Did you ever know you'd grow so tired that your bones would ache?
I thought I was worn out before I had children. Then I had children.
This is not by any means to say that women without kids are lazy; that's not true. Women are hard workers by nature, and we overextend ourselves in every aspect of life.
The thing about motherhood is, it's a different kind of exhausting. It's physically taxing, to be sure, and the long hours don't promise overtime pay. We're constantly on the go, helping the littles from one task to the next. We prepare the meals, do the laundry, clean the house, wipe the noses, bandage the boo-boos, run the errands, drive the carpools, break up the arguments, and administer the discipline. It can wear a girl out!
All of that is nothing, though, when compared to the emotional exhaustion moms manage day in and day out.
Tonight I yelled at my son during family devotions. Like, legitimately scared him. "Would you quit goofing off during family time?" He's six, mind you. A six-year-old acting like a...six-year-old. And I am shocked by that behavior because...?
I can't stop thinking about my son, and how I hurt his heart in that moment. And it shreds me inside, and I want a do-over.
My love for my kids, my heart for their souls and contentment and well being, exhausts me. It's hard work loving tiny humans that much, because it means you have to care. You have to want to care.
It's crazy the power these little people have over us as mamas. When they're sad, we bear their sadness. When they hurt, we hurt. When they're angry, we feel a bit of the venom coursing through our own veins. When they're embarrassed we want to cover their shame, and when they're teased, well...we want to take out some mean kids.
When they're happy, there's a lightness to our steps. When they're laughing, we giggle along. When they're confident, we stand up a little taller. When they display wisdom, we marvel at God's generosity to us.
When they're deceptive, we worry about the state of their hearts. When they disrespect us, we put on our big-girl pants and dish out the consequences, all the while aching like we've been sliced through the gut. When they make decisions that we know are contrary to what's best for them, we grieve.
It's no wonder we're tired. We feel things, and it's exhausting.
When your son can't make it through the day at his middle school without being bullied, and your heart aches for him.
When you know your 17-year-old daughter lied to you about where she was and who she was with on Friday night, and you're scared to death about the direction she's headed in.
When you're in the thick of the early years and you know you love your itty bitty to her core, but her colicky self is about to make you cut and run, maybe all the way to sunny CA.
When your teenage son takes a girl on a date for the first time, and you smile at the puppy eyes he can't conceal while at the same time begging God to help him remember everything you've taught him in preparation for this day.
Don't ever apologize for being tired. Ever.
Take a nap when you need one. Sit down and kick your feet up for a bit, maybe play a round or two of "Hop, Hop, Hop" on your iPhone (if you haven't heard of it, download it now; you'll thank me later). Go to bed early, and leave the dishes for the morning. Trust me, they're not going anywhere.
Let your love wear you out, in the best and the worst ways.
One day you won't be so tired anymore, and you might wonder what happened to the time.
"[God] gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."