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We are Exhausted

Yesterday I posted this quote by author Nakeia Homer over on my Instagram account:

“You are not lazy, unmotivated, or stuck. After years of living life in survival mode, you are exhausted.

There is a difference.”

When I read it, I thought, yes, this is how I feel, and without giving it much thought, shared it on my Instagram Stories. 

I went about my day and a few hours later saw that my DMs were FLOODED with more messages than I have ever received at one time.

They went from a simple “this is me” to longer, more vulnerable messages.

I appreciate everyone sharing how they feel because, after spending last night reading them, I can tell you one thing for sure, you are far from alone. 

Ladies, we are burnt to a crisp. 

When COVID first hit and our world locked down, like all moms,  I turned 110% of my attention to my kids. At first, before we had any real information, I just wanted to keep them safe.

As time went on, I prioritized making life feel as normal as possible in a world that was totally bananas. I tried to minimize the impact of the trauma they were living through, like virtual learning, canceled sports seasons, and being removed from their friends. 

I was also working, creating daily content, trying to keep my company afloat, and pivoting to whatever the “new normal” (I loathe that term) was going to be, and you know, maintaining a home and my marriage. 

I put all of myself into everything I did every single day. And in time, became the walking definition of pouring from an empty cup. 

My experience is far from unique. 

Every woman I know has this story. And if you are a first responder, a teacher, or worked for an essential business- it was even more difficult for you. 

We were asked to do the impossible, so we did. And now that we are on the other side, we have not stopped. 

And here’s the thing, and I felt this even at the height of 2020, life did not stop just because the world shut down.

It moved right along at a relentless speed.

No one hit the pause button on deadlines or bills.

Kids still had to hit their milestones and pass their classes.

Family dynamics didn’t become less crazy, either. Many broke down completely, including some of my own. 

There was no opportunity to take our foot off the gas for a second, even when every aspect of life was one small battle after another.

And if you are a mom who works in or out of the home, you know one rather sad fact: we were given very little grace.

I have a family member who is mad that I didn’t text her back at some point during all of this. So hi, I can’t text and drown at the same time

Compassion went straight out the window. 

But that was almost two years ago.

What is going on now where we still find ourselves so utterly overwhelmed?

I think there are a few issues.

First, we have not stopped. There has been no opportunity to recover. 

Second, this “new normal” does no favors for women in my season of life. 

The other day, it dawned on me that I somehow have become a stay-at-home mom and a full-time working businesswoman responsible for a full-time income, at the same time. 

My lack of traditional working hours and my kids’ needs, who range in age from a teenager to a toddler, means I’m on mom duty all day and I’m plugged into work all day.

My home is my office; my office is my home. 

At times it’s a blessing, but it’s also a huge challenge to have life so deeply intertwined. I can barely hear myself think, let alone write something cohesive. 

And like so many of you, I crash at night, under a blanket of exhaustion, but then I can’t sleep. And if I do sleep, I’m up at 3am running lists through my head.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am very privileged. I have help, I have resources, and I have real partner in my husband.

And this is still impossible. So imagine how impossible this is for women with little or no resources. 

A nap will not fix this kind of tired and we can’t “take it easy.” I wish it were that simple.  

I think, what we all truly need is peace, grace, a safe place to vent, and the world to ease up on us.

Side note, if there is a typo in this, or any article, or email, don’t tell me. 

I promise you I know the difference between their and there. I’m working with a baby, literally sitting on my head most days. I’m doing my best with very tired eyes.

Assume your fellow woman is doing her best.

I don’t have an answer to how to help us navigate this and keep our sanity. 

But I know that I felt so much better reading your stories and thoughts last night. I felt less alone and not so crazy.

We’re not doing it wrong, this sh*t is hard. And saying this is hard, doesn’t make you ungrateful, and it doesn’t minimize other peoples challenges. 

After everything we’ve been through collectively, I’m amazed that we not only still live in an Instagram Perfect world, where all we see is the highlight reel, but I’m shocked we even tolerate it.

Hopefully, by sharing our real stories and experiences, by talking about what it takes to get through the day, we’ll start to realize that we are not alone in our struggles. 

The one thing I would ask of you is to text a woman you love today and tell her she’s an amazing mom, and wife or partner, or daughter or friend. I promise you she needs to hear it

Hang in there, my friends. You are all amazing. This community supports you. And remember, this is just a chapter; it’s not the whole book

XO, Meg

And please, if you want to leave a mean or unkind comment, this is not the day, and this is not the post. 

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Deanna Debrecht

Thursday 18th of November 2021

I saw a tweet today that said ""I don't know who needs to hear this, but rest is not a reward. You don't have to earn rest. You need rest. You deserve rest. You are worthy of rest simply because you are a living being. And don't ever feel guilty for taking time to rest." And yet, we women often feel like we have to justify our down time. And to be honest, sometimes the prep for down time (arranging rides for our kids, writing notes for babysitters outlining the kids schedules, etc) is so daunting that it discourages us from even taking the down time. Sending hugs to you and all the rest of us who are exhausted!

Megan Kristel

Thursday 18th of November 2021

Oh, Deanna, I so feel this. If you're lucky enough to have the chance to reset the prep for the rest sometimes makes the rest not worth it. xxxoo

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