This Is Why I'm Such An Effing Tired Parent

This Is Why I’m So Effing Tired

Kristen Downs

I’m so f’ing tired! Parenting is exhausting and let’s be real with the issues.

I’m tired of waking at 2 a.m. effing hot. Not as in sultry sexy, but sweaty and awake to the world. This midlife crisis is maddening, as my husband is content in layers of covers and I feel his heat radiating from the other side of the bed. Blackout curtains pulled dark, I have no choice but to crank the A/C to polar ice cap temperatures, capable of freezing my son’s urine mid-stream as he races to the bathroom at 6 a.m. in the morning.

I’m tired of waking up tired at 6 a.m. when I hear the crystallization of my son’s fire hose stream, my neck in shear agony. Pillows are my nemesis and as soon as I befriend one, she turns on me faster than my teenagers’ hormones, angering my neck and what I refer to as “mom pain,” a chronic neck and shoulder spasm sure to be relieved when the children move out of the house. This is not to be confused with the “mom pain” (AKA, pain in the neck caused by my own mother’s visits and advice). Thankfully both “mom pains” are somewhat relieved by yoga, as if I can find the time to be Zen.

I’m tired of helicopter parenting. I believe in “detachment parenting.” Sure, I plan all sorts of Forced Family Fun #FFF together, but don’t expect me to play Four Square every time.

“Children be creative, you are lucky I birthed so many playmates for you,” I lovingly remind them. “Now go play in the street before I lock you outside!” I smile, desperately hoping for a moment’s peace.

I’m tired of constantly fighting the appeal of screen time with my children. It’s okay to be bored or play outside in the fresh air, rather than constantly entertained by the addictive programs. No, Fortnite is not approved at your age by Common Sense Media and I’m not the only mother on the planet who feels this way.

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In regards to screen time, I’m tired of the argument for the iPhone before high school. Bill Gates didn’t even give his children access before age 14. Believe you me, the flip phone you receive in middle school is “Flipping Awesome” and has all the talk and text you need to be socially connected and not addicted before healthy boundaries can be established. Be thankful your parents are “retro,” which is in fact cool again!

I’m tired of marriage being work, especially with four kids. We look less like lovebirds in pictures and more like exhausted parents. Resilience is what defines our marriage after 23 years, and we demonstrate that to our children daily. Resilience and a healthy dose of electronics ensures the stability of our relationship, thanks to the fact that our children will be transfixed for a solid hour or two while we sneak away for a date. The irony.

I’m tired of being told I’m too sensitive. It’s my goddamn super power and the cause of feelings so strong I literally feel everything to the core. Like at 2 a.m. in the morning when I’m tearing the covers off and solving world peace in my head.

Speaking of world peace, I’m f’ing tired of the news, both the reality and sensationalism of it. I’m tired of my children’s schools having lock downs because of gun threats. I’m tired of having the conversation that locked guns/ammunition are the minimum level of safety we require for our child to visit your home. I’m tired of college becoming unaffordable for Americans. I’m tired of arguing that all lives matter and #MeToo, while peaceful protesters at the downtown ICE office face armed guards with shields and semi-automatic weapons, as children remain separated from their parents at the border. I’m tired of climate change not being addressed and wonder if my children’s children will have a planet to call home.

No wonder I lie awake at 2 a.m. sweating my ass off while the rest of my family freezes theirs. I fear for my children and hope they chose positive influences in their lives. There is no rest for the weary when peace and tolerance is merely a bumper sticker along with hope and change.

Oh, and I just figured out why I’m so hormonal. Damn! I’m tired of that too, and it’s unpredictable appearances at my age.

Today I ran faster miles than my exhausted body should’ve allowed. Perhaps I ran faster because lost in my thoughts, I began to see the silver lining in my fortunate life, health and family. Positive endorphins accumulated as the sun warmed my face. I have earned my tired, no regrets! I have the rest of my life to enjoy a nap when my children flee our home all too soon.

Along the trail, my worries somewhat dissipated (at least until 2 a.m.) and I became reenergized. I am once again resilient enough to parent and partner another day. “Kids, we’re off to the swimming pool for some #FFF,” I exclaim like a rock star parent as my children begrudgingly reach their screen time limits.

Parents, sleep well knowing you are not alone in your exhaustion. I literally have no idea how I summoned the strength to write this. You better believe my family will be bundled up in parkas tonight.