I Am Tired, and Here Are Five Reasons Why

Firstly, it's because it's May, that jolly month of singing bluebirds, budding trees, and 48 bazillion end-of-year school events all squished into four short weeks.  I am moving so fast that I think I may have actually bumped into myself in the garage this afternoon. 

Secondly, ever true to my tendency to tackle ridiculously large projects all at the same time, I decided to start the FlyLady system this month.  (If you don't know about FlyLady, you'll just have to click over and see–suffice it to say that it is a wonderful system which will ultimately make my life much easier, but today?  I'm just as overwhelmed as I can be.)  To make matters more complicated, what started as a momentary flash of frustration over my inability to find the cough syrup has launched into a huge, existential crisis about how I manage my time and stuff and home and family, and I'm trying really hard to break some old habits.  I'm thinking the first habit I should break would be launching existential crises during the month of May.

Thirdly, my firstborn son did something Very Grown Up this past weekend–something wonderful and right and something that required a significant amount of Letting Go on my part.  And remember how I've told you before that parenting older kids gets easier than it is in those difficult preschool days?

I take it back.

It's not easier.

When they hand you that baby in the hospital, you have a vague sense of the sleepless nights ahead, and the temper tantrums that may loom in the next couple of years.  What you cannot prepare yourself for is the reality of letting go, that it is not something that happens overnight when they leave for college–it happens in tiny, exhilirating, difficult, glorious small steps.  They don't tell you that you will get whiplash from jumping from profound fear to profound pride all in the same milisecond.  They don't tell you that it is possible to hold your breath for an entire weekend. 

And when you hold your breath for an entire weekend, it turns out you're tired at the end of it.  Thrilled and happy and proud and wiser, but wiped out beyond words.

Fourthly, as long as I'm dishing out the parental angst, I watched my sweet little daughter dance in her first recital this weekend, on a giantic stage in a massive auditorium.  My girl was confident, sparkly and beautiful, even if she did perform the first half of her routine facing sideways, toward the wings.  Attemping to send telepathic messages to a tap-dancing four year old ("Face front, baby! Face front!") is exhausting.

Fifthly…well, there's not a fifth reason, actually, except that it bears repeating that it's May, and I am tired.

Here's lookin' at June, and a nice long nap.

56 thoughts on “I Am Tired, and Here Are Five Reasons Why

  1. edj says:

    I’m finding that parenting older kids (i.e. about 8-12, in there) is easier, but then it starts getting harder again. Mine are now nearly 14 and 12, and the intensity is racheting up. Still, it’s nothing like when I had 3 toddlers.

  2. angela says:

    When I had my first baby, I struggled with letting him go to day care at 3 months. A wise woman told me, that as soon as they are born we have to start letting go a little bit each day. And she was right. Now, with my second i told her yesterday that I couldn’t hold her 24/7, I already did that and I was done. Oh how time changes everything.

  3. *~Michelle~* says:

    So *high five* to you for the Fly Lady dealio……I heard great things about. Once I dig myself out of this clutter mine-field (meaning I have to tip toe as to not knock over the piles)….I want to try it out.
    I applaud you for embracing each stage of parenting…..sometimes it is a wrestling throwing down to the mat kinda embrace…….other times it’s a gentle warm fuzzy feeling kinda embrace. I have them up to almost 18, and although it’s been a rollercoaster ride…..I wouldn’t change it for the world.
    And thanks for the giggle with your daughter’s recital! Too funny…..did you cry seeing her up there? I know I cry watching little girls on stage, that I don’t even know…..on TV! (yeah, I am a sap)
    You must have been over the moon.

  4. Gloriana says:

    I’m feeling your pain… May is a crazy busy month for us every year (so is October). Unfortunately, it is followed in rapid succession by my daughter’s birthday (6/2), my son’s birthday (6/12), Father’s Day, Independence Day, and my husband’s birthday (7/6). So what did I do this year? I planned our family vacation for 6/25 – 7/3.
    Clearly, I have taken leave of my senses.

  5. Linda Sue says:

    The FlyLady thing shouldn’t make you more stressed – make it simple and take it slow – get that sink clean and enjoy it! I didn’t adopt all the stuff but the idea of zones really is good – thinking back to one of BooMama’s postings about taking all day once to dust a guest bedroom nightstand (doing too many things while trying to finish one). I don’t know about kids – don’t have any but enjoy other people’s children. May is a hard month because so many are graduating or moving on or up or some diagonal direction that takes them AWAY! Not sure I like AWAY but it is part of life. BTW didn’t you just write about how you are planning the summer – i.e. making plans to do things which MUST be done? You are truly a Joy Miz Shannon – honest and hardworking and dadgum funny!

  6. Heather Solos says:

    I have a teenage stepdaughter and for that, I’m grateful. She has two wonderful parents and I’m kind of like a spotter. I stand back, but I’m still ready to jump in and pull her to safety if need be. It’s a less vulnerable position than those of mom and dad who are having to slowly let go. I’m in awe and proud of the young woman she is and I know witnessing her growth gives me confidence as a parent with our other kids.
    As far as FLYlady, I embrace the idea, but not the emails. I wish you the best of luck.

  7. Laura P says:

    I love flylady. I started last May, for exactly the same reasons. I couldn’t find something tiny and I waste so much time looking for it and destroying my house in the processes I knew something had to change! Good luck!

  8. Heather S. :) says:

    To the letting go part I say Amen Sistah….you are preaching to the choir over here. I am becoming more aware of it in context of watching my 16 yr old experience “lasts” at home with us and then watching my 2 yr old experience “firsts”. It is so hard….bittersweet is a better term I think.

  9. Lee-Ann says:

    Hope June would just hurry up and get here! But then, you’d probably say, just like me, where did the time go?! These kids are growing up too fast!!

  10. Joanna @ Grace In The Home says:

    May is crazy, I totally agree. I started Flylady about a year ago and it really helped me get my housework into more of a routine. There are days that I don’t want to do my “tasks”, but I’ve found that if I stick with it, my overall workload will decrease and my home will be more pleasant and peaceful. My favorite Flylady advice? A clean sink. It seems that if my sink is clean, I can tackle anything!

  11. Carey says:

    I LOVE FlyLady. She changed my life! This May has been the busiest of my life, I think. My May had/has a school dance, a musical, a first Communion, five birthday parties, Mother’s Day, final exams, end-of-the-school-year chaos, graduation/baccalaureate, a graduation party, a housewarming party and I only have ONE child! So, I totally feel for ya. BUT, because of FlyLady, I managed to have a clean house despite it all. (Except for the morning after one of above-mentioned parties, that is…) Good luck!

  12. AprilMay says:

    Oh, I feel your pain! My homeschooling neighbor has been watching me zoom in and out of my driveway all month in bewilderment. May kills me every year! And as for letting go…let’s just say that is a particular struggle of mine! 😦

  13. MommaChelle says:

    I’m with you. Take the end-of-the-year school activities, mix in all of the yard work/planting, throw in a dose of supposedly non-drowsy allergy meds, and you’ve got yourself one exhausted and slightly blurry Momma.
    Let’s not even talk about how hard it’s getting to wake the children up for school!
    Oh my beloved Flylady…loved the system – hated the e-mails. I’ve been off the Flybaby wagon for a little while now, but am trying to jump back on. 🙂

  14. ML in Chicagoland says:

    “has launched into a huge, existential crisis about how I manage my time and stuff and home and family, and I’m trying really hard to break some old habits.”
    Ah, that was me two months ago. The stress it was creating in my, my marriage, and family was breaking us. We had a foot wide path from room to room. Everything else was boxes and toys and laundry and stuff!
    I finally just got started. It was hard – and it got worse before it got better. But now!! I can do daily tasks in about an hour, created staging areas for the routine tasks of life, and we can find things. Even better, my husband and I are enjoying each other again!
    Keep at it one small step at a time with prayer and faith that it will be worth it.

  15. Emily says:

    The good news is that summer’s around the corner! This weird time halfway between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer always does seem to be ridiculously busy.

  16. Diane says:

    Hi Shannon,
    I am de-lurking – I have a couple of times over the last couple of years – to say that it never gets easier. I thought that once they went to college, it wouldn’t be so hard, they’re grown up after all… I have one graduated from college (in Iraq as a missionary), two in college (one son getting married this summer, and a daughter visiting her sister in Iraq), and my baby (16) who is now driving his own car (he bought it himself with money earned cleaning apartments last summer – riding his bike to do in in the next town over, 7 miles away). My kids have all made great decisions for the most part, but even though I know God takes better care of them than I ever could, emotionally I still feel “responsible” for them. Thanks for all your perspective and humor. Even though I don’t comment much, I really enjoy it.

  17. Org Junkie says:

    I could never do the Flylady system myself as it seems much to frantic to me. Frantic makes me overwhelmed. Try creating your own organizing list of things to accomplish and commit to crossing off at least one thing everyday. You can do this, I know you can!!!

  18. MissQOKC says:

    I love FlyLady. I used to do the Fly thing but now I am dating a perfectionist and he cleans everything twice before I even know it’s dirty. He even naturally cleans out the sink before he leaves for work. It’s awesome! Before my kids grew up I remember feeling exhausted all the time…*sigh* I miss that.

  19. Adventures In Babywearing says:

    Oh, don’t even tempt me to click on over to Flylady. I do need to, though. I was just telling someone the other day that although most people think that I have it easier now that the baby is older, the truth is that it was EASIER when she was just a newborn. Things get harder. Not easier. But at the same time, it gets better and better. If that makes any sense? Probably not but that’s because I need a nap, too.

  20. T with Honey says:

    My 4 year old baby’s first dance recital is next month and I can’t wait to see her all Shirley Temple looking up on that stage.
    But I gotta know one thing from a mom that just went through it… is the $$$ (costume, tickets, professional video) and pre-recital schedule (ticket buying, photo session, dress rehearsal) worth it? For a 4 year old?!
    I can’t believe how many of the next few weekends have been seized by the dance schedule. I’m definitely not Dance or Stage Mom material but I’ll do it as long as Princess loves dancing.

  21. Jenn Hudson says:

    Shannon, once again you brighten my day. Your blog pops into my RSS feeder in my inbox and I love to see what my Rocks-lady has to say again. Thank you for your passion and your fervency to keep us all going!
    I started yesterday with my own 10-day ‘flight’ with attempting to get my mouth to speak the way proverbs warns us to speak: “wholesome” (positive, truthful & uplifitin) – it only took me until breakfast to realize this was not going to be easy!
    Thank you for the flyLady site, I’m passing it on to my twitter followers, and I’m gonna join you in the ranks myself! God is our strength and our ever-present help.

  22. mary bailey says:

    Whew! I’m exhausted just reading your post!
    All things will be better in May when school is OUT! Some people question my sanity when I say I’m ready for my son to be home all day, every day, but third grade has had a lot of growing pains and I’m ready for it to be over!

  23. AmyR says:

    May is a crazy month. But you MUST not look at FlyLady as a huge project. Baby steps Baby steps Baby steps. Your house and life did not get this way in one day so you can’t fix it in one day. Think of yourself as an infant. One small step at a time. FlyLady is NOT a sprint but a journey. Don’t give up and don’t get overwhelmed.

  24. Heather O. says:

    Just an FYI–I had to break up with the Fly Lady this year. It just wasn’t working out for us. Hope you’re relationship goes a little better. I did learn some things from her, but I was tired of having her little icon in my head all the time, like a little “good angel” on my shoulder who sent me boatloads of emails. It got so bad I just wanted to smack that little angel upside the head and wallow in my filth with a half gallon of ice-cream.
    That’s just me, though.
    I also relate to the small things turning into existential crises. Perhaps it’s hard wired into women, because men just don’t get it when I can’t find my kids’ shoes and start bawling about being the worst mother on the block. I see neglect, disorganization, and a complete lack of motherhood duty fulfillment. He sees a 7 year old who kicked his shoes under the bed.

  25. Amy in West TX says:

    I was flywashed about 6 years ago. I have fallen off the wagon many, many times, but I always go back to babysteps! Tonight, my lovely Flylady Feather Duster made it’s debut appearance in “Beauty and the Beast” put on by my youngest’s middle school choir. I was the costumer (why did I volunteer?) and had a fantastic time. Now on to the next project. Breathe deeply – nothing planned other than school for the next week and a half, then a week off before summer ballet, opera, sports medicine (other daughter), band and Shakespeare camps. Oh yes, and a high school band reunion thrown in there for me. And a visit with my son for his 20th birthday in July, he doesn’t come home from college for summers, prefers to just go right on thru rather than be bored at home. One of his Very Grown Up decisions.

  26. Carla says:

    I so remember those days when sleep was the last thing on the plate. Those days go by so fast you can’t believe it. I am feeling sad as I was watching old home movies yesterday remembering. Mine are 24 and nearly 30 now.

  27. Kim says:

    Ah yes… the pain of sleepless nights vs the pain of watching them grow. We say goodbye to our second son on Sunday as he heads to Africa for a short term mission trip. And, although this is “only” a short term mission trip it is a preparation for his life’s calling of being a missionary aviator. I believe Africa will become his home. Son number one is inclined towards Africa also… that takes some serious letting go. We should all be praying for each other that we can walk each step of the parenting path with grace, dignity, love, honor and remembering that we are merely stewars of these incredible people God has put in our lives. Isn’t this a great journey?
    (By the way, I have a total picture in my head of your sweet daughter and her recital. Oh… that’s a hard one.)
    Blessings, Kim

  28. Dawn W says:

    I hear ya on the whole May thing. And, I’ve been right there with you on the holding the breath for a weekend thing… twice. My biggie this month? My son has his first DATE on Sunday evening. Mama’s heart is right there in her throat and the tears threaten at the worst possible times. (The only upside is that we really like the young lady and she loves Jesus!)
    Now, regarding the Fly Lady. I beg of you… walk away. I tried her and the emails alone only added to the already sense of being overwhelmed. Please, please… come read my post from last Wednesday regarding the whole subject of housekeeping and the system that I found. It’s much easier, less overwhelming… and forgiving when something doesn’t happen. Becuase you know “something not happening” is just life.
    Post re: housekeeping:

  29. Amy @ Tiny Blessings says:

    I love Flylady. I do not love her 8,543,208 daily emails. If you’ve subscribed, set it to “Daily Digest” from the beginning and you will have less of an urge to scream at Flylady, I promise. I actually like the book better than the website- it’s less overwhelming.

  30. Stephanie says:

    Oh, I was hoping you wouldn’t say this. 😉 I was feeling quite encouraged that things do get easier. This baby/toddler stage is exhausting. It’s wonderful too, don’t get me wrong. But it’s also utterly, completely, and totally overwhelming sometimes.

  31. kelli says:

    So glad to know others are feeling the May tiredness. I was thinking really evil thoughts about the birds chirping this morning.
    Then I felt guilty that I hated on birds.

  32. donna reynolds says:

    shannon..you will enjoy getting things in order with flylady…i have been with her for about a year and it amazes me at how fun housework has become with me….i am a very busy 71 year old… a widow and enjoy playing the game of housekeeping with flylady..she only lives about 30 minutes from me…by the way i am a friend of your dear grandmother, (bonnie)i do enjoy your blogs as it brings back precious memories of my children growing up….donna

  33. Octamom says:

    So I should be writing a comment specifically about this post…but it’s Thursday. And on my FlyLady routine, Thursday means that I come over for your insight and wit about the latest episode of Lost…but now I have to wait until 2010. What am I going to do on Thursday mornings now? This completely derails my FlyLady mojo.
    Maybe we should start watching Season 1 again. And discuss.

  34. Ann Voskamp @ Holy Experience says:

    Last night, I’m tucking in my three best beloved littles, reading about Ma and Pa and Laura and Mary having to leave Indian Territory… and Ma, weary right through to the bone, says they’ve wasted a whole year of settling, now that they have to move on.
    And Pa says, “What’s a year? We have all the time in the world.”
    I’ve been thinking about that… embracing time as abundant. We have all the time in the world. In Christ… we have all the time in eternity.
    I am with you: the daily race leaves me tired too, Shannon, oh yes, ma’am.
    Today, to go slow and savor the gift of now.
    We have all the time in eternity.

  35. Paula @ Organizing Tips for Moms says:

    Oh, I feel your pain! This time of the year is crazy for moms! When my life gets like this, which is more than I like, I have to stop and force myself re-evaluate what I’m involved in, kids too. I just did a post about this if you are interested.
    FlyLady is great! You can do it! Your job is never done and you can only do one thing at a time.

  36. Kitty says:

    I’m amazed that you can do FlyLady. My mom and a good friend of mine absolutely loved it! I tried it, and it just about put me over the “edge” with all of the e-mails telling me to do this now and this then and on and on and on! Good luck!!!

  37. Kat @ The Burb Blog says:

    FlyLady system changed my life. However, if you are overwhelmed, you aren’t doing it right. That’s not supposed to be mean! I promuse. All you are supposed to do is shine your sink for the first month. Seriously! You’ll do great! Don’t jump in all crazy, do it exactly as she says or you’ll feel overwhelmed and crazy! Good luck! I can’t wait to hear how it’s working for you!

  38. Jenny from VA says:

    AMEN about May. This end of the year craziness is making me NUTS! I can totally relate to trying too many things at the same time. I also need to incorporate Flylady into my life…in July maybe. I want to get my kids involved and do the Flybaby camp thing. Mama needs everyone to pull their weight around here! I loved this post!

  39. Kathryn@ Expectant Hearts says:

    My oldest is only 11.. and I’ve realized that parenting doesn’t get any easier or harder.. it just gets DIFFERENT. Mind you, this year we kissed a baby goodbye as he went to Heaven after only 6 1/2 months living with us. I doubt that parenting will EVER be harder than THAT.
    And fwiw, I’m a flylady failure…

  40. Creative Triplet Mom says:

    I have tried fly lady off and on. I just can’t stick with it. I start. Baby steps then I get overwhelmed by week 2 or 3 then I’m back to square one and need to start all over again. I so hate cleaning! I even tried to do the weekly blessing which lasted only 3 weeks.

  41. Musings of a Housewife says:

    I’m a FlyLady flunkie.
    Please do not tell me it gets harder. It’s killing me right now.
    And the dance recital — do we get to see pictures? I can live vicariously through you since my daughter has two left feet and is not allowed near a sport that requires any level of coordination.

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