When you come home and she says she is tired…
It isn’t because she thinks her day was harder than yours.
It isn’t an excuse to get out of being intimate.
It isn’t to complain, or to make you feel bad for her.
When your wife says she’s tired it is because of one simple fact-
Here is the average day in the life of a stay at home mom…
The child that snuck into your bed wakes her up first, immediately hungry, immediately requesting the daily demands that toddlers request from the very moment their eyes open.
She is able to roll out of bed, pour a glass of milk for said toddler and put the pod in the Kurieg. Just as she is about to take that first sip of sweet coffee, the other toddler wakes up, calling her from their crib.
Coffee goes down, as she walks to go get said toddler, child #1 asks her to turn on a cartoon really quickly, to which she does to avoid the impatience that is common of 4-year-olds.
Up the stairs she goes (pregnant). She is overwhelmed with love as the toddler anxiously awaiting her yells out “Mama” upon seeing her, with a huge smile.
She tells herself today will be a good day. It may have started the same as every day, but it will be a good day.
Diaper change and back downstairs to start breakfast for the kids.
Serving breakfast, refilling milk cups.
Microwaves the coffee.
Sits down to drink a few sips.
Kids are finished with breakfast. Help them down from table, clean them up, bring dishes to sink. Rinse and put in dishwasher. Sit down to continue drinking coffee. Kids are arguing over a toy. Give a warning to share. One child starts screaming because the other took a toy.
Mom gets up from table to reprimand or take the toy being fought over away.
Get the way the morning goes?
Guess what? Mom forgot something from the grocery store. Goes to put on maternity jeans (the only pair that fit) and discovers they never made it into the dryer. Removes laundry from dryer and puts the wet clothes in. Goes to fold laundry and little hands pull it out the second she walks away.
Gets both kids dressed, brushes both kids teeth. She now walks to the kitchen for sip of cold coffee before continuing with re-folding the laundry (that laundry that sits in piles all over the master bedroom for weeks at a time because she can’t find the time to hang it to put it away).
Phone goes off, an e-mail she needs to respond to. Youngest found some gum, no clue where, no clue if there is more, but now there is gum in the living room rug and she has no idea how to get it out. She cleans as best she can, answers said e-mail, takes another sip of cold coffee and retreats to finish the folding.
Finally jeans are dry. She gets herself dressed and kids loaded into the car to realize she didn’t even have a minute to brush her own teeth.
We all know what going to the store with two kids is like. It even stresses YOU out, doesn’t it?
Your wife does it weekly. Methodically at that. They have it down to a science, but it is still a hassle of a trip. No you can’t have that. No, we don’t need straws. No, we aren’t buying the triple marked up tiny pool from the grocery store. She answers the question why through the whole store. Loads all of the groceries, loads and buckles both kids and heads home. To unload the kids and corral them into the house, to carry in all of the groceries, to unload and put away all of the groceries.
It’s now lunch time for the kids.
That cup of coffee she so badly needed? Its still sitting cold on the table.
She feeds the kids a healthy lunch, because its the one area she feels she succeeds with this whole motherhood thing. Now it’s time for the little one to nap. She puts him down for his nap and heads down to spend time with the oldest. Math lessons, sight words review.
She then gets the clothes from the dryer that were in with the jeans and takes them to the messy master bedroom to fold. To put in that pile that drives you crazy. Feeling ever so guilty while she does it.
The little one is up. They need snacks and a drink. They want to go out and play. Lets blow up the pool, that’s fun. Bathing suits on both kids, spf 50 from head to toe, and out we all finally go. Back in to put on whatever bathing suit fits on this pregnant body. She sits down outside, puts spf on herself and realizes she hasn’t eaten yet. She goes inside to grab something quick, since the kids are out back. Hummus it is. She heads back out and shares her snack with the two seagulls who flock to her side.
Finally you come home from work. She is sitting for the first time almost all day, with a snack in her hand worried it must look like she has done nothing all day long. Feeling guilty listening to the stories from work of the rough day you had, upset with herself that she didn’t get to vacuum today or pick up all the toys before you came through the door. Feeling horrible that those clothes are sitting in that folded mound on the bench at the foot of the bed.
I bet you didn’t even notice that cold cup of coffee, half full, sitting there on the table.
She goes inside to put clothing back on, still hasn’t had a chance to brush her teeth, she does so. Still hasn’t had the chance to shower. She washes her hands and starts to prep dinner. Dinner time is here, it is potentially the second or third time she has sat down all day. Her back hurts, her feet are swollen. She is exhausted. She clears the table and starts on bed time routine.
This is just one day out of seven extremely similar days. Some days she cries, not because she is sad, but because she is exhausted. Raising kids? It’s definitely hard on the family, its definitely hard on the marriage. But mom? She sees the same life, the same walls, the same yard day in and day out. Sure playdates can change things up, but who has time for a play date when the lurking guilt of that laundry at the foot of the bed is constant in their mind? Dinners need to be prepped, floors need to be vacuumed. She passes on playdates and social time because of the guilt.
So, when the mother of your children says she is tired when you come home at night, it isn’t because she doesn’t want to be intimate. Hold her, let her fall asleep in your arms.
When she says she is tired, she doesn’t feel like her day was harder than yours, in fact she likely feels guilty she can’t do more to make the rough days better for you.
When your wife says she is tired, let me tell you, It is simply because she is.