Posts Tagged ‘stay calm and patient’

I have 4 small children.  There are times I am so tired I could cry.  I don’t know how I am going to get through the next 3 weeks, let alone the next 3 years!  Help! –NB, Baltimore, MD

Your problem is one I hear about from parents all the time.  It happens to every parent, sooner or later. As we nurture and work with our kids, all day every day, each of us will eventually find ourselves “running on empty”.  When we become totally exhausted, a sense of overwhelm can set in.  Take heart and take a step back. Look at your situation with a little compassion.

Before we were parents, we knew we needed to take care of all our basic human needs in order to maintain some kind of balance.  None of that has changed.  We still have to eat properly, get enough sleep, have some form of mental stimulation and enjoy meaningful adult interactions. If anything, we need it MORE now!

It is very important to learn your signals of overexhaustion, as they are very individual.   If you need help,  get it. There really is no other option. If we are to care for our little ones in a loving, patient way, we have to draw strength from inside. If there is nothing from which to draw, everyone loses.   Being a martyr eventually produces resentment.  You don’t deserve that. Your kids don’t deserve that either.

You didn’t say whether or not you are employed outside the home. Some moms find that part-time employment has certain advantages.  It preserves the majority of your time and focus for family life while providing a regular outlet for social and intellectual stimulation. It also imposes a structure to your daily schedule that, in and of itself, can help you maintain a more predictable and manageable flow of activity. Whether or not you have an outside job, though,  it is extremely important to find at least 20 minutes a day to do something that you love to do.  It will become the island of time you cherish that you will look forward to throughout the day.

I also want to give you a few suggestions that you can use to reduce your actual work load.   Start with your spouse. The two of you may need to redistribute some of the home tasks to lighten your burden.  Some things like laundry and housecleaning may even have to be professionally outsourced for a period of years. You should not feel guilty about asking for this kind of help when you need it.

Here are a few more tips.   Each change  is intended to create a little more space for you to nurture yourself. The sum total can bring about a major improvement in your overall sense of well-being.

  • A teen helper on nights and weekends can provide an extra pair of hands.,
  • If you don’t have extended family leaving nearby, you might consider “adopting” an affectionate and capable ”empty nester’ who is happy to act as surrogate grandparent.
  • Why not switch off with other parents hosting play dates, giving each other a break every so often?
  • Over time, you can (and should) teach your children age appropriate, self care techniques as well as basic family tasks.
  • Create a fund of good ideas that suit your life.  Talk to friends.  Once you start looking, you will discover time saving ideas in books, magazines and on websites. one of the most labor intensive periods of life.
You deserve a break today!   Thanks for your question and hatzlachah rabah (have great success)!  This is the most labor intensive period of your life.   But, believe it or not, it passes quickly.   Fill it with sweet memories with your kids and cherished moments for yourself.

©2009 Deborah E. Katz , JPARENT, LLC All rights reserved.
Want to ask a question? Click on the Ask Debbie page at the top of the blog to submit your questions.


Read Full Post »