I don't like to admit it when I'm not 100 percent, but I am forced to face the truth: I am exhausted. I once read an author describe fatigue as "hard and crumbling around the edges". That phrase describes how I feel today. My shoulders and back feel tense. My eyes feel like they're filled with grains of sand. The level of fatigue plaguing my body today is extraordinary.
Here's the thing: I don't think I can even blame it on my newborn. He's a really good sleeper. He'll be three months old this week, and he's up only one short time a night. He has slept through the night entirely exactly one glorious time. My husband and I alternate nights, so every other night I'm getting a full night of sleep. Given that why am I dragging up the stairs to bed at 9 pm? Why have my runs the last few weeks felt like I am wearing concrete in my shoes?
I know I am not the only person who feels this way, and it's a novel feeling for me to have such a difficult time powering through this fog of lethargy that is threatening to take over. I'm being dramatic. This is what happens when I'm exhausted.
Finding out last week that I am still anemic was actually a relief because that's fixable. I'm taking iron three times a day, and hopefully that will help boost my energy soon. If that doesn't work the three shots of espresso I down before 9 am should do the trick, right?
My husband is out of town for a few days, so I'm on solo baby duty. Again Will is a super easy baby, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal. For me it's a bigger deal to try to let things go instead of staying up to wash bottles, pick up the house, or fold another load of laundry. This morning, for example, I set the alarm for 5:30 am. I reluctantly got up and showered. The baby slept until 7, so this enabled me to let the dogs out (twice) and feed them, scoop the litter box, make the bed, fold a load of laundry and put away three loads (I was a bit behind), start another load of laundry, wash bottles and THEN feed my son and get him ready for school. When I drop him off at daycare and get to the office, I am already falling into my chair with exhaustion before starting to do the job I get paid for...hence the espresso.
In fairness I did this much work before leaving the house prior to my son being born. I also fit in a run and walked my dogs. But I was also regularly getting 8 hours of sleep and could grab a glass of wine and chill when I got home from work. I haven't had a glass of wine in days...I don't even remember the last one. What is my life coming to?
One of my favorite quotes is from Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle. Carlyle said: "I've got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom." I LOVE that quote. It's pretty much how I live my life, and thus far it's worked well for me. Now I've just got to work on finding that balance as a new mom who would like to also be a functioning human.
When my mom was visiting in January she tearfully told me of her worry that I would push myself too hard and end up back in the hospital. My health is a real concern, and I've worked hard over the last seven months to be kinder to myself in that regard. However I really only know one speed. I think what is most important to me is not beating myself up when everything is not done perfectly. I've actually gone home during my lunch hour to wash bottles and empty the dishwasher because the idea of those things not being done was making me crazy. I know everyone says you have to let those things go once you have kids, and I am really not able to. Letting some things go is going to be my biggest challenge.
Despite everything I just wrote in the previous paragraph, I'm thinking about and training for my next races and wondering when our next vacation (even if it's just a weekend) is going to be. At least in the short term I've got to figure out what things I can let go in order to still find time to do the things that are important to me...things like running and traveling and reading a good book. Long term I've got to realize how to balance all of the new challenges that come from being a mom who has a chronic illness. I refuse to think of myself as as sick person, but I have to be realistic about what happens if I don't take care of myself...particularly now that I'm a parent. This balance comes ultimately comes with the caveat that when I think back on my life, I would rather be exhausted than bored. Now I need to figure out how to make this work. I think I'll start with the espresso.