I had dinner with a work friend the other night, and we started talking about kids. She’s a lot younger than me (damn her!) and hasn’t started thinking about starting a family yet. She said “I don’t know if I can do it. I’m already so tired with work and all. I don’t know how you do it.”
Oh girl, I remember when I used to say I was tired. Back in my 20’s, I thought I was SO busy. I thought I was working SO hard and SO tired all the time. I’d like to go back to my 20-something-year-old self and give her a big eye roll emoji. If you only knew what tired was!
Here’s what I told my friend: Your definition of “tired” changes after kids. This is nothing to take away from all the 20-somethings busting their ass at work. I’ve been there. Believe me. But what I thought was “tired” then is not what “tired” means now.
After you have a newborn, you realize the human body can actually function on 3 hours of sleep. You might want to kill every person in sight, just ask my husband. But you can move, eat, take care of another human on 3 hours of sleep. And not just one night, but for like seven weeks straight. It’s quite astonishing. That my 20-something friends is tired. If I get 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, that’s a good day. On those days, I’m ready to conquer the world. If I had gotten 3 hours of sleep in my 20’s, I was more than likely hungover and on my way to McDonald’s
To my 20-something self that thought I was “busy”, eyeroll. Yes, I worked A LOT to get to where I am. But again, every minute of the day was my time. I decided how to spend it. If I wanted to nap, I could nap. Now my minutes are dictated by a very temperamental 3-year-old and needy 5-month-old. There’s more bills to pay; there’s more groceries to buy; there’s three other humans that depend on me for their survival. Yes, I included my husband in that number. But here’s the scoop, I’ve learned how to maximize every minute of the day. I wake up early and do work before the kids wake up. I work during nap time. I work after the kids go to bed. I buy my grocery on Amazon. I rent my clothes online. There’s no wasted parts of the day wondering through the mall or grocery store. So again, “busy” is just a different definition now.
Here’s the other thing, I don’t really think about how tired I am. One of my favorite motivational speakers Rachel Hollis describes it as “embrace the chaos”. Yes, I’m busy. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, my house is a disaster. Yes, I have no idea if I filled out the school registration forms, or if the sheets have been washed in the last week, or I picked up your prescription. I don’t think about it, because when you start to contemplate ALL THE THINGS it gets overwhelming. You just keep moving. You just keep crossing crap off the to-do list. There will always be 78 things on the list you won’t get to for the next 6 months. But what good does it do to think about how tired I am? Take another sip of that coffee and just keep moving.
So to my friend, embrace the chaos. Your mind and body will adapt to whatever task you throw out in front of you. Oh, and dear friend, please take a nap for me. Now that I’ve written this, I wish I could go back to my 20’s in the crappy apartment and cheap couch and take a few more naps