“I’m so tired.” I whispered aloud.
I was sitting in my rickety twenty-year-old rocking chair as I fed my four-month-old his 5am bottle when I uttered those words. I was almost afraid to utter them, as if the calculating mind of a four-month-old would somehow use them against me and not return to sleep. But the thought of holding those words in was even more frightening. I felt the need to be honest, even if I was the only consciously awake adult in the room.
I looked out our bedroom window. Through the exposed screen I could see four furry legs walking past and I heard his tag jingle jangle. I saw the legs of its owner follow suit. I saw two rubber bicycle wheels zooming peacefully past and I wondered why these individuals would be up at this hour by choice. I wondered if they knew I was in here and awake, but not by choice. I wondered if they sensed my sleep deprived eyes burning through them, briefly studying them and wondering what thoughts were circling their heads. I looked at the two homes I could see through my chair’s position and wondered what was going on in their homes at their very moment.
It’s then that an interesting thought struck me. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I’m not the only mother who will speak “I’m tired” this morning, this week, this year or this lifetime.
My mind takes me to a small Oklahoman town where a mom in a farmhouse is just beginning to watch the light stream in through her shutters. She’s trying to keep her eyes open just long enough to put her baby back in the bedside bassinet. She’d appreciate another hour of sleep before her feet hit the floor again. And this time her shuffling feet will lead her to the kitchen and to her small coffee pot.
I see her in a Chicago suburb. She lives near Oak Park and she calls a beautiful brownstone home. Her upper story window looks out onto a thriving lawn and swaying willowy trees. Not too far from her home is the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park. She loves to write whenever she has the time and she’s hoping a walk past this landmark with her tot strapped into his carrier will spark her desire to update her blog.
I see a woman in a small apartment somewhere in New York City. Her early morning lullaby is the outside noise of taxis and honking horns. She hears people walking towards the subway as they chatter away on their cell phones. She hopes she’ll have worked up some nerve by 9am to strap her bubs into his stroller and walk a block to get a latte from that new coffee house.
At home in San Diego some of us will soon strap our babies into their car seats as we get ready to take their older siblings to preschool. After drop-off we might head home for a second round of coffee or we may head to Mission Bay to push our strollers around the paved walkway and behind the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa. We’ll let our thoughts out to play as we contemplate the rest of our day and we’ll hope that we brought enough snacks to pacify our babes during the walk back to the car. Either way, we’ll stay long enough to let the bay water blow a sweet breeze through our hair.
Others of us may be taking our newly mobile babies to Gymboree or maybe to Balboa Park or the New Children’s Museum. The airplanes coming in for landing above our heads will serve as an adult mobile as we drive to our downtown destination. We’ll revel in the beautiful sight of the water and tall, tall buildings that greet us along The 5.
I see you, mama. Although we’ve never met or perhaps have only met in passing, I feel our connection. We know what it feels like to be alone in a season of life they say is supposed to be the most rewarding. We know what it’s like to drink a cup of coffee and mercifully hope it will carry us at least until 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
You know what it’s like to be a frequent visitor of the kitchen at odd hours throughout the early morning to prepare your baby’s bottle. You know what it’s like to have a baby who takes a drink from your breast for comfort and hunger at any hour she pleases. Sometimes baby just wants you. Only your smell, your skin and your protective cradle will comfort her when her gums find no relief in the teethers that were marketed to promise relief.
I’ve now found my own mommy tribe, but I find great comfort in knowing you’re there. You might be around the block or just across Balboa Ave, but you’re there going through similar motions.
We are mom. We are all the “I’m so tired mom.” We’re in this together, through heartwarming moments, through the milestones and through the moments that shake our core.
As you’re putting your baby back to sleep and hoping their sweet eyes will shut at least thirty minutes more, think of me as I’m doing the same. Think of me as I hope my toddler will not come into my room the very moment my eyes finally trust themselves to close peacefully. Please know this- you are never alone even in your most tired and worn down moments. Connected by a common thread, we are in this together.
BIO: I’m Jeannette, a mom to two boys spaced four years apart who has chosen to write. I love to read and hope to one day conquer the book stashes that can be found in various places of my home. You can find me on Twitter @jromeswan