As parents, we’re always complaining about how tired we are because of our kids. Everything they do drains us. So, imagine for a moment being the one to actually do those things. Are you ready to curl up in a ball and sleep for a week straight? Being a kid must be exhausting. Here’s why:
1. They are moving ALL. THE. TIME. Adults always say things like, “If I could just bottle up a quarter of his energy,” or “I’m tired just watching her!” If we’re exhausted from the simple act of looking, think how exhausting it must be to actually do the moving. Running. Jumping. Spinning. Swinging from the chandelier. Go ahead, stop reading for a minute and watch your kids. Even when they’re watching TV, they’re wiggling, hanging upside down on the recliner, bouncing from cushion to cushion. Sleep doesn’t even give them respite. One of my kids tosses and turns all night long and the other routinely sleeps with his legs up in the air. How do you hold your legs up in the air while you’re sleeping?!
2. They’re like hyper-vigilant miniature police officers. This is especially true of the young school-age set who are learning social norms and feel that it is their civic duty, or more accurately, their God-given right, to point out to adults what every other child is doing wrong everywhere every second of every day. Adding to the exhausting nature of this task is the fact that they must carefully ignore their own wrong doings.
“Mrs. Jones, Billy is using a pen! We’re not allowed to use pens!!” “Thank you for being the classroom’s confidential informant, you annoying little tattletale.”
“Mom, Sally just hit me!” “Oh really? Was it perhaps because you just nailed her in the head with Daddy’s golf club?”
All that vigilance? Phew, I’m wiped out.
3. They always need something. “Mom, can I have some water?” “Mommy, I can’t find my Spiderman mask!” “Moo-om, she’s looking at me.” “Can I have a snack?” “I’m bored!” “This project is due tomorrow and I haven’t started it yet.” “He kicked me!” “Will you help me build this?” “What’s the capital of Germany?” “There’s a bead stuck in my nose.” “I’m starving!”
Yeesh. Chill out for two seconds, guys. If your needs don’t get met right this minute, the world will not end, hard as that is to believe. All that neediness has got to be exhausting.
4. They always have someone telling them what to do. I know, I know, the life of a kid is pretty great. Playing all the time, no responsibilities, someone else taking care of all their needs. But even then, there’s always an adult somewhere nearby, ready to ruin their fun. “Don’t touch that; it’s not a toy.” “Stop making a mess!” “No you can’t eat cookies for dinner.” “Time for bed!”
Adults on the other hand, while subject to the demands of bosses and responsibilities, can still do what we want most of the time. Cookies for dinner? Of course! Staying up too late to catch up on DVR’d shows? You know you’ll regret it in the morning, but right now you can do whatever your little heart desires because you are a grownup and no one can tell you no. Imagine how tiring it would be to have someone dictating your every move. Those poor kids.
5. The EMOTIONS. The following conversation took place between my son and me recently. Actually, no, it wasn’t a conversation. It was a monologue, complete with dramatic motions, like him throwing himself despairingly on the couch and then on the chair and then back on the couch.
“They don’t want to play with me. [Thud] They don’t want to play what I want to play. They said they’d play baseball with me and they only played it all morning with me and [muffled because face is pressed in cushion] now they said they won’t play it anymore because they want to play something else. They’re mean. They hate me. [Thwack] I hate them. They’ll never want to play with me again. They’ll want to run through the sprinkler all the time for the rest of the Summer and they won’t want to play anything else that I want to play. [Crash] And they’ll never play with me again. [Volume and pitch increase to nearly unintelligible screech] And I WON’T PLAY WITH THEM EITHER because THEY. ARE. MEAN!! [Normal voice] Hey look, now they’re on the swings. See you later Mom!”
By the time he went back outside, I was ready for a nap. I can’t even imagine how exhausted he was, having been the one who actually rode that roller coaster. And kids are like this with everything. Happy, sad, angry, excited; every emotion is played out on full throttle. Moderation is not in their vocabulary.
So yeah, as parents we’re pretty wiped out at the end of every day (and even sometimes at the beginning). But the next time you’re feeling particularly tired, just remember the ones who made you that way and what they must be going through. Then tell them to go to their room for rest time so you can eat a big bowl of ice cream out of their view.
Maybe this adult gig ain’t so bad.
Related post: 10 Ways Being a Kid Sucks
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