With only a couple of weeks to go until our kids can return to school and we can partially emerge from lockdown, I want to feel excited, but I can’t. I’m too tired.
This feeling of general lethargy, particularly related to parenting, seems to be the dominant emotion for many other women and friends I spoke to, which makes sense after the last 18 months we’ve all had.
I’ve named it 'pandemic parenting fatigue' because, yes, we are mostly functioning on a surface level, but much like the trending term 'languishing', many parents are stuck in a mental health rut.
We are not all depressed, but we are also far from flourishing. Our parenting 'mojo' has disappeared, and we are left irritable with the kids, anxious and fatigued.
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I told my husband this week that while I love our boys deeply, I just want to curl up in a corner with a book. Or sit at my desk and work. I realised as the words left my mouth that it sounded bad.
I know I shouldn’t complain. I am lucky to have a good job, healthy kids, and money to buy books.
I live in a decent sized house with an office I can work from. I have been in lockdown a lot less than my friends in Victoria. Many people have it much worse than I do.
And yet the layers of fatigue after months of anxiety, uncertainty and inactivity have built up. Making me want to cast-off my duties as a mum and bury my head in someone else’s story.
I have been frequently short with the boys, yelling too loudly and too often, and I am not the mum I want to be.
My boys are beautiful, kind and clever, but after months of being at home in the pressure cooker of pandemic life, their behaviour is either worse than it was, or I am noticing it more because I’m fatigued.
Listen: Twins Clare and Jessie Stephens discuss sibling rivalry on this episode of This Glorious Mess: Big Kids. Post continues below.
There’s the constant breaking up of their sibling fights, the need to make and fetch snacks and put the dishwasher on four times a day, because we are all together at home all the time.
It’s hardly devastating and yet - the lethargy combined with the pandemic backdrop grips tight. Thankfully, I know I am not alone in feeling this sense of fatigue.