Let’s just get straight to it: I am tired, you guys. I know, I know: I’m preaching to the choir. I’m sure the vast majority of you reading this are tired too. As many of you are aware from my last post, I just returned to work from maternity leave — that said, my mind, body, and soul are still learning how to thrive with little sleep and a constant call for brain power. Pair that with long commutes and meal prep, balancing quality time with family vs. making sure our house is clean (read: livable), and the “Reminder” list on my phone that is filled with random chores I may never do, and some days I feel like my heart is sore from keeping up with the emotional rollercoaster of it all.
When I wake up in the morning and take a look at those dark circles under my eyes, drained from middle-of-the-night feedings and mumbled discussions with my husband on whether or not we let Harper “cry it out” on a given night, all I want to do is cover them up. I feel like I’m exposing the world to too much of myself if I walk around with weary eyes, and I immediately reach for the concealer. The other day, though, I was too lazy to do even that — so I threw on my Felix Gray (love this brand, by the way!) glasses and called it a day. As we were out and about wrapping up some errands, Harper started to get hungry, so I jumped in the back seat to feed her quickly before we hit the road (who else is no stranger to a parking lot feeding? #momlife). Just before I took her out of her car seat, I pulled my glasses off — and suddenly a big smile came across Harper’s face.
It was one of the most innocent, grace-filled moments I’ve encountered: it felt like suddenly Harper was able to see the real me, and it brought her joy and excitement. She didn’t care that my eyes were dark and worn, because to her, all she could see was her mom. As I thought about this more, it encouraged me to remember that our tired eyes tell a story. They signify that we’re working hard for something, whether that is taking care of a child or finishing that big work project, earning a degree or catching that last flight out to visit someone we care about. In a weird way, society wears exhaustion as a badge of pride and something to be hidden all at once — we should always be busy, running ourselves into the ground, but we should never look it. But as I looked at my little girl’s beaming smile when my eyes weren’t hiding behind frames, I realized that there is a beautiful story to be told through our tired eyes.
It’s a story of God sanctifying us; building us into something greater. I so often want to be challenged, but I never want to be pushed past my limit. I want to be selfless, but I don’t want to sacrifice anything to get there. But here I am, with eyes more tired than they’ve ever been before, and God uses this sweet little baby to show me that there is beauty in sacrifice, in leveraging my energy and strength for the good of someone else. There is beauty in realizing that we’re only human, but we fight the good fight anyway.
Let’s keep this real: I’m not throwing out my makeup any time soon, and I still wake up most mornings and approach the mirror with this crinkled look on my face, wondering how I’m going to make it look as if I got more than a few hours of sleep. What I recite to myself now, though, is that it’s all worth it to look and feel this way because I am placing that energy into someone that I love more than words could ever convey. I’m wearing the badge of exhaustion not because I want everyone to know I’m busy, but because it means that by God’s grace, I’m giving this parenting thing my all. And no matter what it is that you’re pouring your heart and soul into right now, I hope you can take just the tiniest bit of pride in those worn eyes of yours — God is doing big things through them.
…and again, this sweet little baby of mine teaches me more about life than I’ve been able to gather alone in my 26 years. What a blessing this journey is.
(Did you think you’d make it through a post without a reel of Harper photos? Never.)