I went out for breakfast with a friend not long ago, and she spoke about being exhausted. She’s single, late 20s, no kids, and works a very physically demanding job in the medical/health industry. She’s definitely not a party animal, so most of her weekends aren’t exactly spent stumbling into her home at 4am. During this catch up she mentioned how tired she’s been feeling. She stopped herself in her own tracks, turned around to me and said, something along the lines of, “but obviously nothing compared to you.” In return, I said, “don’t be silly. Your job is full on and takes a lot out of you. You have the right to be the same level of exhausted as me.” We let out a giggle and she replied with an appreciative gesture, “thanks for getting it, G”. This conversation got me comparing my tiredness, from pre-baby to post-baby. And my conclusion… I see no difference between the two.
I’ve always been a horrible sleeper and I’ve always had a job that requires me to be on my feet a lot, and being in the customer service industry, that can be mentally challenging, also. That shit takes a lot out of you. Then there’s the every growing demand of catching up with friends and family on the weekend, maintaining my health with gym or Pilates for at least five days a week, whilst also maintaining a home and all that that requires.
To further explain, It’s very rare that I’ll enjoy a full consecutive 8 hours sleep. I wake often. Don’t ask me why or how it happened. I like to blame the questionable decisions I made in my teens and early 20s that included sacrificing sleep (didn’t we all?). I’d often go from work to a night out, or a night out and then to work with barely any sleep, and that’s if I even saw my bed that night. I barely napped either. Then there were my teens when I would stay up on MSN all night, to the disappointment of my mother, with school the next day. I could do it back then, but fair to say, I won’t even dare to try now. Most of us went on without sleep, and it never affected us. It definitely affected me in the long run.
But when I think of it, it’s no different to now; waking up often to check on baby H. But here’s the interesting bit… I’ve never been more awake during the day ever in my life. I guess you could put it down to just being more alert because the responsibility I have now is more personal, and being alert to deal with a Karen or Barry is not as important when comparing the two. Here comes the twist. The tiredness really kicked in when I went back to work. So one must ponder, is it work that exhausts us more than kids? Is it a mixture of lifestyle and a bad sleeping habit? Could it have anything to do with the level of responsibility that one has? If I had all the time in the world, I’d conduct the proper research and maybe even create a survey, but I don’t, so here is the punch line…
Whatever is making you tired, whether it’s dealing with your 3 kids under 5, or your physically or mentally demanding job, can we just stop playing the ‘who is more tired’ game, and agree that it’s the same level of exhaustion? No one is more tired than the next person. I’ve been in multiple conversations where someone will throw out the comment, “wait until you have kids,” but guys I have a kid now. I’m not any more tired.
I know not every mum is going to agree with this. We all lead different lives, have different levels of stamina, and not forgetting the difference between every child we are raising. My point is, I don’t want anyone to feel bad about telling me, a 32-year-old, 30-hour a week working in retail mum of an almost one-year-old, that they’re tired. Parenthood is not the most tiring occupation. Life in general is. There. I said it. Sue me (not literally, please).
*I’d love to hear your feedback on this subject. Comment below, or message on this post on my Instagram @georgia.ggt*