I’m a part-time working mom of three kids, one of which is 4 months old, so I’m used to not getting a lot of sleep. I’m used to running on fumes and powering through on a wing and a prayer (and an enormous amount of Diet Dr. Pepper). But lately, I haven’t been “normal tired”. This “new tired” is a whole different level of exhaustion.
Because, when you ask how I am and I say, “I’m tired”, I don’t just mean I need a nap or need to go to bed early. I mean I’m carrying a heavy weight around with me from the moment my eyes open in the morning until they finally close at night – and that weight is unbearable at times.
It means I’m weary.
My mind is constantly swirling with questions surrounding this situation we’re in. Will my husband be okay still going into the office? What if someone he works with is an asymptomatic carrier? He’s already complained about people not observing social distancing recommendations. What if he brings it home and one of us dies?
When I say “I’m tired”, I mean that I wish I had a change of scenery.
Being at home for so long can really drain a person (especially an extrovert like me). My kids and I used to love running errands, seeing new things, talking to different people throughout our day. We miss our Mother’s Day Out program and the friends we’ve made. We’ve gone on walks, played “I Spy”, and hunted for ladybugs until we’re blue in the face. Of course I appreciate this extra time with my kids, but we miss our old routine.
When I say “I’m tired”, I mean I am over-cooking this much.
I already felt like a short-order cook and live-in maid at times before this, but now? I identify with Alice from The Brady Bunch so hard. It is an endless cycle of making meals, cleaning up from meals, and preparing the next meal. And if we order takeout, there’s the constant fear that we may be bringing in a contaminated bag or box.
When I say “I’m tired”, it means I feel at a complete loss of what to do.
I’m fear-paralyzed and just trying to survive. It means I’m treading water the best I can and I need grace, from others and myself. It means I need to hear “thank you” more often and maybe a few extra hugs.
So the next time you’re on Zoom, Skype, or texting with a friend who says, “I’m just so tired”, don’t tell her she needs to prioritize her sleep. Don’t go into a long diatribe about how lack of REM sleep affects immunity. Tell her, “You’re doing a great job at navigating these uncharted waters. Go easy on yourself,” and then tell yourself the same thing.