The Real Reason Parents are Really Freakin' Tired

A few months ago I was feeling a little worn thin when it came to parenting. At that point I had been at home for four months on maternity leave: the longest I have ever not worked since I was 16. Aside from having a three-month-old, I was home all summer with my two tween sons. They are great kids, self sufficient, helpers, generally fun to be around. So why was I so exhausted mentally? Then I took a look at my kitchen and saw this: two dirty socks sitting on the back of the dining chairs.  

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I started an inner dialogue about these damn socks. Who put these here? When did they put these here?  Are they saving them for later? Were they wet? Then it occurred to me. Kids are always doing things that make no sense whatsoever. When that happens parents are left to break the code of their child's mind.

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The next day I was in the car waiting to pick up my oldest from football practice. I glanced over and there was a sock stuff into the car door (with a bottle of bug spray, of course).

What the hell? Why are the socks coming off in the car? Did he spray his feet with the bug spray? Is he currently wearing socks? If he isn't maybe that's why his feet stink, or maybe it's because he doesn't wash his feet.

Over the course of the next several days I noticed that the freaking socks were everywhere.  It almost felt like the kids were doing it on purpose.

Socks with a straw wrapper on the ottoman. Was this a secret reminder to get juice boxes?  When did I last go grocery shopping? Are we out of juice? Dear Brain, please stop thinking about the damn socks.

Two more days pass and then, sitting in the very spot where I nurse the baby, was a pair of—you guessed it—socks!  

This time clean socks. The rapidfire questions in my brain started to come from a different angle. Are my big boys trying to say they need me? Do they wish they were spending more up close time with me?  Are these their only clean socks? Shit, is the laundry done? God, I hate folding laundry.

 Then one day I finally captured it. The feet that own these socks. I giggled a little inside when I snuck this picture.  

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 What started out as an annoyance of finding socks everywhere has quickly become a reminder to me to be gentle on myself as a mom. I'm tired because of the mental energy often consumed by trivial things like socks. I love the people whose feet belong to these socks. They exhaust me. They challenge me. The socks help keep it real.