The question that’s on my mind: why am I always so burnt out at the end of each day? Could it be the mental load of motherhood? Or the daily list of tasks that are constantly running through my mind? Or perhaps its constantly being needed by someone almost every moment of the day? One thing is for sure – by 8 pm each night, I am exhausted, depleted, done.
Let’s start with what a typical working day looks like for me. I get up before my kids around 6:30 and get things in order for their school days. They get up around 7 and I feed them and get them ready, then get them both off to school. After that, I come home, work out, shower, get ready, and go to work. My job is very relaxed at the library so I always feel stress free while I am there. When I get home from work, luckily I am greeted with hugs and excitement, but also typically I am immediately needed for something. “Mommy can you play with me?” is a pretty standard immediate response to me entering the house. I love that my kids count on me to interact with them – I think it makes our bond that much stronger – but it is exhausting when I cannot even take my shoes off at home before somebody asks me something. After I explain that “yes, I can play with you but I have to get changed and eat dinner first”, I am then followed into my bedroom where I have an audience while I get dressed in sweats and I feel like it is a countdown to when I can “play”. If I am being honest, I don’t really enjoy playing with my kids. Yes, as I stated, I do love that we have a strong bond and I do think that’s because I play their “games” with them, but it is genuinely not something I enjoy doing. Play time is for kids – not adults. But we are in the habit of playing together and although I am trying to break that habit, I can’t just stop cold turkey.
So after I am able to get out of my work clothes, we have dinner. Typically, dinner is a struggle in our house. “Kids, what do you want to eat?” will usually get a response of “I don’t know” or “nothing”. My kids are the pickiest of picky eaters. While we sit down to eat a meal that we made, we also have to figure out what to feed them as well. Most of the time, regardless of what is offered, they will take about 2 bites and ask for dessert. Now, you can imagine how frustrating this is for me when I have their best interests in mind and I know they need to eat to get bigger and stronger but they refuse to try anything new or to eat something that I know for sure they enjoy.
After the struggles of dinner time and they get to indulge in dessert, then comes the super fun “play time”. It is usually a game where the kids boss me around and tell me what to do and for some reason, no matter how much I follow instructions, I can never perform correctly enough to please them. Somebody almost always gets upset and ends up crying and I have to give up and tell them that I can’t play if we can’t play nice. Yes, it is just as fun as it sounds, believe me.
If by chance it is a dreaded bath night in our house, it is always a battle. “I just got a bath yesterday!” is the infamous quote (even though, no, they haven’t had a bath in 2 days). When J gets a bath and he refuses to sit down – he always has – which makes it very difficult and usually makes a huge mess and he almost always cries because the water gets in his eyes. Rylie will take a shower but she can’t do it on her own yet so that means somebody standing outside the shower assisting her, and as a result, will also make a huge mess in the bathroom.
Once they are all ready for bed and we are so close to bed time that I can literally taste it – it is THEN, always, without fail, that the kids will play nicely together. RIGHT BEFORE BED. Why, you might ask? I truly wish I had an answer but it is not logical, in my opinion. So bed time rolls around and of course they don’t want to go to bed, they are playing nicely! And how can I force them to bed when they are being so well behaved and leaving my husband and I alone? “I’m not tired” “Why do you guys get to stay up and we have to go to bed?” are what the kids say every night after being told it’s bed time.
Once we finally get them in their rooms for the night, they will come out of their rooms for something on average 3 times per night. Each. Once they are satisfied with all of the “stuffies” (stuffed animals) they have in their beds and they do finally go to sleep , I am just drained and am ready for bed myself. But I do force myself to stay awake to catch up on some TV or to do some reading but I, myself, am sometimes in bed as early as 9:30. It is a long day.
So if I had to sum it up as to why I think I am so burnt out at the end of the day I would use one word to describe it: demanded. My husband can be standing in the kitchen and I will be in the shower and my kids will come into the shower to ask me for a snack. I am definitely the “preferred parent” which is very tough because it means I am always needed for something. Although being the preferred parent is exhausting, I remind myself that it also means my kids love and appreciate me and they recognize that I am their safe space and their main caregiver (which is true since my husband works full time). It won’t be like this forever – one day they will be able to pick their own snacks without having to ask, or get themselves fully ready for the day, and they will be self sufficient people who won’t need my help with every little thing. My goal is to remember this and appreciate the time that I have with them because although it is hard, they will only need me this much for a few short years.