It’s normal to go through phases of parenting that make us tired. However, living in perpetual tired mom mode isn’t good for anyone. In fact, it makes fussy kids. Here are some tips:
You mean there are some mothers who aren’t perpetually exhausted?
Indeed, there are some moms peppered here and there who are energetic, happy and well-rested. But they don’t live with their kids….
Okay okay. While parenting is tiring it does not have to make a zombie out of you. It’s totally understandable that you’re a tired mom.
We often set ourselves up to fail by habits and routines that contribute to our tiredness. When we are tired we…
- pay less positive attention to our children,
- they become more moody and disobedient, and
- we forget to let enjoy them.
Do you forget to sleep, bathe, eat, relax, etc.? NO MORE. This tracker will help you consistently live within your limits so you have more love to give to your family.
The Happy Cycle
This is a real thing- if you are happy, you pay positive attention to your kids. They receive the positive attention and they are happy. Therefore, they are happy. This causes you to be happy and be positive to them.
Everyone is happy and feelin’ the love.
A vague idealistic nutshell but I have found it to be true most of the time. When we are off I say, okay, I need to get us back on this happy cycle and fast. And after it has time to re-calibrate, we are good again.
However, it’s hard to feel happy when you’re exhausted.
You may be in a season where being tired is unavoidable:
- The first few months of nighttime feedings.
- How well your babies sleep at night will be a big deal.
- When children are sick.
- Routines can change and cause sleep schedules to shift.
Here are some tried and true tips to avoid over exhaustion and keep the happy cycle going:
Establish regular nap times.
Establish regular nap times for your young children. Be sure to rest when they do.
Even if you just lay down or crash on the sofa, get as much rest time as you can. Don’t just jump to action and wash dishes, vacuum, etc but rest.
If you feel rested you’ll have more energy for housework later anyway.
- If your children are round 3.5 to 4 years old and want to drop their nap, institute “rest time.”
- Have them sit in their room or on their bed with some books or quiet toys/activities and make them stay there for an hour or so alone resting.
This works well to prevent over tiredness on their part and to give you some time to yourself.
Read: Advice For New Parents That’ll Help You Rest And Relax (And Enjoy Baby)
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Try not to start bad habits.
In the wise words of my grandmother “start out like you can hold out.”
If they are to the age where metabolically they can go 12 hours without feeding (around 4 months on average) then you can be sure they don’t need to feed 4 times between 8:30 and 7:30.
- Letting children stay up late for a special event or two is normal, but letting bedtime creep later and later will only make everyone more tired and irritable.
- TV before bedtime will mean they are overstimulated and won’t go to sleep well.
Obviously there will be times we take shortcuts, but try not to make the shortcuts the norm.
Read: The Nap Trap- How to Deal with It and Not Resist It
If you’re a tired mom, stay of the errand wagon.
I know there are things we need: groceries, toilet paper, clothes, diet coke. There are always reasons we can find to run errands.
At times it is perfectly necessary, but I try to avoid the habit of running errands daily or twice daily just to get out of the house.
Running errands, while feeling momentarily refreshing because we can look at something other than the mess our toddlers have created, will wear us out and leave us feeling more tired.
- However, this may not apply to you if you’re an extrovert and errands include socializing.
- Try running occasional errands when your husband or parents are around so you can do it solo.
- Try to run a few days worth of errands in one go.
This way while you are at home if you put on a movie or supervise a game they are playing you can find more moments of rest.
Establish independent playtime.
From a very very young age (a few months) I establish independent playtime with my children.
As a 3 month old that may mean sitting in their bouncy chair looking out the window at nature, laying on a play mat and swatting the mobiles, etc.
Of course they are supervised, but the idea is that they are learning how to function without constant stimulus from you.
If they are never happy unless you are there making ugly faces and singing then you’re in for some hard yards later.
My now 17 month old will stay in her room for 45 minutes each morning playing happily with her toys.
It gives me time to myself to clean, rest, read, or simply organize my day. When independent play is over I’m ready to play with her.
Want to get a bit more rest and break out of the exhaustion cycle? This checklist will help.
Being needed constantly makes for a tired mom.
Paying constant attention to anyone other than ourselves is tiring.
It’s ultimately why you’re a tired mom.
But by thinking proactively and parenting with a strategy , we can be as rested as possible to make our home life as happy as possible.
Maryann Murphy says
Do you people have a facebook fan page? I searched for one on facebook or twitter but could not discover one, I’d really like to become a fan!
A Mother Far from Home says
Hi, we have links to social media sites up now! Thanks for asking!
For kids Who have stopped their afternoon nap and gave quiet time instead do you do independent play time as well as the quiet time or just one of those things? My almost 4-y-o has an hour of quiet solo time after lunch in place of nap; just wondering if a morning independent play time works well along with that or if it’s too much (he already has to do plenty of self entertaining because his older brother has some behavior issues and I often have to spend a lengthy time dealing with those). Thanks! (I love your blog btw!)
Rachel Norman says
Natalie, great question. When they sort of stop taking regular naps I use the afternoon rest time as independent play. I hate to do an hour independent play then a two hour “rest time” which is a lot of time alone. Hope that helps :)