This is a topic that I am sure is discussed behind closed doors but called many other names. Honestly accessing the state of my motherhood is truly a sensitive subject. One that I rarely discussed until recently. I only discuss in safe spaces (or so I believe) in the confines of my most trusted confidants because it’s taboo to talk about anything other than the joys of parenting. Quite frankly, people judge (those with children and those who do not have children—the audacity right!). From fully embracing it to running from it for months, I have found that parenting is a growth process and is richly rewarding if you undertake the responsibility. It is riddled with opportunities to learn and heal for all involved, however; it requires an enormous amount of energy, effort, awareness, agility, flexibility, and disciplined action. Life never stops and neither do the demands of children. There is no eject button. Which led me to a personal discovery that I call parenting fatigue.
Fatigue is a noun and a verb so I go with both. An extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or to cause (someone) to feel tired or exhausted, to weaken by repeated variations of stress. ALL OF THIS!!! For so many reasons and in so many ways.
I am a 35 year old mother of three children (11 yr old girl, 7 yr old girl and a 6 yr old boy). I have navigated ALL of my adulthood as a parent and parts of my motherhood as a single parent or a wife (twice, no judgement). Each season I have learned but the most profound was recently when my girlfriend moved in and assumed (quite naturally, round of applause) her dream role as a ‘foster mother’ as she calls it. It was with her all encompassing aid that I discovered how depleted I was in my role as a mother.
The repetitive highs and lows of responding to the demands of life and parenting had taken a toll on me that I had not had time or space to truly acknowledge and restore. It was during this time that I was finally able to take a breath knowing that someone would stand in the gap and catch me. What a balancing act! I don’t have any fancy fixes or antidotes to resolve parenting fatigue but at least I now know that it is real. I am more aware that losing oneself in service to your role as mother or father, or any other parental guardian is a win only when you first take care of yourself. So to all my fellow parents be kind to yourself and do take heed of your needs each day as you do for those in your care.