A Whole New World of Tired

Before I became a mother, I thought I knew tired.

In high school, I’d show up 15 minutes late to history class, slide into the back row beside the other delinquents and slump into my chair. What’s wrong with you? someone would ask.

Man, I’d say, I’m tired.

Fast forward half a decade to university. Saturday evening spent in the company of my gaggle of roommates, a dance floor and three bottle of jaggermeister. Stumble home at 3am, strip off my mini-skirt and pour myself into bed. Wake up at noon the next day, roll out of bed and into my track suit, slide onto the couch next to one of my roommates. What’s wrong with you? someone would ask.

Man, I’d say, I’m tired.

Another half-decade later, and I’m in front of my own classroom, tossing sidelong glares at the delinquents arriving 15 minutes late and sliding into the back row. After a day spent running from classroom to classroom, marking essays, putting out teenaged fires, I’d slump on my desk.  What’s wrong with you? someone would ask.

Man, I’d say, I’m tired.

In the first three months of my pregnancy, I’d come home from work, snatch the ice cream from the freezer and hurl myself on the couch. By the time Jeopardy rolled around at 7:30, I’d turn to my husband.

Man, I’d say, I’m so tired.

And so in my cumulative life experiences, I figured I knew tired. Those who became mothers before me warned me that I knew nothing, but I doubted them. How bad could it be? I mean, life is tiring. A baby can’t be any worse.

Mother of God, do I know better now. 

And so, let me be clear about this: All things pre-baby are not tiring. They are simply taxing, toilsome, nigglesome, bothersome… in the same way a crossword puzzle or extra-long traffic light might be. To those of you who’ve fought in wars or performed 38-hours straight of surgery to separate conjoined twins, I say you might get it. Otherwise, I say recognize. I say respect. Represent. All the moms in the world say YEAH! We know tired, man. The rest of you don’t.

People refer to the new baby time as sleep deprived, exhausting, strenuous. But I think there needs to be a better word, for none of these do it any justice. Perhaps I will write to the people at Oxford dictionary and suggest refucausted (as in: really fu#&# exhausted). But they’re probably all men, so they won’t get it.

(I’m sorry men, but for the most part, you don’t get it. Please call me sexist. Please do! I hope I am being sexist, for I can’t wait to live in a world where this is no longer at least somewhat true. I love my husband and he is a helpful, engaged father. But he doesn’t get it.

But I digress…)

Tiredness has recently caused me to:

  • Leave the house and get all the way to the grocery store in my slippers (hey, they have soles, so it was an easy mistake).
  • Take ice cubes and a teething soother from the freezer at the same time. Drop the teething soother in my water bottle and the ice cubes in my purse. Realize my mistake 20 minutes later.  
  • Forget, momentarily,  my husband’s first name.
  • Show up on time for my dentist appointment. Right time, wrong day.

To name only a few.

 So to the mothers (and yes, yes – the fathers) of the world with new babies, sleepless babies, teething babies, sleepless toddlers…

Man, I say for us all, I’m refucausted.


~ by thebookofmommy on February 18, 2008.

12 Responses to “A Whole New World of Tired”

  1. I must be the only guy reading this who was the one to get up with the baby. I know tired!

  2. Yes I agree with you a 100 percent. I though i was tierd when i was single and a teaching…. i thought a hard day at school was the worse thing and i looked forward to my summer break. Today I am looking forward to going back to work tomorrow because despite the fact that I love my 15 month old son… I am exhausted running after him and can’t wait to be back at work on Tuesday.

  3. We just had out third and, although I cannot fully understand your refucaustedness, I can sympathise a bit.

    I help my wife with everything I can. She emails me the grocery list and each day I go where she tells me and gets what she tells me. I have taken over the laundry, dishes and bathing of the “males”.

    She sleeps when she can and I handle all things awake after 9pm, which normally means sleeping in a chair with at least one kid on me…and I know I have the easy part.

    You seems like you have it together…I wish I could say that it only gets better!!!!

    Actually it does. Get them on a system and get used to sleeping in two hour blocks!

  4. Okay… I take back the part about men not knowing how tiring it can be. I gratefully and graciously stand corrected!!!!

  5. I wouldn’t trade places…ever!

  6. Amen, Sister. It gets better . . . eventually.

  7. I found you through morethananelectrician’s site. Can I just say, HELL YEAH! WHu WHUT! Hahahaha. Oh god, do I ever know tired. My hubby doesn’t get it. He works full time and I stay at home with two kids (one of them special needs) but he still just doesn’t get it.

  8. […] 18, 2008 in Blog Stats, Blogs, Friends, Humor, Linky Love, blogging I found this post by amotherlikeallothers through morethananelectrician who had just left a comment on my blog (who […]

  9. As a 10 week old pregnant (soon to be) momma, I say, amen! But I’m happy to experience it all and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m sure all mothers will agree.

  10. Tired yes. 6 children later, I thought I knew tired, too. Then I started working overnights, and homeschooling, and tired took on a whole new level…severly comatose on my feet…yeah, that about sums it up. Hope you can catch up on your sleep sometime in the next 18 years!!!

  11. As a man, I must insist I know tired as well. I got up with my first three babies and bottle fed them all through the night…while being a full time military man. I was a single father with my first three children for three years.
    I am not mentioning this to correct you, but to give you my credentials when I append your comments on being tired. For there is a small but important part of this tiredness that I didn’t see you mention.

    Unlike every other form of tiredness you have mentioned, this tiredness is the one accompanied by satisfaction. The exhaustion that is well worth it. The only time you will look back after half a decade or more and think of it as a badge of honor instead of juvenile obtuseness.

    Great blog. After one post I am hooked. 🙂

  12. I hear ya sister.

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