Exhausted? 5 Tips to Help You Through

Being a parent is awesome.  But let’s face it, it’s exhausting.

I had no idea just how tired someone could be until I spent many months of getting (maybe) three hours of sleep a night when my son B was a baby.  I walked around in a fog for what felt like eons.

I bet you’ve experienced mind-numbing exhaustion too.  Possibly from:

  • late-night feeds and diaper changes
  • a child who screams throughout the night (more delicately said, “cries nonstop at a piercing volume”)
  • dealing with a sick child, night terrors, nightmares or bedwetting
  • worrying.  is your newborn breathing? is your toddler okay after getting that goose egg on his head? is your kid making friends with the wrong (i.e. nasty) kids? is your teen headed down the wrong path? will your daughter get into university? will your son get off his butt and get a job?!
  • the constant juggling act of multiple schedules, priorities, extracurricular activities, etc.
  • [insert other cause of sleep-deprivation cruelty]

WELL, my bleary-eyed friends, there’s hope!

Here are five tips to help you through the fog…

(*wish I had thought of these things two years ago*)!

1) Break it up

We get so caught up taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves.  Part of that is taking a sanity break when needed.  Find a way to get out – and out of your routine – for a bit, or simply take a few minutes alone (bubble bath?).  You may not come back to reality feeling (or looking) totally alert, but at least you’ll get a bit of much-needed headspace.  They say a change is as good as a rest, right?

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2) Call in the troops

Ask for help.  Though it’s not always easy to do when you’re in the thick of things, reach out when you need it.  Is there someone who can step in and give you a much-needed break?

This is something I hesitate to do, though I’m getting better at it.

3) Meet with a real friend who’s been there

At the end of your rope?  Whatever you’re dealing with, it’s time to talk to someone who gets it.  ‘Cause you know what?  We all need to feel like we’re not alone in our struggles.  Have a teen who’s driving you to the brink?  Talk to someone  who’s been down that road.  They may be able to shed some insight, or at least lend a knowing ear.  And if you don’t have someone local you really relate to, then visit a loved one online through a service like Skype or Google Hangouts.

4) Accept it for what it is

You’re so tired you can barely function.  So don’t!  Give yourself permission to slow down (gasp!) and only do the stuff that’s absolutely necessary.  Your crazy pace can resume, if need be, once you feel more human.  The dishes and laundry can wait.  Maybe other stuff can too.  You’re not going to be able to be there for others if you’re about to SNAP! or pass out.

5) Remember: this too shall pass.

A good friend reminded me of this when I really needed to hear it, so now I’m reminding you.  No matter what exhausting stage you’re going through, just know… it won’t last forever.  So take a deep breath, move one step at a time and do what you can to take care of yourself.  Then try to notice – through half-closed eyelids, if necessary – the moments that are happening in front of you that will help keep you going: a big hug, a smile, a kind word from someone, a sunny day.

There are brighter, more restful days ahead!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ida Mae West-Simone October 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Dear Christine,
I remember this stage all too well, and when I was in it, looked ahead to where I am now (tween & teen) wishing for the independence that would afford me more sleep. I wish I had seen your post then, because you have outlined excellent strategies for getting through the physically tiring and sanity-trying years! From the other side (and I truly never thought I would say this) I can not believe how fast that time went – it did pass – too fast! We’re marathoners, we moms. Great post.

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christineonthebrighterside October 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Thanks so much Ida Mae, I appreciate your comment! Even though my littlest is now two, I’m still dealing with a lack of sleep issue… just not quite as intensely as before. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully the tween/teen stage is indeed bringing you more sleep!

Yes, I agree wholeheartedly – we moms are marathoners!

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