Today I’m completely exhausted as I write this post. It’s sort of therapeutic to write while your brain is on empty. I spent the morning at a matinee watching the movie “Despicable Me 3,” then went to the playground, followed by swim lessons, and then I took a trip to my favorite bakery/café to buy dinner and dessert. This left me completely out of energy for the evening, which fortunately for me, I could chill out at home the rest of the evening because my son was away.
I feel like as parents we are in a constant state of exhaustion either mentally or physically. When my son is away I spend a lot of time cleaning, resting, and attempting to do things I want to do like blogging without distractions. I also do things I cannot do because my son won’t let me (by “let” I mean he makes the experience so miserable that I don’t want to do that activity with my kid around, like clothes shopping). I contemplate resting when my son isn’t with me, but then everything just piles up and adds to my stress level. So, I feel like I’m just constantly busy and moving all the time which makes me a bit tired by the end of the day. Then every so often, my body just won’t do one more thing and I’m forced to relax for an entire day. I find when I relax too much I feel worse, so I don’t rest for prolonged periods of time, not that I ever have that much free time anyway. 😉
Since I had my son when I was over 35, I often think I might have more energy if I had my son when I was younger. However, parents that I know of all ages complain about exhaustion. Thus, I think the parental exhaustion issue is universal based on the conversations I’ve had with other parents.
So, you might be reading this to get some great advice on coping with parental exhaustion and I will tell you what I do. I classify this information as survival tips, because they aren’t ideal for everyone but it’s all I can offer.
My short list of tips for managing parental exhaustion:
- Let the house get dirty sometimes – You might do this already and won’t admit it publicly, but if you want to get some rest time don’t clean for a few weeks. Yes, it sounds bad but sometimes you should take a break. I’m all about self-care and when I’m at the end of my rope and the exhaustion is starting to take over, I let the house get messy and the laundry pile up. It does a world of good for building up my energy reservoir.
- Take a couple vacation days and stay home – I did this a lot when my son was an infant. I dropped him off at daycare and went back home to sleep and relax. It was awesome. It was a great way to rejuvenate and get my happiness back. I don’t do it as much as I should now. I usually do a modified version which I use my vacation day to get my hair done at a salon or go shopping in peace. Either way, we all need a day to do whatever we want for a few hours without children around, it makes us better parents.
- Give your kid the iPad or turn on a movie – Sometimes I’m just tired. I’ve had a horrible week at work or I’m just irritated in general. It happens and I don’t want to be frustrated with my son, because I’m feeling moody so I find that getting him a new iPad game/app or letting him watch a movie is a great way for me to get an hour or so of much needed rest time. Typically, I will have good snacks around too so we can relax and eat for a bit.
- Make the entire day a kid day – I do this one day every weekend my son is with me. I make a whole day about him. We will go to the museum, to the park, and then out to eat or eat at home, making something together. This can be tiring on the physical end but it relieves a lot of stress for me mentally. Seeing my son enjoying himself and having a great day brings me an enormous amount of joy and happiness. Thus, a lot of life stress issues can easily be forgotten in those moments and it’s absolutely amazing.
I hope you are reassured that you are not alone in this parental exhaustion struggle. All parents get tired and are tired. We are all just pushing through, so don’t feel bad about it. As parents, we just need some validation that we are not as bad as our parents 😉 and that we are not complete failures. So, I hope that you push through your exhaustion and figure out a way to manage it better. If you have some suggestions for coping with parental exhaustion, please leave them in the comments for this post. Thanks for reading!
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