You’re Tired Too, Aren’t You?

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End-of-day selfie, Ottawa, May 2018

I’m tired. Not the oops-passed-out-on-the-carpet-again kind of tired I experienced when Mark was a baby, but I feel drained.

No, please read on—it’s not a pity party, I promise. I’m sure you can relate. That said, if you’re really tired, maybe just go to bed and bookmark the article for tomorrow. TO BED! NOW!

As for me, I’m not that sleepy but I’m staring at my computer screen, unable to focus, mentally listing what’s left to do, trying to figure out if I can do it faster, enumerating what will have to wait again.

And I’m not being very productive.

Okay, maybe I do need to go to sleep.

A few hours ago, after a workout, a gym buddy asked me what my plans for the evening were. This is the usual locker room small talk after we’re done bitching about the number of push-ups we were forced to do.

“Let’s see… what time it is? Six o’clock? So walk home, stop by the supermarket to get some milk and bread, make the fucking lunch box…”

“Oh, that’s right, you have a kid,” she commiserated.

I paused for a second. Having a kid can be a convenient excuse for many things. And sometimes, it’s not even an excuse—yes, they do get sick (and unfortunately, being a parent doesn’t make you immune to their damn bugs); yes, they do take a lot of energy; no, they can’t just raise themselves.

However, most days, Mark isn’t the burden people imagine. Parenting a five-year-old is a hell of a lot easier than looking after a baby or a toddler. Mark changed a lot. He goes to school during the day, he needs some supervision but much less help with routine tasks, and he can entertain himself for a while (or forever, with the tablet). He eats, needs clean clothes and makes a mess from time to time, but hey… so do we. The household doesn’t revolve entirely around him anymore. And when I spend time with him, it’s usually because I enjoy it.

I shrugged, continuing the struggle with my sports bra—those are hard to take off. “Making the lunch box doesn’t take that long… and I have to make dinner for myself anyway, the guys probably ate already. Then clean up, go through the whole bath/story/bed routine, possibly vacuum under the coffee table if Mark ate dinner in front of the TV, return a couple of phone calls, check my emails, work, take a shower, and eventually eat and sleep. You?”

“Drive home, find energy to go grocery shopping, make dinner, and try to sleep early,” she replied.

Really, we’re all in the same boat.

What I find the most exhausting is all these mundane tasks, chores that have to be done no matter what and add up at the end of the day. Making the bed, doing the laundry, charging devices, putting recyclable trash in appropriate bins, getting the mail, doing the dishes, pairing socks, wiping down the sink, etc. I feel like I waste hours and precious energy on stuff that will have to be done again the next day, no matter what.

And that, my friend, is fucking draining. There are no shortcuts. I tried hundreds of these so-called “lifehacks” when Mark was a baby and most ended up being a complete waste of time. “Plan your meals for a month!” Yeah, right. “Reorganize your entire home for maximum efficiency!” Ah ah, sure, let me spend a week on that…

Is there a better way to “get things done”? The only one I know is to delegate the task—there’s a reason why we all get so many flyers for takeout orders and why the gig economy is doing well.

You can also try not giving a fuck. One of my most relaxing moments of these past few years is the weekend I caught a stomach virus when Mark was at daycare. Despite the unpleasant symptoms of the least glamorous bug ever, I felt truly relaxed. I couldn’t have worried about my to-do list even if I had tried—I was unable to eat and do anything, I just had to let the bug run its course.

And if you think I’m weird, I’d like to share that a few months ago, a friend of mine—two young kids, a full-time job, no family around to help—confessed she fantasized about spending a few days at the hospital with a mild virus, hooked to an IV drip and possibly just contagious enough to be left alone. My other friend and I nodded approvingly.

Indeed, you can’t really take a day off from life.

Heaven forbid if you add a demanding job, a long commute, big projects, ambitions, commitments or to your basic let’s-just-make-it-through-the-day plans.

It never ends.

And now I have to proof this article before publishing it. I’m telling you. It never ends.

 

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

9 Comments

  1. Girl preach !! It never ends….

    My fantasy is being able to take a few days off from work (while still being paid ) and do nothing and Bing watch tv shows. I know it is weird.

    I’m tired too so time for coffee !! 🙂

    • That’s not weird at all! Watching TV shows is relaxing!

      I think most Canadian workplaces don’t offer enough time off :-/

      Coffee soon, I promise. I’m just dealing with a lot of work right now (which is great, as a freelancer!)

  2. Thank you, for that, It was needed this morning!

    I actually don’t really have that kind of fantasy because, when I am really really really tired, I just say I take the day off and it’s daddy time to take care of everything 😀
    I feel spoiled!

    • Feng does at least 50% of the work and I’m grateful for that because frankly, I couldn’t live in a world where the wife does everything. Plus, I’m not even *good* at everything.

  3. I actually used to have the very same fantasy you friend had 🙂 For me, the evening routine is the worst…. Repas, bains, routine du coucher, table à débarrasser, lave vaisselle à vider, lave vaisselle à remplir, lunch à préparer, machine à faire tourner… j’essaye de ne jamais faire la liste de ce qui me reste à faire sinon je virerai dingue

    • Same here! And I think I have it easier actually because my flexible schedule allows me to go grocery shopping during the day, occasionally do a load or two, etc. The downside is the fact I work most evening and weekends.

  4. I don’t have a kid but I can relate to that !! I feel I have a million things to do (on a variable scale of importance). Now, I’m just wondering how I would do when a baby will be with us… It’s not for now, and I will have time during pregnancy to deal with the things I keep procrastinate, right?
    Another thing, when did our lives become busier than our elders’ who had way less technology and facilities around them? How would we do if we had to garden to eat, to actually do the laundry than just press a button, etc.?

    • You made a very good point: how can we possibly be busier than previous generation who had longer workdays and less technology to help?! Crazy, isn’t it?

      Babies do take a lot of time and energy but not forever… they do grow up, eventually 😉 We all adapt, I think! Kind of like for any major change, like a new job.

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