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I Know Why We’re So Tired (an admittedly First World problem post)

Updated: Nov 16, 2019

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Photo by Alexander Dummer on

At the end of a very long bout of sleeplessness due to a 3-year-old who went back in time to play the role of a 3-month-old (with an Oscar-worthy performance), I figured that I, too, would revert to being the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed person I thought I had been, before I became so sleep-deprived. Now, don’t get me wrong – sleeping through the night has been a game changer. However…I’m still tired. Why am I still so tired? Why, at 9:00pm, does my brain shut down? Is it mono? Is it old age? Anxiety? Stress? Am I dying? I’m dying, right?

It’s probably a combination of all of those things. But I think there’s something else at play, at least for me. Here’s an example of one thing that happens to me often, and one reason that I think I feel so depleted: I need to buy a birthday present for my son’s friend. I decide that an e-gift card to a sporty clothing store (let’s call is Ballerz) would be best. I go to the Ballerz website and begin ordering the card. Because I don’t know the boy’s mom’s email address that I want the card sent to, I have to go to our school’s website to look it up in the directory. I enter my username and password to access the directory and, with the mom’s email address in tow (repeating it over and over so I don’t forget it as I switch back to the Ballerz site), I continue entering lots of info. When it comes time to enter the dollar amount I want to spend, I discover that the dollar amount I had in mind is not an option on this site, and there’s no ability to customize the amount. Frustrated, I now have to start this process all over again on a different website.

While this whole process is taking place, I am in a taxi with two children who both desperately want my attention and desperately do not want the other child to have my attention. And the driver of the taxi is having a very animated discussion on the phone in a language I can’t understand which drives me CRAZY because if you’re going to endanger all of us by speaking on the phone while driving, then dammit let me in on the gossip!

You may be wondering why I don’t just put my phone away and order the gift card later when there’s less noise. BECAUSE WHEN YOU HAVE CHILDREN, THERE IS NO LATER WITH LESS NOISE. Also, if I don’t order this gift card right now, I’m going to have to leave this action item on my to do list, and I’m itching to be able to delete JUST ONE SINGLE ITEM, please GOD, and I just CANNOT wait one more instant.

So I go to the other sports website — let’s call it Hoops. I begin to fill in all the relevant info on that site, but when it comes time to pay, I can’t remember my password to autofill all of the billing info. So Hoops sends me an email with a link to reset my password. I reset my password, but then I have to put a reminder in my phone to update the Hoops password on my master password list. And then…when I try to fill out the birthday note on the website (Dear Mike, Happy birthday! I’m looking forward to celebrating with you, and I’m so glad we’re friends! From, Sam), I keep getting an error message saying, “You can only use letters, numbers, commas, periods, and exclamation points in your message.” I re-read the card 47 times. What am I missing? Oh, the apostrophes. Got it. I change the card to “I am looking forward” and I delete the part about being friends (because whatev) and now my kid sounds like a robot but oh well. AND GUESS WHAT? I get the same error message. Have I forgotten what a comma is? Shit, am I illiterate now? I guess that’s possible. I mean, I do watch a lot of tv. Now I have to make an appointment with a neurologist. Put that on the to do list (number 143 – seriously). I go back to the card. I delete everything I’ve written and try just “Happy birthday.” thinking it won’t go through, but then it does, and jeeeeeeeez now I’m stuck with that less than enthusiastic sentiment as the birthday card and is the mom going to think my kid doesn’t really mean it because there’s no exclamation point? And is she even going to know who the gift is from? FUCK IT.  I’ll just send her an email later explaining the whole thing. I add that reminder to my to do list. Number 144.

Who’s ready for a nap? Or a break? Or a reset at a beautiful spa where you can only eat alfalfa (took me many tries to spell that, FYI) and avocado, seasoned with the salty tears of a baby, Nepalese billy goat? I’ll meet you there. Just as soon as I get through my to do list.

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