Being grateful, being happy, and being positive are probably my three best traits as a parent and as a person.
But being grateful, happy, and positive are hard when I’m also exhausted, emotionally drained, and tired of being a business owner, a mom, and a wife.
I am feeling buuuuuuurned out on all fronts.
This is where my personal and parental guilt comes in. I have a wonderful partner. I have an awesome kid. I have a booming business.
Considering all my good fortune, I feel like I don’t deserve to be burned out. Or to complain. I don’t give myself permission to whine about it. I definitely don’t have societal permission.
Can you have a good life and also feel exhausted by it? It doesn’t seem fair to those who are truly dealing with hard or frightening circumstances.
There is a war going on in Ukraine. The stock market is in free fall, shrinking the retirement savings for millions of retirees. Even though wages are on the rise, so is inflation. And the reproductive rights of women are being decided by our government.
My tiny complaints are nothing in comparison to the above.
I think part of the exhaustion stems from the multiple troubles going on outside of my home. I put myself in other people’s shoes, and I feel an awkward mix of emotions; deep sadness for their struggles and also a guilt-ridden relief that I am not facing any of it myself.
I am not living through a war. I do not have to face the harsh reality of fighting alongside my neighbors to protect our freedom. I do not have to choose between staying to defend my country or fleeing to protect my daughter. I do not have to say goodbye to my friends, family, and home with the hope of a better future in a new place.
I am not retired. I am a middle-aged person who is regularly contributing to my retirement fund. I don’t have to worry about lifestyle changes because I’m on a fixed income. I don’t have to consider getting a part-time job as a senior after working for most of my life.
I am not hugely impacted by inflation. I do not have to drive to work. My business does not rely on supplies that are constantly increasing in cost. I only have three mouths to feed and only one child to support. Maybe we have fewer snacks in the house, but we are still very comfortable.
I am done having children. My reproductive rights are a non-issue. But I think about other women. Women who don’t have the same resources that I do. Women who don’t have the same opportunities that I do. I put myself in my daughter’s shoes. My husband and I have worked so hard and skipped out on so many pleasures when we were younger to ensure we would always have the resources to protect her. But what of her friends? What of their mothers?
Even with all my good fortune, I still feel burned out. And I only have one job and one kid.
What about all these other mothers and fathers who have several jobs and several kids? What about all the parents out there with limited resources?
For all my optimism and positivity, I cannot shake the weight of caring. I cannot stop wondering how all these challenges are impacting the other families out there.
I feel helpless.
The only thing that I truly have control over is myself. Being a good mother, a dedicated partner, a caring friend, and a reliable neighbor – that focus makes me feel a little less helpless.
And right now, that’s going to have to be enough.
Because I’m too burned out for anything else.