There is likely a more creative title for this post. But I don't have it. I am not thinking. My creative juices have all but dried up. I'm barely just doing. Today, I'm checking boxes and doing my best but I know it's not my best. My eyes are red, tired and itchy. My focus and attention are not strong. My body is sinking, slowly, into my chair, becoming a physical replica of whatever it is that holds me upright. Because that's the kind of support I need today. Physical keep-me-awake-and-upright support. The limited focus I have is directed to my own parental hierarchy of needs: cuddles, coffee, shower, food.
I am a zombie. Because, toddlers.
I am also a crazy person today with no recollect. I think I put the coffee pot in the refrigerator and I might have run the dishwasher twice with clean dishes. I'm wearing yesterday's' t-shirt because I slept in it and it's clean enough. I know I've asked the same questions of people more than once and I'll probably ask you them tomorrow too.
They say this is a season of life - the teething, the colds, the sleep regression, the sleepless nights. I disagree. This is one long day that has lasted approximately 73 wide-eyed hours this time around.
If you're reading this, and you have earned yourself a mom or dad badge, I know you get it. I know you've been there or you are here or you'll be here soon. We wear camouflage to get us through our interactions with the outside world during the day, but our real uniform is noticeable in the dark circles under our eyes and the foggy in our brain and that's just it. I get it. You get it. We get it.
I see you in the aisle at the grocery store, staring at the infant medicine, and I just know. I don't know you, but I want to give you a big hug because I've stood there too, worried and wondering and searching for something. We are wearing the same uniform. We are wearing the tired on our bodies, in our postures while our furrowed brows and deep concentration show only the love and the I'll do anything for my little person values that we live every single day. We may not sleep, so we watch them sleep. We worry so they don't have to. We wish to take the hurt away when they are sick and we rationalize and try to find reasons for why they might not be acting their regular selves. We internet-search until we are crazy. We are sacrificing our own (or our old) selves because we are so diligently and proudly wearing this uniform. I'm never, ever taking it off because wearing this uniform is the best (hardest) part of my life.
One of the best parts of parenthood is the community we build with each other. It's the unspoken support from family and friends, the literal brain-sharing of coworkers, the text messages that say "Up at 2?!" and the list of emojis that follow in return, importantly including a wine glass and lots of multicolored hearts. This community we're cultivating will get us through not only our zombie days (lasting 73 hours each day) but this is the community that will share birthdays and milestones and celebrations and school pick ups and also the tough times, the illnesses, the surgeries, the scary moments, the first dates, the graduations, and all-in-all, this beautiful life.
And then at some point, it hits you. You are surviving. And you're doing your everyday activities and sure, sometimes it's hard and sometimes you pour your coffee from a pot that was placed in the refrigerator and you're too tired to care because at the end of the day, it's still coffee and sometimes you're not entirely on-point but most of the time, you're totally on point and yes, you're crushing it. You're living a double life as a regular human and an exhausted parent and most days, nobody knows because you're mastering it all.
So with that, I want you to know - moms and dads, I see you. And I like what you're wearing.