I have been wrestling with feeling so depleted and tired–physically, mentally, emotionally–that I feel as though I have reached the point where my soul is tired. I walked through my house today, squirming baby on my hip and chasing after a toddler, and my eyes shifted from each part of my house where I feel like I just am not measuring up. The dishes piled so high in the sink that they overflow onto the counters, the multiple meals that have fallen and dried onto my floor before I could wipe them up, the avalanche of clothes cascading around my washer from each day I thought I would finally put the clothes away. There doesn’t seem to be an end.
It isn’t that I don’t try, there just isn’t enough time…or energy…to make all as new once again. There are times when I get into a mood where I seem to tap into this hidden well of energy and drive and after hours of working tirelessly, I look around and gleam at my accomplishments. It feels good. Damn good. But, then we begin a new day and it is as if all of that effort and time I dedicated to it was for absolutely nothing. It takes less than 24 hours to fill up the sink and the floor with toys. I have found that I have reached a point where I have lost the motivation. After all, I have been told that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I like to think of myself as a rather sane individual. We all have our moments. So how could I expect to attack everything that is expected of me, day after day, month after month, and not be affected by the lack of true gain.
I put both of my boys to bed and fell into the couch exhausted from another ordinary day. A day filled with irrational battles waged by a 3-year-old. Some days are better than other days, but every day with a toddler is an emotional roller coaster. There seems to be no dusty floor to the rabbit hole of emotions they tumble down, but there is a definite end to the peace and energy I have to trail after him with. Some days I reach it long before the end of the day. Throw in a 10-month-old with separation anxiety and you have yourself a theme park. The clock blinked 8:05PM, and yet I felt like I could curl up on the couch and fall into a deep sleep myself. Despite the fact that I have desperately longed for this time to myself all day. I looked over at the pile of empty hangers twisted and mangled among themselves and thought, “Yeah, no, not tonight either” and said, “when does it end?”
I promise, there is an end to the dried baby food and spaghetti sauce slung onto the floor by your toddler refusing to eat; the injuries acquired from miniscule toys coating the floor like a blanket of snow; the nights spent waking up every three hours and never truly entering REM; and yes, despite what it feels like now, there is an end to how much poop you have to wipe up and wash out in a day. There is one shattering realization that I found when desperately searching for an end to the domestic warfare waged each day in my life. The end to all of this that I wrestle with simultaneously means the end to so many cherished, priceless moments that I hold so dear.
There will be a time when my children no longer need to be cradled in my arms to fall back asleep in the middle of the night. They will sleep through the night and my bed will be mine alone. Although there are some restless nights where that’s all I can seem to think about, it is at that time I will long to feel their loving, warm embrace just once more. There will be a time when our battles are no longer over him finishing his food, or why he can’t use the baseboards as his canvas, and these trivial fights will give way to a bigger war with serious repercussions–think teenagers trying to find their way in the world. There will be a time when I will not have to negotiate how many bedtime books we can read that night, because I am exhausted and desperate for the ability to refill my cup to meet tomorrow’s demands. But then I will no longer see my toddler beaming with excitement as he races to the side of his bed with his arms bursting with books. I will no longer have him scrambling onto his bed to curl up next to me as I read them. There are times when my eldest asks, “more squeezies, more kissies, more huggies” and I groan because we have done this dance three times already and it seems like a game he plays to simply delay bedtime just 5 more minutes. But there will come a day when my son not only stops calling them “squeezies, kissies, and huggies,” but stops asking for them altogether as he feels “too old” for them.
As our children age, the load we carry alone becomes a little lighter as we teach them responsibilities (and cleanliness…), but at that same time their sweet, constant affection and innocent mannerisms fall away forever. I promise there is an end to the domestic warfare we all feel we are losing at some point, but think upon all that we have that we are not ready to lose. There is an end, but thankfully it is not today.