I am tired.
Nothing prepared me for the feelings that motherhood would drudge up from the depths of my soul. The confused state of wanting to give more of myself than I could possibly imagine whilst feeling like I have nothing of worth left to give. I am full, so full of love yet void of the energy, the zest, the burning fire, to live the truth of that love. As I wipe the cuts, calm the fevers, blow the noses and tell them one last time to “stop shouting before they wake the neighbours!” I feel deep within my core, that I am so very very tired. I think about my husband as he walks briskly out of the door alone, as he sits comfortably on his commute with just his thoughts. He’s not entangled with small arms, not prodded with chocolate stained fingers, not wiping up another accident, not singing made up songs to put a smile on their rosy red cheeks, but he too is tired.
This morning he left later than usual, the night was fuelled with a waking baby, we tossed and turned between her restless sleep and the morning came before we knew what had hit us. He was flustered yet he lingered on because working away from home leaves you never ready to say goodbye. A few hours passed and I frantically attempted to ‘round up the troops,’ getting out of the door is never an easy task, as every mother knows. There was the inevitable last minute toilet trip and a desperate search for nappies, snacks and my sanity as the overtired baby starts to cry and cry for the sleep we all wish we could have. Then I realise, though I pray I am wrong, my house and car keys are missing. After a mad search of my entire flat and my begging questions to the child who loves to lock and unlock on repeat, “please darling,” I try to joyfully ask, “where are mummy’s keys?” After some time, a few calls and seriously stifled unpleasantries we discovered my keys were securely nestled in the coat pocket of my husbands jacket. This was now inconveniently hundreds of miles away on a farm in Leicestershire. His last message pleaded, “please don’t be mad with me,” and I wasn’t, because day after day no matter what life has thrown at us, he gets up and he works to the core with every honest bone in his body and he too is tired.
These years, we are told, will pass us by with the blink of an eye, we should treasure them because they “grow up too fast!” Yes, it is true, they are made up of the most magical, precious moments and we wouldn’t change a single second of that passing time. But within this paradox of beautiful beginnings as you watch the fruits of your love bloom, there is a restless vulnerability. There is an exhaustion that is more than any night of unbroken sleep could cure. Its the weight of holding the most wonderful gift whilst silently losing your grip. We are tired. But if we were to close our eyes and fall into a blissful state of slumber, we would wake tomorrow and give everything we have, again and again and again.