If a good night’s rest seems like a faraway dream, welcome to motherhood. The season of having little ones sometimes seem to require more of us than we have to give. Having “been there, done that” for about 25 years, I *get* the feeling of desperation that sometimes overwhelms tired moms.
Here are some ideas on how to survive—and thrive—when you’re one tired mama.
Take off the cape. You know, the Super Mom cape. You are human. You cannot do it all. The years of caring for children (and that includes teenagers) are demanding, but they are not forever. Don’t miss them by trying to impress people or prove something, thereby working yourself into the ground.
Simplify. If you’re in an extra-tiring season of life, see what you can do–or not do–(or change) to simplify. Use paper plates or disposable diapers, plan very simple meals, just say no to outside activities for a time, stay home more and commit to less.
Go to bed. Well, duh, you may say. But I know all too well the temptation to stay up late after everyone goes to bed, just to be alone and scan Pinterest. Of course there are times when you have to stay up to pack for a trip or finish a project, but generally, try to have a decent bedtime. If you have tired adrenals you might get a second wind at about 11:00pm, or you may feel tired but not want to go to bed. Resist the urge and head to bed—you’ll be a happier, more cheerful girl tomorrow.
Clean your room. Maybe you’re avoiding your bedroom because it’s messy and unattractive. Hey, it’s the first thing you see when you open your eyes, and the last thing you see before you close them at night. Give some priority to yourself and your spouse. Tidy up your room and change the sheets. Make your bedroom a haven and retreat and you’ll rest better.
Talk to yourself. Whenever you tell yourself (and others) how tired you are, you reinforce it and make it worse! Try saying “I feel great!” or changing your thoughts to a prayer of “Thank You, Lord, for giving me energy for today!” You can talk yourself into self-pity and physical exhaustion, or you can encourage yourself and create physical energy—all with your words.
Acknowledge the effects of fatigue. Life is darker late at night. Physical fatigue can play havoc with emotions and clarity of thinking. Add some hormones to the mix and you’re treading on thin ice. Acknowledge that you’re tired, and now is not the best time to make decisions or have a marital discussion. But don’t use it as an excuse to be as bad as you wanna be.
Be very careful with comparisons and wishful thinking. It won’t help to get resentful about how much sleep others get, or to watch the clock so you can tell everyone how many times you were up last night. Wishing away babyhood is foolish. You’re not gonna die, even though you may feel desperate at times. Persevering with good cheer builds a kind of quiet strength that will benefit you the rest of your life.
You’ll notice that I didn’t give advice for getting your baby to sleep all night or cry it out. Those are things that each family has to work out for themselves, although I encourage you to listen to your heart and not the experts. I was a breastfeeding, sleep-with-your-baby, rock-them-to-sleep kind of Mama and that may not be your heart. The fact is that nighttime parenting is messy and imperfect, and there are no easy answers.
I just want to encourage tired Moms that “this, too, shall pass,” and fighting it and resenting it in the meantime just makes it harder. When your baby grows up and leaves home, you won’t regret the nights of sacrifice and snuggles.
Do you have a tip to share or a bit of encouragement for a tired Mom?