I wrote this post about four weeks ago, while in Beaver Creek for Jeff’s two-week follow up for his broken femur. We just got back today (May 17) from his 7-week follow up. He’s healing well, and our life is already significantly more normal than it was when I wrote this, which is why I am so glad I jotted down these thoughts back then, before they faded.
I am writing this from the living room of a beautiful mountain home with a view of Beaver Creek Resort, where I can see the headlights from the snowcats snaking up the mountain, starting the grooming for tomorrow’s skiers.
Both spawn are asleep, and to my right is a large glass of cabernet. The dishwasher is humming, Jeff is reading. By all measures, I’ve got it made.
My energy reserves are so low that it would take a natural disaster (or worse) to propel me from my seat and do anything more taxing than gulping said cabernet.
I’m bone tired. I am more exhausted than I remember ever having been with newborns (and that is saying a hell of a lot).
And here’s why: since Jeff broke his femur a little over two weeks ago, I have been the only able bodied grown up in my house. And that means I have done everything required of an adult in a home with two dependent, needy, creative little boys and an invalid spouse.
This includes (but is not limited to):
- All childcare, from the mundane, to the delightful, to the strict, to the are-you-frickin-kidding-me-that-you-threw-my-car-keys-down-the-toilet, to the “I will only say it once: you either eat your dinner, or you go straight to bed.”
- Cleaning. Tidying, dishwashing, garbage-taking-outing, sweeping, wiping down counters and crusty place mats, cleaning dog and boy puke (thankfully not at the same time), laundry, and more.
- Cooking. Even though our amazing friends have brought us many dinners, I still prepare and serve three meals a day. Sure, I just heat dinner up. But with Jeff home convalescing, he needs breakfast and lunch, as do the boys, and probably me, too (though I won’t lie—a part of me hopes I’ll run myself ragged enough that 10 pounds miraculously slip from my frame. Fat chance, what with all the wine and chocolate I’m eating).
- Chauffeur. Jeff broke his FEMUR. Someday he will be able to drive again. Not quite yet. So I am le driver of the family.
- Grocery shopping. For the first time in my life, I wish I lived on an organic farm and could just go pick and/or kill dinner out the back door.
I’m going to stop myself here and admit that if we were having a conversation, I’d be whining and then say something like, “I don’t mean to complain…”
I DO mean to complain. I really, really do.
I had no idea how emotionally and physically draining it is to spend almost every single minute of every hour in servitude to my family.
Today I was thinking about why I was so tired when it hit me: this relentless effort takes more energy than it gives. And what I’ve experienced in the past two weeks is what most of my stay at home mom friends, especially those with no childcare, and my single mom friends deal with daily.
They are amazing and deserve a hell of a lot more praise than they get.
Since Jeff got hurt, I’m realizing how consciously I’ve (with Jeff’s cooperation, natch) structured my life so that being a mom and being domestic are only a few of the things I do. In addition, I write, exercise, and continue to develop and evolve as an individual.
And I’ve been a little evangelical to all my mom friends about how they, too, should cultivate some part of themselves that separate from their “mom identity.”
While that’s paramount to me, these past few weeks have clued me in that when your daily work requires so much energy output, you may not have the energy or desire to do anything at the day’s end other than brush your teeth and go to bed.
I’ve got a newfound respect for women who—for one reason or another—are the ones holding it all together. They truly are superwomen. Selfless and giving (even when they’re curt or lose their temper or fail to practice the best patience when dealing with a recalcitrant toddler), these moms work really hard.
To them I bow down. They’re awesome.