Dear Exhausted Momma—Welcome to the Club

Somewhere in the fog, I knew I was snoring.

Somewhere in the mercy of the unconscious, I knew it was not appropriate.

Somewhere in the bliss of desperately welcomed sleep, my mind argued with my body to stop it.

My body won.

I felt warm hands on my cheeks and heard my name from an unfamiliar yet recognizable voice.

“Mrs. Amerine…”

“Mrs. Amerine?”

You know the less than feminine snort-grunt-gasp combo?  The jolt back into consciousness that comes with the full body jerk-jump-startle and “What?!? Where am I?”

I did that.

I wish I had opened my eyes to find myself in my own bed. I wish I had opened my eyes to find my husband, Justin waking me to ask where the new package of diapers  was.  Alas, I opened my eyes to an acquaintance in a strange room.

Guilt.

Shame.

Humiliation.

How could I?

“OH my gosh!” I gasped and bit back tears.  The handsome, younger man patted my shoulder and said, “I am sure you needed this.”

He was right.

But my needs hardly removed the humiliation of falling dead asleep while being fitted for Invisiline Braces on my worn teeth.  The sympathetic dentist massaged my jaw. “You must be exhausted, and with all the tension in your jaw, lots of kids, and grinding your teeth – you aren’t getting good sleep.” I felt myself begin to doze again and immediately began to chatter.  I wasn’t drugged, was I? Had he given me laughing gas?

No.  There was no way to explain away the fact I had just legitimately passed out cold while he scanned my teeth in order to build a device to keep me from destroying my own mouth, during the 3 to 5 hours of sleep I get on any given night.  I started to sit up to leave when he explained, “I am not finished with your procedure…” I had no idea how I would stay awake while in the recumbent position, but I would be damned to make such a fool of myself again.  Regrettably, I did the toddler-esq full body jerk-awake thing three more times before I retreated to my car to sob in humiliation. Then I drove to the donut shop two doors down, parked in the back where no one could see me, reclined my seat and fell dead asleep for 26 glorious minutes.

My cell phone ringing woke me. Drool soaked my leather seatback. I looked in the mirror at the creases imprinted in my cheek, straightened my blouse and drove to Starbucks for the fuel needed to make it through the rest of the day.

mom-steering-wheel

I am tired.

This is how I roll.

Passing out in public, in frantic need of sleep.  Continually at the end of my tether, I am confident at my next dentist appointment the charming, gleaming white toothed staff will look at me with pity. All the while, struggling to disguise the giggles I have afforded them after my awkward power nap/coma at the last visit.

I am embarrassed, but not so ashamed that I have sought out a new dentist. No, my dentist office is one of my favorite places.  I have the staff thoroughly convinced that I suffer from a clinic diagnosis of dental phobia.  This is a real thing, and I do dislike the pain of dental work, but I actually go there religiously  for gum health, but also so they will sedate me.  It is kind of like going to the spa, a spa that is covered by insurance.  The calendar on the fridge has a reminder card attached, so I won’t forget my next visit. But my iPhone calendar is marked, NAP for the scheduled event.

Like a seven-year-old with an Advent calendar counting down the days until Santa arrives with her new dolly – I mark off the timing in joyful anticipation of having my gums scraped. My stomach lurches with a sadist anticipation as I near the date of my next cleaning.  I half-assedly brush, and never floss in the hopes I might need some kind of procedure that would afford me hours at my dentist’s office.

All this to say, I know.

I know the fatigue you face.

We are a club – a sorority of obsessed and sleep deprived women – maintaining life, dinner, and clean pants for people we love that are slowly and meticulously trying to kill us. All seven of my children woke me last night.  One of them is nearly twenty-two years old. One of them is 15 months old. The two-year-old woke me at 1:27 am. He was holding a butcher knife, a cutting board, and a block of organic pepper jack cheese.  The 18-year-old texted at 1:18 am – he wanted to know how much money was in his savings account and if Belize would honor his lifegaurd certification.  The 14-year-old came into my room at 3:36 am to inquire if I had maxi-pads and Midol.

I had a hysterectomy in 2001.

I hear you, tired mommas.  You are my sisters.  Sure, you may have giggled upon hearing that my charming dentist had to wake me from a less than attractive slumber, but the solidarity didn’t flee from you. The companionship and heartful jealousy that I actually slept will taunt you today.  We both know you are scheduling an appointment to have your teeth cleaned. I know you will start scoping out donut shops that have minimal visibility parking lots so you can rest your eyes… just for a second the next time you have a sitter.

I know how tired you are.

Someday, there will be abundant rest.  Until then, do not be ashamed. Find an old-school tanning salon with 30-minute beds. Fein an appendicitis or kidney stone… do whatever you must to get even just a moment of unadulterated napping.

I feel your pain.

You are not alone. The struggle is real, the defeat universal.

May your floors be sticky and your teeth be decayed. Love, Jami

I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.Psalm 3:5

This article originally appeared at Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors. Follow Sacred Ground, Stick Floors on Facebook!


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Jami Amerine
Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami's Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don't ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at http://sacredgroundstickyfloors.com/ or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sacredgrounds.stickyfloors/ or Twitter at twitter.com/jamiamerine, and check out her Jubilee Road Podcast.