I wake up tired and go to bed tired these days. That’s life with a newborn.
At least that’s what it easy to tell myself.
Now don’t get me wrong; that is life with a newborn. But not just life with a newborn. That’s life with a job with a crazy schedule. Or life when you’re ill. Or pregnant. Or caring for a sick child or parent.
My real problems- not the exhaustion- start when I think I’m the only one. When I think I have it worse than anyone in the world.
That is my go-to reaction when I’m tired: self-pity. I’ve learned to constantly reframe what I’m thinking. There are a lot of people that are tired. For most of us, it’s a season and we will one day get more sleep.
(I’m skipping over the ‘drink coffee’ and ‘take a nap if you can’ parts of this story. I’m going to assume that we all wake up and caffeinate- if you’re into that- and try to nap if possible.)
In the meantime, I stop thinking (or talking!) about how tired I am. I don’t mean that I never say it. I have friends that I tell. I sent a friend a meme last week that said, “Slept great last night. Got a full 40 minutes.” I might ask a friend to pray for me or let Justin know that so that he understands when I crash after the boys are in bed. But just because you say it to someone, doesn’t mean you say it to everyone (that’s a life rule there, friends).
There’s a difference between telling my people and telling every single person how tired I am. There’s a difference between that and telling all of Facebook. There’s a difference between that and constantly mentally repeating- while I wipe off the table, while I walk down the hall, while I talk to a child- how tired I am right then.
The mental effort is the hardest part for me. I can shut up and not say it to other people, but what I tell myself is at least as important. It’s harder to not let it dominate my thoughts. I have learned that if I’m taking something away, I have to replace it.
- I try to pray for other people. I have a list for this very reason. I have friends with problems and struggles and trials and I try to be as concerned about theirs as I am for my own.
- I turn to praise. Instead of thinking about how tired I am while I wipe off the table, I can be thankful for the table, for food, for my family. I can be thankful for legs that walk me around the table and hands that move to wipe them off. I can be thankful for the energy and health to care for my people.
- I also imagine that I’m getting ready to do something exciting. It would have to be an extreme amount of exhaustion that would stop me from playing volleyball or going to ride roller coasters. I can get myself into that mindset for a while if I try.
There’s life to be lived; things I want (and need) to do. I can’t wait until I’m not tired or I’ll be waiting a long time.
Of course I’m tired. But is that the only story I’ll tell myself?
I don’t think so.