Exhaustion Is a Four-Letter Word

Posted by: , June 3, 2010 in 10:50 pm

exhausted final Exhaustion Is a Four Letter WordSeriously, how is the word “exhaustion” not a four-letter word? It would fit in quite well with the other four letter curse words, and those are the words I tend to say as soon as I realize I’m exhausted. Which is most of the time. And you guessed it, I curse a whole lot.

Truth is, we all lead a whole lotta life. Work, kids, men, chores, to-dos…the list goes on and on. Every morning on my way to work on the NYC subway, I feel like I could sink into my seat (which is quite possibly the most uncomfortable seat in existence) and pass out. It’s not just about keeping my eyes open. It’s about stopping them from recoiling into my skull, never to be heard from again.

Sooner than I’d like, I make my way into my office building and walk past the coffee cart in the lobby. My body reacts to the smell of hot, fresh, strong, designer coffee in such a primal way that, quite frankly, makes me a little uncomfortable to talk about. Still, I push past the designer coffee cart to my office for a cup of mild, crappy, free coffee. And after I proceed to drink it for the next three hours…by George, I think I’m going to make it.

When I stay at home with my toddler, it’s the same thing. Coffee and water, coffee and water. And, believe it or not, sleep doesn’t seem to really help. Of course, it’s helpful, but I never quite feel completely rested. I never spring out of bed ready to face the day coffee-free.

There is always coffee. I’m starting to feel like there will always be coffee. It’s now an involuntary necessity in my life, like oxygen.
Remember that blissful, mindless sleep you had before you had children — where you were out cold and dead to the world? It’s gone for me now. I hear every cough and every yelp. Even when there aren’t any, I think I hear them anyway. And when I don’t hear that, I hear my inner-voice going over tomorrow’s to-do list. Even when my husband gets up early with our daughter and lets me sleep, I can’t help but listen to them and feel a little guilty, like I should be up too. How sick is that? Like I don’t do enough? Don’t I deserve an extra hour one weekend morning? Yes, I do. But accepting that gift of sleep and reconciling the guilt I feel is apparently easier said then done.

However, I refuse to be defeated on this front. I’m on a mission to get high quality, low maintenance sleep back into my life. It might not be the kind of sleep where I lose track of what day it is like I had before my daughter came into my world, but it has to be better than this. I will accept the gift of sleep when it comes my way. I will wrap my head around the fact that I have more to give when I’m well rested, and less to give when I stay up late checking things off my never-ending list. There will always be things to do, and no reward for getting them done faster than anyone else. Time to conk out, catch up and catch some z’s. Steadily, religiously and happily.


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