"Wow, you look REALLY tired."
A phrase I hear almost every day. And not like, "Wow, you look really tired, is there anything I can do to help?" No, just a statement. You. Look. Tired. Why yes, yes I am.
I'm not sure when I began to feel animosity towards this phrase, but I absolutely loathe it when people feel the need to point out that I look tired. In today's society, people are compelled to tell everyone every thought that crosses their mind, and believe that they have the absolute right to do so. You don't walk up to someone who has gained some weight and say, "wow, you're looking awfully fat today" or comment on how poorly someone is aging, pointing out how tired I look is getting on my nerves.
Being a mom is hard work. Gosh darn hard work. It's physically and emotionally exhausting to give a little person everything you've got. Give. Give. Give. I feel like it's all I ever do. Wake up in the morning, think about showering, but have to make breakfast instead. Give. Get the boy out of bed, get him ready for school, fed, and qualm a meltdown or two in the process. Give. Make breakfast and coffee for the husband, who has just hit snooze on his alarm clock for the fourth time. Give. Get my shoes and coat on to head out the door, only to realize that I've still not finished my own coffee, haven't had breakfast, and aren't wearing any makeup. Give. Drop the toddler off at preschool, and head to the classroom where I volunteer once a week and set up for the next day's lesson. Give. Answer two phone calls and return 15 e-mails for Robotics, and realize I'm three minutes late to pick Lucas up. Give. Load the whiney toddler into the car, and drive home to make lunch, clean the house, do the dishes, wash the laundry and pray he takes a nap. Give. No nap? Alright, off to Robotics we go. Give. Spend 40 hours a week inspiring other people's children to respect STEM education, and build robots, and before I know it, it's 9:00pm and we're headed home. Give. Put a screaming, crying, toddler in bed, read a story, and snuggle for a while. Give. Give. Give. Head myself to bed, and pray for the strength to do it all again the next day.
You. All of you. You are the reason I look tired. It's not your fault, I know you didn't "ask" me to give up on myself to provide you with something you want. Giving is something I choose to do because it is who I am. I'm a giver, I always have been. The lack of makeup, messy hair, and baggy sweatshirt are what I settle for, so I can give more of myself to someone else. I don't have to look pretty to wipe Lucas' tears, and yoga pants are perfectly appropriate attire for cooking delicious meals, washing dishes, and folding laundry. Expecting recognition from the teenagers I mentor is futile, and the fact that I have been bringing our child to Robotics meetings starting at 4 days old, and have sacrificed countless hours with him for the sake of our Team is futile because they won't grasp what's been given to them until they're 25 and heading out into the "real world" anyway. I don't do it for the thanks, I do it because it's who I am. Yes, it makes me tired. But is it worth it? You bet.
So next time you look at someone and think, "wow, that person looks really tired" think about the things they are giving up for you. Think about the time that they could have spent on themselves, and gave to you instead. Think about the love that they are sharing with others, and how being a little tired is a small price to pay for the happiness they receive in return. And instead of simply stating, "you look really tired", you could say, "thank you for all that you do." Because everyone needs a little encouragement sometimes.