Monday, October 05, 2009

What Me Weary? by Jamie

People who know me are used to my complaints about Jayda waking up at 5 a.m. every day. But the fact is, pre-Jayda—before she was even a glimmer of an idea in my head—I awoke willingly before 5 every morning to go to the gym. I religiously devoted at least 10 hours a week to working out—hard—and I also worked full-time, did some additional freelance work, ate ridiculously “clean” (keeping myself at less than 10% body fat year-round), and still managed to go out on dates several times a week. I also suffered from insomnia, and rarely got more than 5-6 hours of sleep a night.

Fast-forward to my present-life. I still get to the gym 5-6 times a week, still eat very healthfully 90% of the time (though I allow myself to consume more food these days, and thus, carry a more reasonable amount of body fat), I rarely drink (and when I do, it’s just a well-savored glass of wine), and I currently work from home. However, lately, several times a week when I put Jayda to bed between 7:30 and 8 p.m., and I lay down beside her to rub her back, I wind up passing out with her (and am shocked when I look at the clock and discover it’s after midnight and I have to force myself up to go brush my teeth)! I also find myself looking forward to bedtime…and have no problem sleeping through the night—and for as long as Jayda will allow me. I even crave naps on the weekends—though Jayda never lets me take them. In short, now that I’m a mom, I’m tired!

I passed a recent physical with flying colors. And more often than not, people tell me I don’t look my age. So why am I so exhausted? I have a friend who is constantly chasing her bolting toddler through stores and restaurants; I rarely have that problem since Jayda generally doesn’t race away from me, and she never wanders far. Jayda’s not an overly-active kid—just a “normal” one. She’s also a fairly even-tempered child. She certainly has her share of tantrums, but I’ve met plenty of kids who are much harder to manage. And while Jayda is a ceaselessly curious child—always asking me questions and probing me to produce creative answers—that shouldn’t physically exhaust me…or should it?

Maybe it just comes down to one thing: Taking care of someone else requires a whole lot more energy than simply taking care of yourself. And while I’ve always had stress in my life (who doesn’t?), and I’ve always found ways to manage it, knowing that you’re solely responsible for the one person whom you love more than anyone and anything in the world is a stress like no other. And it’s the kind of stress that never goes away. I guess I just need to accept that…and get as much rest as I can. And while I do still plan to be 40 and fabulous this February, maybe I’ll just have to make sure I do it before 8 p.m.

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Blogger Robin Gorman Newman said...

I find I am both physically and mentally fatigued. My son is super active and can knock me out, in addition to all the brain power it takes to manage his life, mine, a house (that endured recent construction), marriage, a senior dad, working from home...etc. And, throw whacked hormones into that mix.

So, I can fully appreciate the notion of being weary.

It's all the more reason that support from other later moms is so important. Not only can it be validating, but for me, I find it helpful and empowering to know I'm not alone with my thoughts of being grateful for a good night's sleep (if/when I get one), and for a day that's not overly high on the stress radar (if/when I get one), despite the 24/7 nature of mothering, which nothing quite prepares you for.

7:47 AM  

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