Around Thanksgiving of last year my wife and I rewrote the lyrics to Lorde’s song “Royals” from the perspective of over-tired parents. We called the song “Rested” and posted it here on my blog and on Facebook. Here is the chorus:
We’ll never be rested
Now that we have kids
That kind of luxe just ain’t for us
We gotta find a different kind of buzz
A few weeks later my friend Lisa Hilary recorded our lyrics, and that is when our parody started to take off.
In the last month the song has been viewed nearly one million times, at one point getting more than 200,000 hits a day for a few days. Our parody started getting played on the radio and we got invited to go on CNN’s Headline News.
The best part however, was the amazing response from other parents who felt like the song validated their struggles and sleeplessness. The comments section on the post quickly filled up with people commiserating about never feeling rested, offering support and lots of advice.
Throughout all of this, people said to me over and over again, “Don’t worry – it get’s better. You’ll sleep again someday.” But here is the thing, while I would love a few more hours of sleep, the truth is I don’t want to be rested.
I work hard at parenting, and I love it… and it is exhausting. Our kids are both under five years old and they fill up every second of the day and every inch of the house with their energy, their questions and their stuff.
Every day I try to be as generous as possible with my attention, as thoughtful as possible with my words and as creative as possible with the short hours I have between work and the kids’ bedtime. I don’t always succeed, but I try.
And around all of that, my wife and I – like all parents – are juggling the unexpected, responding to the most recent crisis, and simultaneously playing psychologist, translator, mediator and bomb defuser.
And then there is the laundry. Always the laundry.
And at the end of the day I feel tired, no doubt, but I also feel so grateful and fulfilled. I’ve built trails and bridges in remote wilderness, hauled logs and hiked miles into the forest with tools strapped to my back.
Parenting is like this, exhausting and satisfying, like giving it your all to build something in the wilderness.
If this is what it takes, then I don’t want to be rested. This is a joyous exhaustion.