A mother is all too familiar with exhaustion. Feeling weary and defeated when the day is done. Fantasizing about the tranquility and solace of pillow top perfection in a cozy, quiet bed. Daydreaming of selfishly sprawling out all comfy-cozy like and catching up on some much needed Z’s, only those Z’s fail to arrive. Instead of meeting with silence and sweet slumber, you meet with an incessantly restless and racing mind. You toss, turn, and flail about, demonstrating your best crocodile death roll, trying to give your inner Jiminy Cricket the hint that he just needs to shut the fuck up.
These are the six types of involuntary subconscious torture that invade the minds of mothers everywhere.
Since you are already up, you should get yourself a glass of water. You remember reading in some magazine in some waiting room somewhere that a glass of water before bed can prevent a heart attack in your sleep.
I prefer not to be dead in the morning or have my kids awaken to a stiff, lifeless corpse.
You alter your course to the kitchen to consume that lifesaving glass of H2O and have a full-on water cooler conversation with yourself.
Am I drinking enough water? I’m gonna have to pee after this.
Man, this kitchen sucks.
I should watch more DIY network.
I feel a poop coming on.
Did you schedule the credit card bill payment?
Why can’t I get that shit paid off?
How about the electric bill?
Why is it so expensive? Do we really need the front porch light on ALL night? Damn you Benjamin Franklin! … Oh wait, who really discovered electricity? I need to Google that.
Your son’s butt wiping skills.
Dear God when will that boy learn to wipe his own ass?
The eczema on your daughter’s ears.
She got that from her dad’s side of the family.
The dentist appointments that are three months overdue.
Do my kids do a good job of brushing their teeth? I know they tell me they do, but do they really? Don’t bullshit a bullshitter.
I left the car on empty. I knew I should have gotten gas on the way home! Total douche move.
3. Strange noises in the middle of the night
Was it a possum? God, their tails are nasty. It could be the neighbor’s cat shitting in my yard. I’m gonna catch that son of a bitch one of these days! Maybe it’s a skunk. What if it sprays the house … again?! Do I have enough baking soda for a spraytastrophe? Don’t some skunks carry rabies?
The dog is outside … God speed.
Maybe it’s a robber. That neighborhood watch program is a joke. No one gives a shit. And the neighbor across the street is a total asshole. I need to start keeping a baseball bat under my bed.
There’s definitely a poopsies brewing.
Lying awake not sleeping, contemplating why, in fact, you are not fucking getting your shut eye.
I should be sleeping! I’m exhausted. Why am I sweating? I smell B.O. Gross, it’s me! Why do I smell like a roofer in Phoenix? Is this pre-menopause? What’s wrong with me?
You think that perhaps a doctor’s appointment is in order, but first you make a mental note to browse Web MD in the morning so you can scare the shit out of yourself and confirm via Internet diagnosis that you do, in fact, have four different life-threatening illnesses.
Hearing your child’s first midnight cough.
Shit! Is it a cold? Croup? Allergies? The Bird Flu? Or is it just him choking on one of the one hundred spiders we supposedly swallow in our sleep every year? What if it’s a black widow? Is that possible? I thought those bastards only lived in woodpiles.
You fly out of bed to go check on him, flashlight in hand, channeling your inner Sherlock Holmes in search of any eight-legged assassins.
I need to poop.
6. Self-critical bullshit
Picking apart your idiosyncrasies and flaws.
Why do I toss and turn so much? That’s why my crows’ feet are getting so gnarly. It’s from lying on my side. I knew it! Cindy Crawford says I should really lie on my back while I sleep. My chest looks like skin colored crêpe paper.
Why are my nipples so hairy?
Now I’m all worked up. When I get all worked up I have to poop.
Yep, I definitely have to poop.
Does this madness sound familiar? Anxiety, stress, paranoia, worry, insecurities, pre menopause … maybe. I’m still in denial. We are not insane, destined to walk the streets alone, incoherently babbling to our feet for the rest of our days. This is perfectly normal … right? Maybe I should ask Web MD? Maybe I should sleep on it?
Or maybe I should just take a deep breath and say “fuck it.” Because a mother’s mind is a frenzied, multitasking, over-analytical, truly magnificent place.