Sorry I Am Too Tired To Friend

by Kate O’Donnell

Dear Friend,

I would love to see you, but here’s the thing- I’m exhausted. 

I reminisce about our 20’s, the days of grabbing our sunglasses and wallets and following the music, complaining about uni assignments or how insanely busy work was- ha! We thought we were crazy busy back then… HILARIOUS! 

Now faced with the grown-up responsibilities of raising a family, paying bills, a mortgage, working and raising little humans and sleep deprivation. There has been a shift.

There are days when simple pleasures of an empty laundry basket, tidy house and wee free bathroom leave me feeling like the high achiever that just won big on the stock exchange- fist-pumping and confidently cheering whoop-whoop! Only to be brought swiftly back to reality when the dog vomits, I’ve lost the school notice (again) and have forgotten or missed the memo that it is most definitely NOT a cheese day, and for crying out loud why on earth did you cut the sandwich THAT way instead of THAT way… And this, my friend, is the visual definition of parental bliss. 

Yep, you read that correctly, through the tears, tantrums, snotty kisses, skun knees, chaotic madness, book week costumes, kid parties and blanket forts. There is nothing more fulfilling than blowing raspberries on bellies with wild cackling or snuggling up on the couch for stories. It’s the most exceptional job I’ve ever had, and if I’m honest- the hardest. 

According to Norsberg, the increased pressure on parents, combined with a lack of time due to the drastic decrease in stay-at-home mothers has made parenting increasingly challenging. 

In the 2000’s Parental burnout became a scientifically researched syndrome all on its own.

The family structure has become more diverse, the to-do list has grown, and it appears we are not alone. The number one complaint of parents? Yep. Exhaustion. 

We laughingly joke about scheduling in coffee catch-ups for September 2024… but at times it really doesn’t seem that far off or even that ridiculous! 

Parenting and my 30’s have bought joy, precious memories and the beginnings of a weird chin hair.

It’s also brought shrinking of the squad. Our friends are on their own journeys, many live interstates and some abroad. Ideas of raising our children in a commune, attending the same school and getting together for weekly pasta night and community garden remain one-day dreams. 

The term “one-man wolf pack” has never felt so relevant. Although to be fair, when the kids are at school, my squad now consists of 2 gorgeous Labradors, a parrot and yappy Jack Russell.

I am still here. I won’t be absent forever. This too shall pass… and I will be there, teacup raised and ready to dance, or nap. Coz you know, naps are awesome! 

So, Ponderers, why is life so busy that we can’t support each other? 

Why has our parenting become so singular? 

Is it because our priorities have changed? 

Is it because we feel under pressure to be a certain way? 

Has parenting become a goal to achieve certain milestones with or is it simply because the world has become so hectic? 

We would love to hear your thoughts.