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To the Tired Mom

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Last night my 4-year-old decided to sleep next to me.

He slept amazing.

I didn't sleep. Sleeping with a 4-year-old is like sleeping next to the hands of a clock. As the night wore on I was inevitably met with feet in my face then hands and then back to feet.

I woke tired. More than tired. I woke wondering why I don't have my red mini Keurig set up in my room waiting with a mug underneath and all I have to do is hit brew.

He woke up happy.

I love you mommy.

He had no idea how tired I really was or how my back was sore or how I really just wanted to sleep for five more minutes -- he just was grateful to see me.

And you?

Are you a tired mom?

Are you waking up wishing for more hours in the day? Are you pushing yourself to limits that you didn't have? Working? Cleaning? Mothering? Wondering? Dealing with kids that are fighting over whose turn it is to play Club Penguin on the computer? (or maybe that's just me) Are you wondering whether what you're doing every day makes a difference? Are you tired of the same routine?

Sometimes being a mom means simply being tired.

Sometimes being a mom means feeling a bit lonely. Like no one else notices what we're doing. After all, no one would know that I had maybe a solid 42.4 minute chunk of sleep last night except that I wrote about it. Well, the gals at Starbucks might know when I come in and ask for a venti caramel macchiato. (Be ready, my Barista friends.)

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Motherhood is so often this giving of self in our homes that no one sees. We work. We make macaroni and cheese and forget to take the noodles off and so they become mushy. We pick up Little Tikes toys in the backyard again and again and wonder why we have so much plastic. We fold frayed towels, match socks, call doctors, wash walls that have handprints on them, wash sticky faces, help with long division (is it ever easy for any child?), clean the kitchen, wipe down the microwave after our 9-year-old decided to zap something for too long, we go to work, come home from work, we work at home, we mother all day, we do whatever that each of our stories are, and then we go to bed.

Yeah, we could argue that it's just motherhood. And it's just what moms have had to do forever.

You know what? We have. Since the beginning of time moms have had to get up, had to deal with kid issues, money issues, teaching issues, health issues, and so on.

But, just because we've always had to do something doesn't mean it doesn't need to be celebrated and honored. Motherhood, parenthood, they're amazing things. It's not just roses and sunshine and skipping though the meadows holding hands. It's real hard stuff. Stuff that doesn't seem like it will push us to our limits and yet it does. Stuff that gives us great joy and puts a smile on our face and an hour later has us wondering why in the world the 4-year-old is making us want to pull our hair out.

We go into the world and do our jobs and smile at the other preschool moms and order our lattes and drive down the interstate and get groceries and we smile.

You're not alone. Do you hear me?

You. are. not. alone.

The other moms in preschool, at the grocery store, at work, at school, at co-op classes, at the doctor's office, at where ever you may be, well chances are that they might feel tired as well. Wondering about all this motherhood stuff. Yet, still giving of self for those kids that you love.

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So today, today, I stand up and salute you the tired, and yet amazing, mom. You, the mom with no sleep. You, the mom who needs encouragement. You, the mom who works and works and works for her family and it feels like no one notices. You, the mom with those three kids under 5 who never gets a break. You, the mom with the newborn who never gets sleep. You, the mom staying up late waiting for the teen to come home. You, the mom. Plain and simple. You, the mom.

Motherhood is a brave journey. It's always been this brave thing to raise another independent, pushing the limits, melt your heart at night, love them forever even when they drive you crazy, human.

That's what you're doing. Even on those tired days.

You. The amazing, brave, empowered, no sleep yet fighting, awesome, cool, mom.

Who needs sleep anyway, right? (Oh yeah, and get that extra shot at Starbucks.)

This post originally appeared on Finding Joy.

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