Earlier it took me 20 minutes to get my son changed out of his dirty play clothes into clean clothes. This was after I drew him a random mid-day bath with epsom salt and essential oils to try to “bring him down a notch” before naptime.
It felt like a 20 minute high intensity interval training workout while battling his wiggling body as I tried to lather his skin with coconut oil and get him dressed. He thought the whole process a total riot!
I had nothing left to give to my son after he was dressed so I carried all 35 pounds of him, (he wouldn’t come with me when I asked him nicely) laid him in bed, gave him his blanket, and closed the door excited to finally sit down, drink tea, and write this article.
Now here I am 30 minutes later sitting on my bed in disbelief while my son takes down all the hangers in my closet and throws them around my room. The nap didn’t take.
Yup, sometimes with motherhood, there are no breaks and the exhaustion is unreal.
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How to overcome mom exhaustion the realistic way
You can’t. The end.
Jk! Now on to the tips I am currently implementing to help myself. Hopefully they help you too!
Change your Activity to Change your Mindset
If I had a nickel for every time my mother told me to change my mind, I would likely have 5,000 nickels. Have you ever been so frustrated with something (or someone) that you can only see life through a negative lens? That’s me today and I’m not proud to omit it.
How many of your mommying days go like this…
“I’m going to get up early, watch the sunrise, drink coffee slowly, and workout before the kids are awake.” →→→ “I haven’t brushed my teeth and its 4 pm, my house is a total wreck. The chicken I pulled out 15 minutes ago likely won’t be unthawed in time so frozen organic pizza it is. At least it’s organic.”
I feel like a failure when I am overwhelmed with frustration aimed at my son for the unrelenting, disorganized behavior he displays.
“He is a great kid. I am so blessed to call him mine so why do I feel so frustrated and tired.”
That’s my internal self-talk starting. It goes on and sometimes it works to pull me out of a negative cloud.
Be right back….
Sorry, I just had to go clean up a bunch of broken hangers and try to put my son down for a nap for the second time.
My days have been like this for almost a year now and I am tired.
That doesn’t means there aren’t solutions for negative mindset that often overtakes you and leaves you feeling even more exhausted.
The first step…change your activity.
For example. I am now finishing this article at 9 pm because my day called for something else a little more fun. Wanna know what we did?
We baked cookies, the kind with real sugar, not the healthy version I ususally make, and watched The Lion King.
Sometimes you may need to change your activity and simply do something fun. I find going outside is the best form of medicine for the crazy kid/tired mom combo.
There will be other times though where you just simply need a break and a nap.
There was one day where my son spent the entire afternoon in his room doing self-directed play. I set him up with a train track, all the hot wheels cars that he had, and locked the door. While he played I shut my eyes.
Obviously, you don’t want to resort to that one every time but desperate times call for a bit of a self-imposed break don’t you think?
Beg your mom to come take the kids away for a bit
You read that right.
I try my best to implement calm parenting tactics in my day to day motherhood journey.
I am mindful of my actions to the best of my ability, even when they aren’t the best choice (like yelling for example).
Yelling, is a terrible way to parent a toddler but I am guilty of this occasionally.
Upping the volume of my voice was an unintentional reflex after getting head-butted by a toddler who wouldn’t stop jumping on the couch right next to me after I asked him to stop and got him books for us to read together. Half-way through a 20 word book, there he went, jumping again and head butted me right in the face.
That shit hurt.
Yes sometimes you can be all the mindful, you can put together crafts, cook together, go for walks, go to parks, watch an educational program like Sesame Street, but your toddler is having an energetic day and you are not.
For those super energetic days, I recommend a bounce house.
We got the luxury of a weekend away a few months ago. This was a true luxury for our military family because we live far away from both sets of parents.
What I learned from this unicorn experience is that getting away from your kids really does “recharge the batteries” so to say.
If positive parenting is important to you, which it should be, then you need to plan ahead for a big ole healthy serving of not seeing your kids for days at a time.
I am no parenting expert. I don’t claim to be. The advice in this blog is the culmination of my personal experience and that of some very well put-together books and other parenting bloggers I respect. But one thing I know is that no one escapes the toddler years without a few bruises along the way.
So go ahead and stop reading this article and call your mom to ask her when you can drop the kids off for a week!
Stop using wine to wind down at night
I feel my nose growing like Pinocchio.
My extended family is some wine-drinking Catholics. We drink wine to celebrate. We drink wine to mourn. We drink wine to cook. We drink wine to dine.
But the day I turned 30 I realized a hard truth. Drinking wine makes you feel like complete crap the next day. Especially if you have more than one glass.
And who really drinks only one glass of wine?
If you really want to stop being such a tired mom then you have to stop drinking nightly wine and switch to water. You have to hydrate your cells and get a good night sleep. Wine makes both of those things difficult.
I really didn’t want to write these words. I wanted to continue to live in my jovial delusion that a daily evening glass(es) of wine is ok. I mean the Viking women drank mead and they birthed warriors that took over the world!
If I am being honest with myself it actually was ok for a short while when I had an infant who was generally happy as long as I kept him fed and snuggled.
But if you are reading this article, you likely have a much busier child than I did when my baby was under 18 months old. I think the very day he turned 18 months was the first day I felt slapped in the face with the mental exhaustion of motherhood and I am just NOW figuring out what to do about it.
One of these has been the assiduous process of eliminating my nightly cup(s) of organic, no added sulfites wine.
For me, even biodynamic wines interfere with my sleep and make me forget to drink water.
It might be time for you to do this too.
If you are one that likes to drink a glass after work or as you make dinner, I suggest starting out by cutting one night a week and replace it with a sparkling mineral water with lemon. Then slowly up the days until you are only drinking wine on nights you are waking up to dual parenting.
A mom who is better hydrated and slept well can handle the daily craziness better than the one who finally starts feeling better around 5 pm just in time to pop open a bottle of rosé. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s hard to omit it but wine doesn’t make anyone a better mom.
You may not succeed in this category every time. I am the first to omit this is a hard one. But you will find the day after a night you don’t drink, you are much better able to cope with #busymomlife.
Exercise and sleeping more are the obvious answers for exhaustion. It is hard to find time to sleep more. That is dictated by the hours your little one sleeps.
Exercise, however, can be squeezed into your day.
I know it is hard at first but put one foot in front of the other until you have completed at least 30 minutes a day 4-5 days a week as bare minimum maintenance. The extra endorphins will help with mom exhaustion even if it doesn’t feel like it right away.
Before I became pregnant, I was a working out machine. I was a 5 days-a-week, calorie counting, climbing, weightlifting yogi who planned to work out all of pregnancy and bounce right back after.
You wanna know the truth? I am 2.5 years postpartum and just NOW lost all the “baby weight.”
I completely underestimated the metabolism shift and physical exhaustion motherhood would bring. Sometimes it feels like my mind wants to do 20 one-handed push-ups but my body is saying, not today Linda, probably not ever!
I thought that by the six month mark I would surely fit into my old jeans and be able to go on a three mile run keeping a 8:00 pace.
That thought is almost laughable compared to my 1.5 miles without stopping on a good day.
But you know what, I will never give up on the dream of squatting 150 again and sending an epic climb in New Zealand.
Every week I am faithful, day after day pushing through the lack of motivation to just get out there, walk 2 miles, and tack on a few lunges at the end.
You will never regret a poorly executed, underperformed workout like you will not working out at all.
It is completely achievable to fit in some form of physical activity into your daily life and honestly, it makes mom-ing a busy little person so much easier. They will copy you. They will learn from you. They will be outside soaking in the sunshine and there will be moments when you don’t feel so tired.
Diffuse awakening essential oil blends
I am a huge fan of essential oils. The offer both true medicinal and powerful placebo benefits.
There’s something about the process of filling your diffuser up with essential oils that are known to awaken and refresh your senses. My brain can almost anticipate the positive change.
Cedarwood is a family favorite because it supports focus for both parents and kids. This is a great oil for kids with ADD.
Ylang Ylang is another great essential oil for both energy and mood. I especially diffuse this oil in the winter because I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Studies show that ylang ylang is helpful in reducing stress, improving circulation, and taking the edge off depression. We diffuse this and also mix it with a carrier oil and put it on the back of our neck.
Rosemary is another go-to essential oil for improving memory and alertness. In fact, I am guilting of diffusing all three of these in a blend when I am really having a rough day.
Clove essential oil is another winter favorite because it not only boosts energy but it’s great for cold and flu season.
Drink Medicinal Coffee
Coffee sounds good doesn’t. Hold on a sec, let me go brew a cup for myself before we get back to this.
Ok, so everyone knows that moms drink coffee when they are tired. But have you ever just NEEDED that afternoon cup of coffee only to find you cannot get to sleep 6 hours later?
That’s why I absolutely love having mushroom coffee in the afternoon. This stuff is loaded with anti-inflammatory and cognitive benefits. The first time I tried mushroom coffee I was amazed that I could drink two large cups in the morning and not have the jitters. I could also drink and afternoon cup and still get to sleep at night.
Gretchen Rubin, an expert on happiness said, “The days are long, but the years are short.”
One day we will fully understand the meaning behind this. The long days of yoga pants, brain fog, and mom exhaustion will be behind us. We will only remember the delicious chubby cheeks, the precious moments that melted our hearts, and will give anything to go back and have just one more day.
But right now, we are tired. We want to pluck our eyebrows and go to the bathroom alone. Right now, we need extra cups of coffee and more laughter with friends. Right now, we need our own mom more than ever.
What has been your hardest day as a mom and how did you cope with it? Let me know in the comments.