When I read that a celebrity had the words ‘Always Tired’ tattooed on their cheeks, my first thought was: On your face - really?
That was closely followed by my second thought, which was a loud, resounding: Yaaaassss. Because I am nothing if not Always Tired. But then I found out that the celebrity with said tattoo was a man. Without children. Rapper/singer Post Malone, to be exact. And then, I internally chuckled. Because I get it. Like Post Malone, I thought I was perpetually exhausted before having kids. I mean, I was working as a doctor at the time, doing night shifts and 14-hour ones. I functioned on white chocolate M&Ms (they were a thing back then, and boy do I miss them); reality TV and tiny little chunks of sleep that I’d shove down my throat whenever I got the chance. I would moan to anyone who would listen about how tired I was. But now? Now I look back at that whingeing version of myself and think, Hot dang it, woman, why did you spend so much time lamenting your lack of sleep when you could have instead been sleeping? Because sure, my work hours sometimes sucked, but all the hours in between that I could have slept. Now, not so much.
Now – if I’m feeling so tired I can literally taste exhaustion like stale coffee in the back of my throat – there usually ain’t nothing I can do about it. Because being a parent means having to suck down that festering exhaustion and keep on keeping on anyway. There’s no hall pass for feeling tired, no ‘get out of jail free’ card that lets you just wander off to your bed and have a good snooze to help erase all that icky tiredness. No siree. Instead, being a parent means having to simply coexist with feeling Always Tired. Having to embrace it as a constant companion on this road called parenthood, if you will. Sure, back in the days when I’d first become a mum I met a whole other crazy level of Always Tired. But even now that I’m no longer in the trenches, I still feel it. Because I wake up tired. I yawn through the morning tired. I battle through the afternoon tired. I put the kids to bed tired.
Needless to say, I’m Always Freaking Tired.
Sure, I moan about my tiredness (see above), but otherwise I strap that tiredness pack on my back and just get going. As all parents do.
“ Before becoming a parent I really had no idea how pervasive parenting would be. How deeply it would affect me to my core. How my emotions would come shining to the surface. How much I’d love those cheeky little faces. Or how tired I’d be all the time. I really, really didn’t get that. ”
So, for peeps like Post Malone who don’t have kids and feel this way? Look, maybe the guy really is all shades of tired. I really don’t know him from a bar of soap so I really can’t judge his level of exhaustion. All I can say is that, the version of me who thought she was tired before becoming a mama bear sure got a slap in the face when she got dipped repeatedly in the endless spa of tiredness that is parenting. So, ten years into this gig, I feel I’ve earned my ‘Always Tired’ badge. But there’s no need for me to tattoo those words on my face. The bags under my eyes say it all.
Words: Evelyn Lewin