You're Not You When You're Tired

Hi, I'm Jessie. I've been living in an alternate, exhausted reality for the past year (or four, if we are being honest). I am slowly emerging from a strange, frustrated, foggy existence to a state of being that I haven't been in a while - sort of human. Have you had a baby? Then, you may remember what I'm talking about. Or you may still be living in that grey world where everything is a little irritating, a little burdensome (or a lot.) Your kids are asking too much of you. Your spouse's presence is grating on your nerves. You can't even with the pets. Do you really have to feed these people living in your house? Everyday? Why can't everyone just leave you alone?

You're tired. You know how you can always tell when your kid needs a nap? Well, that's you right now. We don't change just because we are adults. We still get grumpy and irrational when we are tired. The crazy thing is, we are in such a deficit of rest that we just live in a state of "cranky need a nap" all day, every day. We are making adult decisions like this! We are trying to manage relationships and other a terrible state of mind.

Ever hear the expression, "sleep on it"? It refers to resting before making a big decision or evaluating a situation. Why is this such a well-known axiom of life? Because you are not thinking clearly when you're tired. Everything is worse, strained. Your situation is bound to seem dire and irreparable from the perspective of tired, stressed eyes. It's amazing how in the morning, after "sleeping on it", things don't seem so daunting or nearly as serious. 

Now, I'm not telling you to "nap when they nap" or any nonsense like that. Not that naps are nonsense. They are absolutely a valuable use of time. I'm just not going to give you any advice that is impossible to follow on a day to day basis. Doesn't it just make you feel worse when you feel like you can't even get a simple thing like "napping" right? Who needs that kind of burden? Not me. Mom's gotta Mom - you don't always get a nap - especially if you have a bunch of kids that don't like to nap, so you spend the entire time fighting them to take a nap... fun times.

No, what I'm saying is, there is a deeper kind of rest that you need. It's a soul rest. This is a "broader strokes" life concept - so it is something that takes a little time to find the rhythm, but it starts with giving yourself space. There are thousands of self-help books out there about this, but the basic idea is simplifying, de-cluttering, removing burdens from yourself. Unburdening yourself - that even sounds wonderful. 

You might say ok, where do I drop off my kids and my husband? You know so I can unburden myself??? I hear you. But you don't really want that. Deep down, you really want to embrace the moments with your family. You really want rich, meaningful relationships. But you are so tired, you can't. You are so spent, stressed, overworked, underappreciated, BURDENED, that you don't have room for anybody. Everyone in your life becomes a burden too because they need you and you have nothing to give. It's depressing, because at a very basic, deep down level, that is what you want the most and yet, you just can't manage it.

So, how do you replenish your reserves? How do you become human again and not just a robot? How do you enjoy life? You must rest. You must create space for yourself. You must remove and de-clutter - not just your home, but your schedule, your responsibilities. Start at the beginning - what or who is in your inner circle? What is your most important priority? I think most people would say, their family. The people they love. Start by just taking care of those things, those people, and let the rest go.

When you are a Mom, or a new Mom especially, you know that everything else comes second to the baby- including you. New babies and young children require so much of you - because they literally can't do anything by themselves. So, in this season of life, you might only have room for taking care of the baby or the kids. You might not have a lot of solid friendships, your marriage may not be a priority, your house may be a wreck, you may not have a career or even a hobby, you might not accomplish seemingly anything but surviving the day. But you must remember that you are doing a great work. This is the work of the season: preparing meals, doing laundry, wiping noses, changing diapers, going to doctor's appointments, singing songs, saying prayers, reading books, wiping tears, rocking babies to sleep and most importantly, just being there- being Mom. My friend, it is a lot of work and it seems never-ending. You don't get paid and you are often unnoticed and unappreciated, but nevertheless, you are working hard. The truth is, you are so valuable - beyond value, really. There is no one who can fill your shoes. Sometimes, it feels overwhelming to have this responsibility. Often, it feels overwhelming - especially on days where you feel like you can't keep up with things you "should" be able to or when you and your spouse are at odds and just can't see eye to eye and money is tight and you are tired and you feel very alone. I know how that feels - it's soul-crushing.

In this season, your soul's rest is in knowing that you are enough and knowing that you are seen and heard. It's knowing that you don't have to make play dates or fancy dinners or have a clean house. It's not feeling guilty when you do something for yourself or when you make things easier on yourself - like picking up fast food for dinner. Your soul's rest is in not taking responsibility for someone else's mood, reactions or choices. It's listening to your soul when you feel overwhelmed and need space and it's taking one thing off of your to do list for the day. It is letting go and knowing that you can let some things wait or go undone. It's unburdening yourself.

There are always going to be new challenges in every stage of life. The question I am asking myself more and more these days is "what can I do less of so that there is more of me left at the end of the day?" Some days, there is not much that I can let go of - it actually all has to be done. But other days, I over-schedule and overburden myself and by doing that it perpetuates the rest deficit cycle in my life. I am slowly realizing that if I keep filling every waking moment of my life with things to do and places to be, I will ultimately continue to lose myself and the people closest to me will suffer the consequences. Just like good budgeting involves saving some of your income for a reserve, so we must reserve some of our energy and time so that we have some to give when it really matters.

Moms, I hope you are able to get some soul rest - and by all means, if you get the chance to take a nap, TAKE THE NAP.

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