I sat in my room, back against the wall, tears streaming down my face. Minutes before I had lost it. I didn’t mean to yell at my husband. I didn’t want to pick a fight. But, as he uttered those words, “What did you do today?” I could not hold it together any longer.
What did I do?!
What did -I- do?!
It didn’t take long for my mind to start listing out everything I had managed to accomplish in my sleep deprived state. Slowly building up my wall of resentment over such a basic question. And in the breath of a sigh, I lashed out all the Hulk-sized anger that had built up throughout the day.
Not only did my overwhelm lead to me snapping at my partner that day, it also had me snapping at my kids. I was just a miserable person to be around.
It’s easy to blame it on exhaustion. Dragging your feet while fighting sleep after kids who can run filled with energy is no fun and really hard. Parenting is really hard. But, letting anger consume you through exhaustion is not healthy for yourself, your kids, or your family.
For me, it was a hard lesson to learn. A lesson that led to tears and drove a wedge into my relationship…all over a simple question of, “How was your day? What did you do?”…
10 Tips for Exhausted Moms
1. Wake up Before Your Kids Do
This is one that I struggle with because I really like my sleep. I would be completely lying if I were to say this is something I manage to accomplish regularly. But, those couple of times a week that I do manage to get out of bed before my kids do are the most productive and relaxed days that we have. Being able to wake up and take care of yourself before you have to take care of others is a huge key to having a successful and peaceful day.
2. Take a Hot Shower
When it comes to the bath versus shower debate, I am a steaming hot bubble bath at the end of the day type of person. I am not real big on showers and I am not real big on mornings. But, there is something about a hot shower that helps you kick start your day feeling refreshed. I know just how hard getting time alone to sneak in a shower can be. Most days turning on the shower in my house results in two dogs and one baby standing at the side of the tub begging to play in the water. So, don’t stress if you can’t sneak a shower in right away. Just sneak it in when you can.
3. Get Dressed
So…I pretty much live in leggings and messy hair…the stereotypical mom uniform. But, I make it a point to get out of my pajamas and into clothes that I would be comfortable wearing out in public every single day. Now I have a house full of small kids. This is going to look different for every single person, but making an effort to put yourself together every single day – even if that just means yoga pants and a clean shirt.
4. Stop Cleaning
Yep, I’m serious. Pick one day a week to deep clean as a family and do a quick pick up at night as a family. Other than that leave.the.mess.alone. Studies have shown that cleaning is stressful and is more exhausting than lack of sleep…even if that study was just made up by me, but whatever. Just stop cleaning.
5. Choose a Moment You Love
Kids grow up. Fast. It sucks to stay up all night rocking a baby that doesn’t want to be put down, but there will come a day that your baby decides they are done. Decides they are ready for the big kid bed. Decides they are done with snuggles. So, whatever stage you are in right now, choose a moment. Be mindful of that moment. Because moments are finite.
6. Have Icecream for Dinner
Sometimes it is ok to let your kids lead the adventure. Relax on the rules and accept happiness as a standard of perfection…or just throw perfection out the window altogether.
7. Don’t get Hangry
Even if that means just snacking here and there, don’t forget to feed yourself.
8. Get Outside
If your kids are driving you up the walls go someplace new -without walls- for them to explore. For the colder months and rainy days, we seek out indoor play areas that have walls they can climb. So much better than having them bounce off the walls at home 😉
9. Say No.
It’s ok. No can be such a liberating word. Stay realistic in what you can handle and say no to the rest.
10. Stay Connected
Make a point to talk to another adult every single day. There are only so many Tea Parties and conversations about Yo Gabba Gabba a person can handle without needing a friend’s shoulder to cry on.
Products for the Exhausted Mom
p.s. You are not alone.
Do you hear me? You. Are. Not. Alone.
Motherhood is a hard journey. It is a struggle to raise another tiny human. You are amazing, brave, and strong. Even on those days where you are exhausted.