Dear Daughter: Why I’m Tired

Dear Daughter,IMG_2475

I’ve seen you noticing lately. My droopy eyes. My hunched shoulders. My long, heavy sighs. You curl up next to me during bedtime snuggles and trace the lines on my forehead with your precious, chubby finger. “Wow, Mom,” you whisper. “You’re so tired.”

And it’s true. I am.

There are a million things that make me tired right now. It’s just the stage of life I’m in, and one day, you’ll probably feel it, too. I have two full-time jobs – the one I’m paid for, and the one I’m not. I get up early, dress and groom three separate people, rush everyone out the door, do daycare drop-offs, go to work and spend eight hours answering to other people and responding to various demands on my time and mental resources. Then, I turn around and do it all in reverse, and by the time it’s all done, I fall straight into bed so I can start over the next morning.

It’s exhausting. All of these responsibilities are enough to drive a grown woman to crave an 8:00 bedtime. But if you want to know the truth, these are just the surface level issues. They aren’t the real reasons for the lines in my forehead and the long, heavy sighs.

The real reason I’m so tired has become more apparent as you’ve gotten older. It’s that in the midst of all these chores and responsibilities, I am also tasked with the monumental job of being your mother.

It’s my job to keep you safe and healthy, so the world has never seemed more terrifying. It’s my job to show you how the world works, so things have never seemed more complicated. It’s my job to help shape you into a kind, generous, loving, patient, successful person, so my words and actions have never mattered more. It’s my job to try to keep your heart open and your creativity sparked, so other people’s words and actions have never mattered more. It’s my job to build your strength, independence, confidence, and self-worth, so society has never seemed so misogynistic.

IMG_2706There are a million places where I could go wrong. There are a million ways that I could screw you up. There a million questions in my head about whether I’m doing things right.

I love you so much that the weight of it all is crushing.

But I love you so much that I’d do it all a thousand times.

Love forever,


Kristin Flanary
Kristin met her husband in college at Texas Tech University, and they later moved to New Hampshire, where they earned his-and-hers advanced degrees (complete with matching towels) at Dartmouth. They had their first date on Valentine's Day, got engaged on Valentine's Day three years later, welcomed their first daughter (Charlotte) on Valentine's Day three years after that, and their second daughter (Claire) on Valentine's Day three years after that! Kristin and her family moved to Iowa City in 2014 so her husband could begin his residency at UIHC. She is currently laugh-crying her way through raising a threenager and an infant while simultaneously working full-time at the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development and juggling the crazy schedule of a resident's wife. Kristin has been a stay-at-home mom, a work-at-home mom, and work-outside-the-home mom, so she can officially judge that each scenario is hard and equally wonderful. In her free time, you can find Kristin either taking pictures and learning about photography, reading about how not to screw up her daughters, on her soapbox about women's rights, enjoying a hard-earned glass of wine, or collapsed from exhaustion. Her life is ridiculous and her heart is full.


  1. I totally agree but I have to wonder did moms always feel so alone in being responsible for every aspect of their child’s well being? Once upon a time did we as as family, as a community, as a country feel more responsibility for the well being of all of our children?


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