Her black t-shirt said it all. “Tired as Mother” was scrawled across the front in pretty, white cursive.
I saw her at the pool last weekend with her newborn in a stroller and her toddler at her feet. She didn’t wear make-up to cover the dark circles under her eyes or brush her hair before throwing it into a messy bun on top of her head. She had more important things to do.
Like kiss the boo-boo on the knee of her toddler who fell while running in flip-flops. Or push the stroller back and forth while humming a lullaby. She may have been bone-tired but she was still a mother. And mothers can’t afford to take a break.
That’s probably why we’re so tired all the time.
Tired of the constant laundry. Tired of sweeping toddler scraps from the floor. Tired of saying NO several hundred times per day. Tired of that car seat buckle, that high chair buckle, and that tiny shoe buckle.
It’s the kind of tired that even twelve hours of solid, teenage-like sleep wouldn’t be able to cure. This is mom tired–an endless cycle of household chores mixed with unconditional love.
I saw that love at the park a few days earlier, too.
As it happened, I was having a tough day with my own toddler, and the moms told me exactly what I needed to hear.
I see you.
Sure, her little one was playing peek-a-boo and she was talking to him, but I took it as a sign to keep listening. Moms may be tired, but they are also wise.
A little girl wanted to climb a ladder in the worst way. Her mom insisted that she try one more time. It would have be easier to help her daughter, but she knew the value behind the struggle.
Another mom called out to her two rambunctious kids. They were darting in and out of tunnels, up and down slides, and laughing until they, of course, started fighting.
Be kind! You need each other.
That didn’t stop their fighting, but it definitely resonated with me. We need each other. These moms didn’t know that I was listening, but they gave me the boost I needed that day.
Who else would understand? Being as tired as a mother is a tiredness we will never forget. And one that we already know we will miss.