By: Jenny Baxter
Overtiredness. It sucks the life out of every mother, every so often. The busy-ness all adds up, and one day you wake up thinking you can’t move a muscle.
The constant day-after-day grind of chucking food together, demanding children, work commitments, disturbed sleep, housework, care of family, and more. These are the normal myriad of things you do. Part of everyday life. But put them all together, and you can end up with mind-numbing, sleep-depriving, all-encompassing, bone-tired weariness. Somehow you have lost your verve, your get-up-and-go. This is exactly when, as an overtired mother, you need to know how to get your mojo back.
10 funny quotes from mothers who realised, too late, they’d lost their mojo because they were overtired:
“After feeding my newborn baby I folded the laundry, but fell asleep in the pile of clothes. I leaked milk all over the clothes, and woke up drenched.”
“One night I was co-sleeping with my baby when I thought she was waking for a feed. I woke to discover I was pushing my nipple into her ear.”
“I was attempting to do a load of laundry when I accidentally loaded the clothes into the dishwasher.”
“The other day, I tried to rock a pillow back to sleep. It wouldn’t settle no matter how much I shooshed it and patted its back (because the baby was still crying in her cot).”
“My mother was holding the baby, and I had the cat in my lap. I wanted a drink, so I stood up, lifted the cat to my shoulder, supported its head, and carried him to the kitchen. The thing was, I sat back down before realising I could’ve just put the cat on the floor.”
“I went to the shops in a t-shirt with ice packs strapped on my boobs on the outside. It was only when I was paying that I realised.”
“I spent an hour shopping, then couldn’t find my car keys. So I looked for them near my car, only to find it was still running.”
“I walked to the mall without my purse. When I realised, I went home to get it, and left again without it.”
“I kissed a pile of clean laundry on the ‘head’ while carrying it up to the bedroom.”
“I put my new phone in the washing machine with the dirty clothing.”
We all have those crazy moments, when we wonder what on earth we were doing for that to happen.
But what do you do when you get to that point? How do you recover quickly? The last thing you want to do is ignore the signs of overtiredness, and fall into motherhood regret . Or even full-blown depression. The thing to remember is that motherhood is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. In other words, how can you pace yourself today so you can keep going for the long haul?
For a busy mother this can be hard to do. But it’s OK to say, “I need to stop.” Cancel or re-schedule your commitments for the day. Some days, maybe it’s a weekend, you can go back to bed. Sleep.
It’s common to feel quite flat and a little depressed when recovering from overtiredness. This is a normal process as your “batteries recharge”. But if the lowness persists, go and see your health care professional. There may be other issues causing your problems, such as iron deficiency or peri-natal depression.
If you are looking to get your mojo back, you’re probably good at covering tiredness up! But you are not a better mother for it. While you don’t want to end up nagging, whinge-ing or whining, sometimes you do need to let others in your world know you are pushed to your limit. Talk to your partner, tell a friend, call a family member, or maybe even ring Lifeline in Australia, or a similar crisis support service in other countries.
Sometimes all you need to do is get the feeling off your chest, and know that someone else knows.
Have a soak in the bath or have a hot shower. Use some of those body lotions that are sitting in the cupboard from last year’s Christmas stash. Organise yourself some alone time, with the help of someone in your close circle.
A mother’s overtiredness can be beaten, you just need to give yourself some space. Here’s more about self-care>>>
I know. This one is really obvious – and it’s the one that’s so easy to NOT do!
Explain how wrung out you are, and give yourself a few hours of space. Offer to return the favour sometime, so she can get her mojo back!
Even 15-minutes of shut-eye can make all the difference. Set the timer on your phone. Rest. If you have a baby/toddler who takes an afternoon nap, why not let yourself sleep today, instead of the washing laundry, or doing the vacuuming?
Maybe today, when overtiredness is defining your life, it’s not a good day to do that exercise class, or jog the kilometres you were planning. Instead, plan to do that tomorrow, and rest today.
Alternatively, sometimes a good heart-thumping exercise routine might be just what you need. If you are tired and lethargic, the natural endorphins released from doing some exercise could be just the thing. It’s one possible way for an overtired mother to beat the weariness, and get her mojo back! It could also help you sleep better tonight.
When an overtired mother thinks of food, she can be so tempted to grab a packet of chips, or bar of chocolate for some fast energy. But that won’t help much in the long run. What’s needed is good, wholesome food to revitalise and nourish. Salads, fruit, and quality protein will sustain much better, and give a longer energy boost.
You will feel so much better than eating the other garbage.
While everyone has to be careful not to expose themselves to too many harmful sunrays, there is also a problem with too little! Especially in winter, and especially if you are darker-skinned. In those cases you’re at risk of not receiving enough vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D helps you absorb food, and is a key to sustaining your energy levels. It reduces pain and inflammation, improves immunity, and helps your skeleton be strong. The mid-winter blues are often attributed to a lack of sunshine being absorbed by the skin, so get out there and get some! This is possibly the simplest and cheapest way for an overtired mother to beat the yawns, and get her mojo back.
Getting sunshine is not an overnight (hahaha!) quick fix though, as it might take several sessions outside, depending on the time of year and your skin colour. Read this article to find out more.
Take some long, slow, deep, relaxing breaths. In-1-2-3. Out-1-2-3. Do that four or five times to relax.
It’s easy to underestimate the need for some good doses of oxygen sometimes, and if you are tired you tend to breathe less deeply. The more oxygen in your body, the more energy you have. Realsimple.com
This simple revitaliser is a frequently forgotten quickie on the run. Perhaps your intake of water is already sufficient, and in that case, no stress. Otherwise – go hydrate!
This one may surprise you, but have a go at it anyway. Consciously give your burden to Jesus – he is your friend who sticks closer than a brother. Also ask him to show you what you can let go of today. You might be surprised by what comes to mind.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Jesus Christ
Sometimes, it’s the things you carry around in your brain that’s making you tired. The 101 details of life.
You know what it can be like: buy bread, ring Mary, show Charlie how to cook an egg, feed the dog, wash that t-shirt for the game on Saturday, book into the dentist, remind Hannah after school – before netball training – about the message from her friend, mail that letter, pay the water bill, send those emails, return library books, book car in for service. And on and on it goes. It’s exhausting keeping all that stuff in your head!
So. Every overtired mother can write it down. Get every little detail out on paper. Sort out the items: errands, phone calls, emails, diary entries and reminders. Then, make a To Do list. And while you’re at it, schedule in some time to stop and rest.
You will be amazed how much energy you regain simply because you don’t have the constant whir of “stuff” in your head.
Your music choices affect your thinking. Research indicates that listening to music releases dopamine – that feel good hormone!
The answer is to play upbeat, positive songs. Don’t like what’s being served up to you on Spotify? Change it. Listening to depressing music on the car radio? Switch stations. If you are an overtired mother, you can sometimes beat it simply by adjusting your music choices.
Those adult colouring books that have hit the market the last few years really can be stress relievers. There are many therapeutic benefits! Set yourself up with colouring for you and your kids. If you are an overtired mother you can get ahead by colouring, and enjoying being creative together.
However, colouring is only one creative outlet. There are so many more. What creative skills did you really enjoy when you were younger? Make a list of 4-5 things you did once, or always wanted to try. Schedule some time to try one of them.
If just planning to do something like this gives you a boost of energy – just wait until you do it!
Sometimes, all you can do to get your mojo back is to pray.
But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
Article supplied with thanks to Treasuring Mothers.
About the Author: Married with 5 children, and 3 adorable grandkids, Jenny is an accomplished writer, manager and Board Director with a heart for motherhood.