I am exhausted. It is not just a lack of sleep. I am so tired, but sleep is not an option. Each night I try to sleep, however, it is elusive. Sleep just hovers on the fringes of my mind, never fully coming upon me, yet draining me just enough to prevent me from accomplishing anything.

How can I be so angry with my husband? He works so hard. He leaves before 6 am each day to head to work and is usually home after 5 pm. He works construction. It is a physically demanding job and the Minnesota winter takes an extra toll on him. He comes home each day covered in concrete and chilled to the bone. He falls asleep on the couch if he sits for just 10 minutes.

The girls want his attention. “Daddy!” is the war cry issued from their lips the second the front door opens. Sometimes he sits in his car in the parking lot for a while before he comes inside to join us just so he has a few minutes of calm and quiet. Both of our vehicles need work and that is responsibility to handle. Plus yard work, shoveling and salting the ice slicked parking lot.

It is not right to expect him to help with chores and daily errands. Yet, my expectations are such that I need his help. I envy him his hour long commute. He has an hour each morning and evening to drive alone. No kids, no neighbors asking for favors, no one climbing on him, no one demanding his immediate attention.

All too many evenings have the same pattern. He comes home from work, I am yelling at the girls to be quiet, play nice and stop hitting each other. I curl up in a ball on the couch and want to cry. He sits down and plays games on his cell phone; ignoring us. Our oldest has a meltdown because she wants quiet and she wants away from her younger sisters. She wants attention. A-our middle daughter, bounces off the walls. She wants daddy to play, she wants to blab about her day. She has ADHD and nothing helps burn her energy. Q-our youngest wants daddy to sit on the floor and play. She wants him to wrestle and tickle her. They all want attention, they all want an activity to do. I cry as I wash dishes or fold laundry. He ignores them until he reaches his breaking point, then starts yelling at them.

Girls, do you have any homework? Have you done your reading? Have you practiced your vocab words? What time is karate class tonight? Who has a troop meeting tonight? Did you do your chores yet? Please stop yelling at each other. Q-stop hitting your sister! Someone needs to take the garbage out please. Now!!! Am I talking to myself? Move! Move! Move! J-put your damn phone down and give them a bath. I’m trying to clean the kitchen. This is pathetic! Never mind! I will do everything myself!!

Insert plenty of explicative and you will have a general plan of how are evenings operate. I wish he had the kind of job that guaranteed he would be home the same time each evening. I wish I could just curl up on the couch and be left alone. And at the same time, the dishes would be done, someone else would handle dinner, the girls would just do their chores without a fight and nothing would be expected of me. I would not have to interact with anyone.

I just need to feel taken care of. Stop ignoring me and realize I need help. Pay attention and just step in when you see I am ready to drop and tears are streaming down my face as I cook your dinner. I cry so often, but you will never hear a sound. Ignore me and you will never know I shed a single tear. My father taught me well as a child.