When You’re a Touched Out Mama

touched out

As soon as I got out of bed, my older son started playfully pummeling me, socking me right in the ribs. And just when I sat down to drink my tea, the two-year-old decided to marathon-nurse for 30 minutes. My tea got cold.

Then, as I was putting away the lunch dishes, my husband tried to pat my ass. I swatted him away like a fly. No!

Now my two-year-old won’t nap unless he’s sleeping directly next to me.

I love these people, and I love to be loved, but sometimes I am just TOUCHED OUT.

Case in point: this morning a miracle occurred. I slept in bed ALONE for two whole hours. The baby woke up early, my husband had no work, and bless his heart, he let me sleep.

I realized, it wasn’t just the lack of children (or husbands) touching me for those hours, or the very big need for sleep I have after weeks of broken sleep. Being tired and touched out is a real thing unto itself. But what I loved most about that (untouched) sleep was that it helped me remember who I am. I dreamt the dreams I wanted to dream (literally). I curled my body in my own position. I drank in the quiet, the autonomy.

When I am feeling touched out, it usually means I am stressed out, and that the role of wife-and-mother is suffocating me. It means I need some time to reconnect with myself—even if it means turning on the TV for the kids at a non-TV time so I can get on the yoga mat; even if it means shuffling out the door for a walk when my husband gets home and I should be feeding everybody dinner. Whatever it takes—just a few minutes of alone time works wonders. I start to remember who I am, and then I can give again to those I love. It’s worth the effort, the sacrifice—for them, and for me.


I will also say this for you nursing mommies: the “touched-out while nursing” thing is REAL. It often gets worse as your nursling gets older. I have learned this from personal experience and from helping moms deal with this issue. It’s often exacerbated when your hormones levels are a bit out of control—like during ovulation, PMS, and pregnancy. Just knowing that this is part of the reason helps, I think. If it’s just a menstrual cycle thing, it will pass. Here is an article I wrote about dealing with those feelings while pregnant. Either way, breathing through it, acknowledging your feelings, and taking a bit of time to yourself can work wonders.


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7 thoughts on “When You’re a Touched Out Mama”

  • Oh my God, Wendy. Thank you! I wish someone had been there to tell me this when my girl was nursing; I had a lot of “I’m such a bad mother / wife / woman” moments, wanting people to just. stop. touching me for a minute. As always, you are a light. I wish more women had access to these kinds of discussions!

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  • It’s been twenty years, but I can still remember these feelings clearly, but had no way to really put it into words. TY. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. My three twenty-somethings are so dang wonderful!

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  • Thank you for writing about this! I’m 24 weeks pregnant and have a very nearly two year old daughter who is breastfeeding. Before falling pregnant I had horrible nursing aversion particularly when ovulating. It was so hard on all of us but helped establish some boundaries. The aversion has settled for the moment thankfully. But that overwhelm from motherhood is real. I have been trying to do a little something for myself each day and I’m finding learning something is helping. All the best!!

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