on tiredness

2 06 2010

I read a book recently called “momma zen” which talked about the challenge of being tired, as a mother.  I would say that I have never been so tired in my life, as when I was mothering an infant.  Though it has gotten better, now, after almost two and a half years, I still get very, very tired.

Little A has never been a “sleeper”.  Some babies, in mythical lands, I hear, sleep more than two hours at a time, even with cosleeping and breastfeeding.  Little A slept about two hours maximum, at a time, every night, more often than not waking once every 20 minutes or so.  So, I got to experience tired.

I would say that being tired has been the greatest challenge of motherhood.  All the other things, I am able to deal with, if only I have some sleep under my belt.  With little sleep, for years on end, it can become quite a challenge to find the patience and problem solving skills necessary to parent.

In the book “Momma Zen” the zen approach to tiredness is discussed.  And this is what it says (paraphrased of course) “if you are tired, be tired.”  Don’t try to be awake, don’t try to be anything other than really tired, defenses down and surrendering to the world around you much more than if you were fully rested.

So, now, I am, again, tired.  And I am learning how to just be tired.  Not to try to do more than I really need to.  I am learning to accept that, when I am tired, drinking coffee is not the best solution to find more patience and problem solving skills. In fact, it gives me less patience.  It just makes me feel like I should be “getting more done”.  I am learning to lie down in the afternoons, instead of staying awake being mindlessly unproductive, because I am too tired to do anything but feel like I should be doing something.

It is very freeing.  And difficult.

We live in a society that says that our worth is dictated by how much we do/make/create/perform etc.  There is very little respect for the process of Being, especially centered around mothering.  So, to say to someone “yup, I lay down all afternoon so that I could find more patience and compassion with which to raise my child,” can be much harder than “I organized my desktop and did a few dishes.”   (which, is about all I can get up to when I am tired anyways).

Allowing myself to “be tired” also provides a good example to little A.  It shows her that, when she feels tired, it is OK to rest.  She doesn’t have to keep playing until she screams herself into a frenzy.  She can just take a rest.  Like mama does.

It shows her that she, too, can be in balance with her physical and mental needs.

Tonight, I am going to allow myself to be tired and go to bed now, at 8:30.

Good night!




One response

2 06 2010

I haven’t had a full night’s rest in 10 years and I don’t think I remember how. I’m tired, everyday. When I was pregnant with my 2nd child, 6 years ago, I napped every afternoon. After F was born I went to bed at 7pm every night. Even now, 5 years and another child later, I almost always go to bed with the children. I don’t feel bad about it because I’m not a nice person or a good parent when I’m tired. But I also have a hard time staying awake while breastfeeding one child and having another rubbing my back and spooning me – their sleepiness makes me sleepy … and it’s delicious! Little A will learn about listening to her body and honouring what it needs by watching you, Mama.

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