Just so you know

All right. I have ideas. I think about stuff. So here is the spot for stuff I'm thinking about and want to be able to share more broadly and possibly promote. Like I have time for this.

Everything is provisional at this point and subject to change in the future - as far as the blog is concerned. In real life some things will remain unchanged.

Also, our children are not really named Lenny and Linus. We are not that cool.

Feel free to share, rant, disagree, but please remember that I'm an actual person who tries to be respectful. I'd love it if you are and do to.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mommy Tip Monday: 12 Strategies for Coping with Exhaustion

So spring is finally - sort of - here.  But we could have snow tonight.  Can you believe how long and brutal this winter has been.  It's one of those "if I had known" how many factors would make having this second baby hard I don't know if I would have had the nerve.  Don't get me wrong.  I love him more than words can say.  I'm just so exhausted.  So mind-numbingly, soul-shatteringly exhausted.

So how am I coping.  Not always very well, I will be the first to admit.  But we are all still here and the kids, at least, seem to be thriving.  So maybe I can figure out a few areas where I've been helping myself out and a few others that would be helpful if I could remember to do them.  Ready?  Go!
  1. Get used to "mommy guilt."  Let's just get this one out of the way.  I wish I could tell you a way to just let go of mommy guilt, but I don't find that to be realistic right now.  I would rather be able to do just about everything a little better and when I'm exhausted it hits me even harder.  Instead of feeling guilty that I feel guilty I just try to accept that I'm not always the best at accepting myself right now.  Is that circular?  Sorry.
  2. Cultivate teamwork within the family.  Tell other people what you need and how they can help.  Chances are that hubby is tired too and his mind reading skills are a little shakier than usual.  And don't forget kids.  Even Lenny, who's five, can help in meaningful ways like putting silverware away and sorting laundry.
  3. Accept help from outside the family.  Lenny was invited to a play date Saturday.  I would have liked to stay and visit with his friend's mom (my friend) but the baby needed a nap and I was, yeah, exhausted, so I went home.  A quiet house made for a better nap for both of us.  I don't know when I'll be able to make it up to my friend.  I have to be humble about that a lot these days.
  4. Let people know when they have helped.  Being a parent is not about recognition, but we can all use a little to give us a boost.  So if it's true that we teach people how to treat us then showing appreciation for others will come back to us in the form of thanks from them.  Or at least the people around us will feel a little better, which helps.
  5. Prioritize.  The dishes are piling up, but we still have enough for at least one more meal.  If I don't get a load of laundry started, however, Lenny won't have pants to wear to school tomorrow.  That's my decision-making process.  Are we about to go hungry or be naked?  Preventing that comes first.  I'll work on the other stuff when I can.
  6. Give yourself credit.  This is probably partly the antidote to mommy guilt.  I know I must be doing some stuff right.  Making the time and taking the energy to focus on that will probably pay me back in increased motivation.
  7. Have ways to check out.  Sometimes when I'm super exhausted what my brain wants more than sleep is escape.  If I don't get it then it's even harder to do what I need to do most which is...
  8. Lean in.  Hanging back and resisting involvement with my children, especially, can be more exhausting than just committing to interacting with them.  I won't actually lose my mind if I play that board game or read that book.  And maybe for a while that internal "I'm so tired" track I'm sick of hearing will quiet down.
  9. Focus on beauty.  The baby's impossibly smooth skin.  The bright yellow daffodils that seem overexposed on a grey day. The sound of the wind in the still-bare tree branches.  Use all your senses.  Tune in to pleasure.
  10. Don't forget humor.  Lenny fell down.  He thought it was his dad's fault.  So while he's snuggling up on his dad's lap for comfort he's literally growling at him.  We're not laughing at you, sweetie.  We're laughing with you.  So start laughing.
  11. Get outside.  Fresh air is good for the body and soul.  Moving around, also.  You won't hear me saying you should go to the gym or exercise.  I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and have to be careful about activity levels.  (Plus I hate gyms and exercising for its own sake feels like a punishment.)  But being cooped up inside so much has left us cramped and a little crazy.  Swinging at the park can be just what we need. Plus?  Vitamin D.
  12. Stay hydrated.  I don't know why this is so hard for me to do.  With breastfeeding it's doubly important.  I'm pretty sure my body would function better if it had enough liquids coming in.
So twelve.  Like the tribes of Israel.  It's a good start.  Do you have any strategies I missed?


  1. #13 - Consider switching up which vitamins you take. I found that after my first baby I had to take iron every day to take me from bump-on-a-log exhausted to at-least-I-can-somewhat-deal-with-life exhausted.


    1. Good thought! Lately I've been trying to remember to take a multivitamin. Still trying to finish off my prenatal ones. B vitamins have made a difference for me in the past.

  2. Found this while searching for parenting coping strategies, both for myself and my doula clients. This list is beautiful and so helpful. Hope it's okay to link my clients to...? Thanks for posting.

    1. Sorry I missed this. We've been on vacation! Please feel free to share the link. I'm glad it's helpful.