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.