So I had this realization. Yesterday wasn’t all that physically demanding. Sure we ran around a bit, but it was nothing like adventure day with hiking and the ocean. Yet at the end of the afternoon, I was balls out tired. Am I really that old? Well, that’s likely part of it, but 45 isn’t really walker time by a long shot.
It’s part of the reason parents are always tired. Even when I’m sitting here at the computer, at rest to the eye of the beholder, my “engine is running.” A big part of me is paying attention. I’m listening for shouts, yells and screams, and its like the driver for a getaway car. I never turn off the engine and have my foot on the gas, waiting for the moment I need to burn rubber.
There’s a part of me like the getaway car, no less the driver. I’m ever vigilant in case an argument starts, a boy hurts himself and I need to administer first aid, in some way I need to suddenly turn into a super hero.
Caregivers never take off the cape.
The question is whether I can take off the cape from time to time now that I know that I’m wearing it. Will I be able to chillax on the hyper-vigilance or is it endemic to childcare? I’ll let you know.
By the way, this phenomenon is something I’ve understood intellectually in talking to parents and in observing Ryan and Hope over the past two years. Experiencing it for myself is different. I’ve watched the boys before, but rarely more than a day or two at a time, so I’ve never before been immersed in is long enough to really have that “aha moment.”
And for any of you thinking, “See? Now you feel my pain.” No. I don’t. Neither do the millions of other people unable, for whatever reason, to have kids of their own. I feel amazingly grateful that I have this opportunity, at least for one summer, to experience this kind of exhaustion and to try to overcome it. It’s awesome!
For anyone complaining about the horrors of parenting (and I see comedians shared on Facebook all the time) I personally know at least a dozen folks who’d happily take that “problem” off your hands.