Deb Sarah on Feeling Lucky … When You Don’t

Hi all! I had a baby six weeks ago, and ever since, life has been one wild ride. Sweet and cuddle-filled, yes, but I’ll be honest: With three boys under the age of four, I’ve never been more exhausted, more sleep-deprived, more overwhelmed than at any other time in my life. I’m so overloaded, that I’ve found myself questioning everything—like how I’m going to keep up with my magazine projects, blogging, all of it. Can I do all of this? Can I do all of this well?


The other night after a long day, I found myself complaining to my husband about how frustrated I was that I didn’t have time to get to half the things I wanted to that day. I moped about the messy house, the unanswered emails, the fact that we had to order pizza, again, (whole wheat crust with lots of veggies, but still!). I actually found myself longing for the days when my kids are older and more self sufficient. And here’s the thing, in my exhaustion, I actually didn’t feel very lucky at all. I felt spent. That’s when dear ol’ hubby set me straight, reminding me to focus on the things I’ll miss most when looking back to this time in my life. No, I certainly won’t be yearning for the days of feeding a fussy baby 4-5 times a night or waking up at 5 a.m. with a sick toddler. But, I will long for the cuddles, the smooches on soft, chubby baby cheeks, the goofy declarations from my 4 year old (“Mama, did you know that dogs talk in their sleep?”) and maybe even all of the busyness with my work. After all, I thrive on that (secretly). I love the steady stream of assignments, the blog posts, the novels I chip away at in the evenings. And when I think about all of these things, the icky stuff fades into the distance and I do feel very lucky, and very blessed.

Funny how looking at things from a slightly different perspective can make you feel like a million bucks even when going through a challenging time in life, huh?

xo, Sarah

13 Replies to “Deb Sarah on Feeling Lucky … When You Don’t”

  1. I think it’s just inherently hard to feel lucky (or positive) when you’re tired, even when you know you ARE lucky. Exhaustion colors our interpretation of “luck.” Sounds like you’ve got a good handle on it, though. And you know things will settle down eventually. 🙂

  2. Lovely post! I’m reminded of Deb Eleanor’s “first world problem vs. third world problem” idea from a few months back, something I’ve tried hard to keep in mind.

    And hang in there, hon. I’m amazed by how you keep up with it all!


  3. I was just at dinner with a girlfriend last night talking about this – about how in a few years her kids won’t be wanting her to read to them at bedtime, or will get up for a drink of water in the night themselves, and how she is trying to remember that this is exhausting, but it’s also wonderful.

    It doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to feel overwhelmed and frustrated and tired, but it does mean that there’s a nice silver lining to remember when you do.

    After all, the messy house and the unanswered emails – how much do they matter, really, especially when compared to baby kisses?

  4. I wrote a book about it – even when we have All We Can Handle we have to love, live, find the bright side – exhaustion, ups, downs, good luck, bad luck – we can still strive for some level of happiness and equilibrium. But babies do sap your mojo for a while – it’s darn hard work to raise toddlers and always has been. I’m sure you’re doing a bang up job, Sarah, and pizza or a missed bathroom cleaning hardly matter at all in the grand scheme of things. Enjoy your beautiful boys – KIM

  5. You do have a lot going on right now and it’s easy to become overwhelmed in the midst of all of that. It’s so nice that your hubby is there to remind you to remember to be thankful for the good things in life.

  6. Someday, you’ll look back on these years and wonder where in the world you ever found the energy to do it all. And trust me, that day will come much sooner than you can imagine. Children have a way of growing up much faster than you want them to, so enjoy all of those sweet baby kisses while you can, and be assured that grandbaby kisses are just as sweet!

  7. This is a conversation I actually have with my daughter many nights. At 6, she still loves it when I lay down with her until she falls asleep, and I love it too… but when I’m super-stressed, super-tired, or slammed with waiting work, I can get cranky and the evening devolves into me saying, “Really? Can’t I just be right here on the trundle bed, and not on a tiny sliver of your bed? I’m right here!” Then she gets upset and I have to mentally slap myself and realize how stinkin’ lucky I am to have a little girl who’s so crazy about me, she wants to cuddle her way to bed! It won’t be that way forever, and I’ll miss the hell out of it when it’s gone.

    Mental slap complete, I cuddle up with her, apologize for being tired and cranky, and tell her that the honest truth is that nothing is more special to me than being her mommy, and being there for her.

    Juggling everything can be insane — for anyone, with or without kids — and I agree with Eleanor that it’s healthy to let ourselves feel the madness rather than deny it… but it’s also important to take a step back and appreciate that our lives are filled with a wealth of riches, and we’re lucky to have all of it.

  8. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the awesome work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  9. All this led to the interesting spectacle of well-dressed middle-class heads popping up as if out of nowhere, puce with the effort of squatting on their haunches trying to find what they were looking for.

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