Competitive tiredness – who is the most exhausted?

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Saturday 5th May 2012

Did you know there’s a new syndrome called “competitive tiredness?” Apparently loads of us spend our lives bickering about who is the most tired. Well, in our house my husband reckons he’s in pole position because he works killer hours at the office. My children are revising for exams so they’re exhausted and I think I’ve got a claim because I’ve got a mass of deadlines piling up.

But perhaps the answer to the conundrum is to copy the example of two close friends. With four children – aged ten, seven, five and nine months – and a hi-tech business they run together, Charlie and Anna swapped roles for a week to see who had the most demanding life.

Anna took sole charge of the office for five days while Charlie ran around after the children. He got up in the night to see to the baby, organised the school run and did the shopping, cooking and cleaning. She worked 12-hour days at the office before coming home to four boisterous children at night.

It was a real eye-opener for both of them. Charlie couldn’t believe how shattering the constant broken nights were and Anna groaned with exhaustion when he handed over the baby the instant she walked through the door in the evening. But they both said they’d do it again like a shot and reckon we should all give it a go. The only trouble is that I wouldn’t be much cop at running my husband’s business and he’d be hopeless at reviewing books. Perhaps it’s best to stick to the day job. What do you think?

PS. Lunch at the pub is a brilliant way to recover from a bout of competitive tiredness. The picture above shows the village of Farnborough in north Oxfordshire, home to one of my favourite pubs. A glass of wine, delicious lunch and good company – my perfect spring Saturday.


6 comments so far

  • Funnily enough, the husband and I both work at home, and I’ve got to admit that now the kids don’t really need me anymore, he has a much tougher life than I do.

    Having said that, I have found the time to write five novels in the last three, and have finally found a great agent to help me sell them, so, with a bit of luck, I’ll soon be as busy as he is.

  • Nicola, five novels in three years is completely staggering. I’m in awe! Lots of congratulations! And good luck with selling them. Keep me posted.

  • I read this post just after a tiring walk up and down Derbyshire hills, looking at bluebells. As I’m least fit, I am most tired – but getting dinner ready is ‘my job’. On the way home, I suggested laughingly that the least tired should make dinner – unfortunately, no one jumped with enthusiasm. ‘Least tired’ would probably be the dog anyway and he’s not known for his culinary skills!

  • Brilliant, Mary. The dog should do the dinner! But bluebells and the Derbyshire hills sound stunning. And hooray, I’m not doing cooking tonight. DH has bought from a trip to Betty’s in Northallerton.

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