Today, my son turned 1-month-old. His first month of life flew by, but it's also made me realize how ridiculously tired I am. Whether you're a new mom or you've been at the parenting game for a while, I have a feeling you know exactly what kind of tired I'm talking about. Those first few weeks are so exhausting you don't have the energy to talk about, well, anything else. So what a new mom really means when she says "I'm tired" can run the gamut, and if you're a supportive partner, family member, or friend, it's vital you're able to translate "I am tired" so you can give the new mom in your life everything she needs.
When I brought daughter home almost two years ago I thought I knew exactly what it meant to be exhausted. I was so tapped out mentally, physically, and emotionally, I was sure it couldn't get any worse. Then I had a new baby with a not-quite-2-year-old toddler and I realized I was totally wrong. The other day, I caught myself trying to sputter out the same sentence to my daughter about eight times, only to give up altogether. Guys, I'm too tired to even talk. That's a new low in my sleep-deprived new-mom world.
The good news, though? Just when you think you've hit your sleep-free limit, your baby randomly gives you some 20 minute break or an extra hour in the morning or sleeps through the night, and you're able to harness enough energy to make it through the following day. Last night my son slept five hours straight, you guys. So maybe babies just naturally know what us moms mean when we say we're tired? So for the rest of you, well, take note:
Do not ask me to make a decision if I've just told you I'm tired. Decisions are my kryptonite when there's a new baby at home, so you're better off taking advantage of the situation and just making all the damn choices while I don't have enough energy to care.
Being covered in who the hell knows what for the last 72 hours adds insult to injury when you're sleep-deprived. Still, if you're like me you don't have the energy to do anything about it. It is what it is, because the idea of doing any amount of laundry is almost too much to handle.
You know that physical ache you get when you're so tired that literally everything on your body hurts? Yeah, you learn to live with that when you're a new mom, unfortunately.
Counting the minutes until the toddler's nap while simultaneously praying that it lasts longer than an hour? While simultaneously scheming so that the younger one will be asleep at the same time? Yeah, all in a day's work for this mom, my friends.
My partner and I were talking the other day about when our daughter, who is now a 2-year-old toddler, started to sleep through the night. We thought to ourselves, "This is it. We have our sleep back. We made it." Ha! And, no. Because as our very hungry son has shown us, we are a long way from a full night's rest. But we can dream, right? Just in two hours stretches, of course.
The last thing I want to do when I'm this sleep-deprived is make a damn meal. So goodbye vegetables and hardy, well-rounded meals, and hello whatever is delivered to our door quickly. If I wasn't an adoptive mom, I'd be leaning hard on that whole breastfeeding-burns-calories thing because all I want when I'm this tired is comfort food for every meal, punctuated by frequent chocolate breaks.
I distinctly remember when my daughter was about 1 month old and I hadn't slept more than two hours at a time in that whole month. I was constantly asking myself, "Why does my husband have to keep asking questions?" It took so much energy to explain even the simplest things, like where I had put the baby wipes, and the thought of putting that many words together made me want to take a nap.
When you're so tired you pour the formula into the coffee cup and the half and half into the bottle, you start to wonder who on earth let you be in charge of this tiny human.
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