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The Luxury of Being Tired

By Barrington H. Brennen, September 9, 2014, 2020

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Barrington H. Brennen

Voices are screaming from every corner of the house.  The telephone is ringing off the hook.  The food is on the stove.   The television is blasting the children’s afternoon special.  While the food is cooking you are about to start preparing the little ones’ school uniforms for the next day.  Grammy is calling for some assistance at her home.  The washing machine is active with the week’s laundry. The house is dirty and you must do some cleaning before your guests arrive.  Just when you are about to catch your breath a little one runs in crying because he just fell down and bruised his knee.   You must pause and be the family doctor right now.  


Although you arrived home from work very tired, you cannot enjoy the gift of being tired.   The work has to go on.  You must be the super woman to do two full-time jobs—in and out of the home—and do them very well.  The children’s needs have to be met.  They are younger and fragile.  They would not understand.  So, even though you feel like pulling your hair out and screaming, you must keep your composure.   The children must not know that you are about to fall out.  They must not know that you want to scream. They must never know that you are excruciatingly tired and weak.  Your back and head are bursting with pain.  Pain killers are not helping. The children must never know that you are just a pill away from going crazy.   You will never enjoy the natural gift of being tired until you end up in bed sick—dead sick.  Even when in bed, away from the children, your head is spinning, wondering how to make the next day easier.  But it is impossible all alone.   When will you ever be able to truly enjoy one of life’s gifts of rejuvenation—tiredness?   Is it only a mirage in the distance of your life—truly a luxury you cannot afford?   What should be a natural health gift as a result of a hard day's work is a difficult-to-obtain, quite expensive, luxurious amenity—tiredness.  How ridiculous!


"What should be a natural health gift as a result of a hard day's work is a difficult-to-obtain, quite expensive, luxurious amenity—tiredness. 

How ridiculous!"



But where is your partner? Where is your husband?  Is he somewhere enjoying the luxury of being tired?  That’s not fair.  Has he assumed that you can handle all this work because he is “working the hardest” and bringing in more cash.   Where is the one who cuddled with you in a soft bed of love and passion to create the formula for your offsprings?  Now it seems as though you were just a place for him to plant his seeds.  Yes, at first he seemed so caring, loving and tender.  Initially his presence provided the sunshine and the rain to help mature the growing relationship and the little ones.  But now his promised care and love has diminished into the thin air leaving only behind the skeleton of your love.  There is no more sunshine in your life.   Perhaps when you get old and your body is twisted and in pain from arthritis and hypertension,  you will be able to experience what it means to be tired.



Why is being tired so important?   Tiredness is the result of the body and brain doing physical and mental labor which requires one to stop, rest and rejuvenate before going on.  Tiredness is nature’s a warning tool to allow humans not to go too far and work ourselves to pieces.  Tiredness is to protect us from becoming mentally and physically ill.  Imagine not being able to get tired.   It would be as bad as not being able to feel pain.  One can have a serious deep wound and not be aware that he or she is profusely losing blood that can lead to death.  Similarly, when one cannot respond to or is not being allowed to respond to tiredness in appropriate ways (rest, sleep, change), it impacts seriously his or her health that may lead to a very slow, painful death.  Could it be that husbands who do not allow their spouses to enjoy the gift of being tired are actually killing them slowly?


We know that chronic tiredness causes chronic stress. Research tells us that “stress can change the size of your brain (and make it smaller).”  Bell Beth Cooper, a co-founder of Exist, a personal analytics platform to help you track and understand your life, states in her article on tiredness that a study found that in “rats who were exposed to chronic stress, the hippocampuses in their brains actually shrank. The hippocampus is integral to forming memories. It has been debated before whether Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can actually shrink the hippocampus, or people with naturally smaller hippocampuses are just more prone to PTSD. This study could point to the stress being a factor in actually changing the brain.”  


Sometimes overworked mothers discover that they are having problems with their memory.  Research tells us that if they could get small naps each day their memory will improve.   It is imperative that these over-worked, tired mothers pause and enjoy their tiredness.  Take some naps. 



I appeal to all husbands to make sure that you are actively involved in the nurture and care of the family.  It is not only the responsibility of the mother.  Do not allow the mother of your children to labor hard at work and at home and not be able to take a rest.   It is imperative that you never underestimate the effects of your spouse's work on her physique and her brain.  Note that even sitting behind a desk all day working can be as tiresome as one who is mixing concrete with his hands on the outside.


It does not matter how early you have to leave home to go to work.  It is also your responsibility to care for the home and its occupants.  It is not right for the mother to sacrifice her schedule, recreation enjoyment, meals, rest, etc., while you come home when you want to and do not participate in household chores.  Get involved.  Love your family.  Let your wife enjoy the gift of tiredness.  She will live longer and healthier.


Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family therapist. Send your questions or comments to barringtonbrennen@gmail.com or write to P.O. Box CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit www.soencouragement.org  or call 242-327-1980 or 242-477-4002










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