If you’ve ever felt like your emotional tank is running dry, you’re not alone. The good news is there are ways to fix that weary drain before it drags you down.
We don’t have to be “everything to everyone.”
Teacher, nurse, chef, maid, financial advisor, chauffeur… moms tend to wear a plethora of hats. However, it is important to take care of yourself so you can take care of your child(ren).
Have you ever spent an afternoon or weekend away from your kids (doing something for yourself) and then come home with an immense amount of patience and love for them? I recently went to Seattle and when I came home after six days, was so excited about the mundane things I usually brush off – who she played with at school, what she ate for lunch, and how dirty her shoes were … I was actually engaged and truly listening.
Care for yourself
When we moms start to feel mom-fatigue creep in, it’s important to take action so we don’t get too drained. Here are four things that can help:
- Don’t get caught up in perfect –It doesn’t matter how much help you have from your partner, family, friends, and neighbors, things are bound to go wrong. It’s easy to get caught up on the “Pinterest perfect life,” Within the first three months of when my daughter was born, I acknowledged that I could not do everything myself and therefore, some things would not get done. I saw a graphic once that was a triangle – the points said: happy child, clean house, happy mom. The text above said: you can only choose two. How true that is.
- Reach out – For some of us that aren’t so easy, I know. But if you don’t ask, it won’t get easier.. Chances are people don’t even realize things are difficult because you don’t acknowledge it. I find that people love to help and are more than willing. Sometimes, just talking to someone else about how you feel can help rejuvenate you. Oftentimes, you may end up commiserating together and laughing about it (laughter is the best medicine!).
- Change the channel – I mean the physical setting … if you’re at home, take a walk, go for a drive or just go into another room. As a solo parent, I know this can be difficult, but I take my daughter along. (Although usually not in the car … small spaces tend to not)
- Find the time – Most of us probably wish there were 30 hours in a day, but unfortunately, we can’t bend the time continuum, so we’re stuck with 24. It has taken me quite some time to find a balance and even then, every time I get into a routine, I feel like something happens to wipe it out. Some of the things that work for me: I’m a morning person, so I wake up at 5:30 every day (I also go to bed at 10 pm). I have learned to say “no thanks” to social engagements if it means instead I can go for a run or go to yoga.
Make yourself a priority—put “me time” on your calendar.
Make time for yourself this week. Make yourself a priority. As a health coach, some of the most common answers I hear when I ask my clients why they want to engage in health coaching are: so I can be there for my kid, so I can play at the park with my daughter, so I can live long enough to see my son graduate college. As cliché as it is, these tiny versions of ourselves really are our world. And the thing we don’t realize/always acknowledge is that we’re often theirs as well. They deserve to get us at our best. You deserve to feel your best; don’t forget that. So at least start by putting “me time” on your calendar.
Shannon Gwash is the Director of Wellness Services for Jefferson Center for Mental Health and is also a Certified Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach. She earned her MS from the University of Denver in Strategic Health Communications/Behavior Change. She has nearly 10 years of experience in the communication world and nearly three in parenting … which clearly makes her an expert there. To stay sane, she runs around Sloan’s Lake, hikes with her daughter, enjoys outdoor concerts, and reads nerdy books.