The truest test of Mommyhood! What is it you ask? How you parent when you yourself are exhausted and near the brink of falling asleep while reading your child's bed time story.
I work 55 hours a week with an in-home day care. I care for a total of fifteen children a day from the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. I am ready for sleep by 8:30 at night. My children are not. They get a two and a half hour nap every day. I legally cannot take one, nor do I have the time. Dishes need to be done, some kids decide they aren't napping, or laundry could be folded during these precious few moments of stillness in my home. It is also during these moments that I get to gulp down an unhealthy lunch and make a few phone calls for dental appointments, doctor appointments, tax appointments, etc., A busy life we all lead, but how do we lead it without coming dangerously close to fatigue melt down on ourselves and our families. Dancing the fine line myself these days, I'm not sure I have the answer, but here is what I do on a daily basis so I am capable to laugh instead of scream (and cry) with my kids.
Take Time For Myself:
Daily I get time for enjoying myself. This is because I set time aside that cannot be stolen. I get up before anyone else and run three miles five mornings a week. Now, this does a great deal for my inner and outer being. I am in shape and can keep up with all of my rowdy kids. We run around all morning dancing, pretending to be choo-choo trains and fishies. Without my daily workout and cardiovascular exercise, I'm sure that I wouldn't have the energy to keep up with them. (It also does wonder for the sex drive. When I work out, I like myself, and sex is a lot more enjoyable when you like yourself. It doesn't hurt when you have sexy legs and great stomach muscles to entice your dear husband with :o) Also, while the kids nap, I take thirty minutes a day to write. Another truly rewarding activity in my busy day with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Drink Water and Take Vitamins:
Drinking several large glasses of water a day keep me feeling fresh and full of energy as well. Not to mention my clear skin. Now it isn't that clear, because I'm a junk food junkie, but that brings me to the vitamins.
Daily I take several vitamins, because I don't eat healthy enough to get what I need through nutrition. I can't stand vegetables or meat, so I take plenty of B, E, and calcium supplements, as well as some St. John's Wart to help with energy. I also steal a half a peanut butter sandwich to boost my energy level before the kids get up from their naps. In all that I've been reading, one multivitamin just doesn't do it if you lack areas of nutrition in your diet. I purchase a multipack that is prepackaged which contains six vitamins. The bonus -- it's idiot proof to get me through the day. I can also say that I have not been sick once this winter since I started taking the vitamins.
As easy as this sounds it is the root to all evil. Whenever I am about to blow my stack for minuscule things like getting out of bed for the third potty break, or Sam is drinking out of Rook's sipper cup, I realize, "Hey, I need to take a breath," and as soon as I do my brain kicks in and tells me how silly I am.
This is especially necessary to think of at key stressful points in my day. One O'clock and Nine O'clock. Nap time and bedtime. I'm so tired myself that I forget to calm down and breath. I've just bathed two boys, jammied them, brushed three sets of teeth, washed my face, pottied us all and now I'm ready for sleep. Who ever invented bedtime stories did not do it for the exhausted Mom's benefit. I am so tired by the time I place my second child into bed, that a bed time story really makes me want to hurl!
We have completely changed this routine and made up one of our own. My oldest child (who stays up later than the first) gets into bed with me and while laying in a dark relaxing room, we sing a song, tell a story, tell each other about our days and go to sleep. It takes all of ten minutes and I get to roll over and go to sleep too. When my husband comes to bed several hours later, he picks up our son and puts him to bed in his own room. Very stress free, the way I like it!
Knowing When To Take Your Own Time Out:
This makes me laugh. When my son was two, I remember saying to him, "Mommy needs a time out right now," ROTFLMAO He just didn't get it and it wound up making things so much worse. But, what I am talking about here is, whether you work outside the home, in the home, or just enjoy time with your kids, know when to say no! I'm at the brink this last two weeks. I need time off. I don't have it planned, but for the next two weeks, I'm going to take one extra day off from my day care. Be creative too! I am taking a week's vacation in four weeks, so even though I desperately need these mental health days, I don't want to burden my dcp's with taking more time off. So, I am having a helper come in to watch the kids on Monday's for the next two weeks, so that I can get out and away and breath a little clearer. My kids will thank me for it on Tuesday :o)
These are my four fatigue busting tips. I hope that you can benefit from them and breath clearer yourself.
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