Can you have a motherhood hangover?  The very fact that Wickipedia, in their definition of hangover, makes the distinction of “an alcohol hangover” suggests, YES!

“drowsiness, headache, concentration problems, dry mouth, dizziness, gastrointestinal complaints, fatigue, sweating, nausea, hyper-excitability, anxiety, and a feeling of general discomfort”

Check, check, check.  I had all of these recently and I hadn’t been out drinking.  Our oldest, almost 5, came down with the flu.

Here lies one of several enigmas of parenting – in the heat of the moment, when your little one is suffering, you take on an adrenaline induced super power.  Every fiber in your being, even at 3:00am, is dedicated to bringing comfort to the most important patient in the universe.  Just a few hours earlier, you laid your head down with sweet notions of a solid night’s rest.  That notion is now gone.  And you’re okay with it, at now 4:00am, because this is your very DNA and you are to make it better.

And then….there is the morning after.  Oh, the morning after.  I am continually learning about the  “mothering morning after.”  When the most important patient in the universe feels better…the fantastic-ness of it is only slightly tarnished by the fact that you now feel like several varieties and shades of poo.

What to do with the morning after?  I highly recommend coffee, and connecting with women who get it.  Sometimes the best form of grace is the smile of a veteran mom who has been there, done that.  She’ll hear your pitiful story, pass no judgment, lovingly tell you that you will make it, all the while gentling pulling you up by your boot straps because you must march on.  Reassuring, anecdotal, willing and able to make you laugh.  This is another reason that I enjoy where I work.  These women get it.  The water cooler isn’t a place for gossip: it’s a place for building up and swapping work life balance.

Occasionally, I hear their horror stories of when their kids were that age, but most importantly, is their sweet and confident reminder that it is all worth it.  There is a lot of laughter and cheering one another on.  And I am reminded that the church is not the only place where the older women train the younger.

At this stage, it is hard to believe that I could be one of those veteran moms, someday:  I’ll be generous with the flavored coffee creamer, hands out chicken biscuits and Tylenol, and say, slightly wistfully, “I remember that, it was tough, but you’ll get through it!”

And I’ll have chocolate and fresh fruits to share, too.  Lots and lots of chocolate. 🙂