As Lana Hallowes discovered, the sooner we come to terms with the fact that we're in the midst of our tired years, the happier we'll be. Here's why.
The other day a fellow mum said something to me that was a bit of a light bulb moment.
I was struggling to find my words as I chatted to her and my brain felt fuzzy.
“I’m sorry, I told her. I can’t even talk properly today. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
“You’re OK,” she said reassuringly. “You are just really, really tired. These are our tired years. We have young kids. We’re not losing it. We are just effing exhausted.”
So dear fellow tired parent, please remember …
It’s all understandable
When you accidentally fall asleep spooning your toddler’s little body into yours, because he couldn’t drift off without you, remember: these are just our tired years. You need all the incidental naps you can get.
When you put the milk away in the pantry and the cereal in the fridge, remember: these are just our tired years. You are not going insane.
When you don’t feel like having sex (again), remember. These are just our tired years. You love your partner but you chose sleep over intimacy, plus you may not feel that sexy at this point in time. It’s okay, you will again.
When you cry over your mother in law commenting that her grandson is “gaining lots of weight”, remember. These are just our tired years. You are hormonal and a little sensitive – she didn’t mean he’s overweight
Please be kind to yourself
When you feel heavy in the head after a bad night with your teething baby and then have to go to work and function, all the while feeling guilty your little one is in daycare, remember: these are just our tired years. You are amazing just trying to do it all.
When you flick ABC KIDS on the telly, even though you know they’ve had too much screen time today, remember. These are just our tired years. You are a good parent, but you need the break, and Peppa is a good babysitter.
When you breathe in a deep breath, hands still on the steering wheel, before coming inside to see your exhausted, over-it partner and little loves, remember. These are just our tired years. You adore your family and they adore you. You are just burning the candle at both ends with work and home life and are trying to muster up some energy.
You are still you
When you look in the mirror and see a dishevelled version of your former self, remember. These are just our tired years. You are still in there. You are still you. You are just worn out.
When you walk like a zombie through Coles, forgetting the entire meat section and come home with half the groceries you needed, remember. These are just our tired years. You have not got early onset dementia.
When your toddler asks you to play cars (again) and you sigh, feeling guilty that you don’t want to, remember. These are just our tired years. You are a fun, engaged parent and he adores you, but you are just a bit over it today.
When a little someone decides to start his day at 4.45 am and you’re leaning over the kitchen bench waiting for the kettle to boil to make a coffee, remember. These are just our tired years. He won’t wake before the birds forever.
Our tired years might be our best
So yes, these are our tired years and they explain a hell of a lot about why we are the way we are at this point in time, but they also won’t last forever.
One day, when you have more energy again – because a little someone is no longer little and no longer needs you at night or during the day because he is at school, or, gulp, all grown up and has left home, you will miss these years.
The years spent singing your baby to sleep, forgetting there is a whole world outside because he is your world now. Of picking playdough from soft wispy toddler hair after a fun crafternoon together. Of running sand through your fingers with your little loves at the beach because they don’t yet go to school yet. Of lying next to your preschooler in bed after story time and having her tell you she loves you more than the pretty rainbow fish. The one with the sparky scales. Her favourite.
Our tired years may actually be our best.
So until that day comes, enjoy all the snuggly naps with your little loves as you accidentally crash from exhaustion next to them when they go to sleep. And when you feel like you are losing the plot? Remember: These are just our tired years … but they might also be our best.
This article originally appeared on Babyology.
10 sleep truths I learnt after 30 years as a Mothercraft nurse
Kinderling Kids Radio's Mothercraft nurse Chris Minogue shares her secrets.
7 reasons why your baby or toddler isn’t sleeping
Babies grow at the speed of light! And this development affects their sleep.
When being tired signals health issues beyond sleep deprivation
Shevonne Hunt was feeling a tired, but figured it was just part of being a parent. Turns out it was something else entirely.
Why should cuddling my babies to sleep at night be a 'bad' thing?
I cuddle my little loves to sleep every night. But is that so bad?
11 sensory play ideas for babies (once they stop sleeping all the time)
Help grow their curious minds with these fun activities.
John Legend calls out how public spaces are letting down dads
We couldn't agree more.
8 things I hope my kids will always remember about their grandparents
Make the memories while you can.
12 things nobody warns you about before having a third child
Warning: this article may be a very effective form of contraception.