Tips for parenting when you're exhausted
Parenting is a lot of work. You need to be constantly on your toes, and you never get a break. It's exhausting, both physically and emotionally. And if you're a working parent, you're also trying to balance your job with your parenting responsibilities. It's a lot to handle, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed.

As a working mom myself, I know the struggle of juggling it all.  When our son was preschool age I was a wife, mom, full-time employee, AND full-time student.  While my husband helped a LOT (he was a full-time student also and a stay-at-home dad), there was still a lot on me.  Now our son is older, but I'm still a working mom juggling all the things.

I've figured out there are a few things we have to do in order to take care of all of our responsibilities, the first of which is you need to take care of yourself.

Here are some tips and lessons I've learned about parenting when you're exhausted:

Set boundaries for yourself and stick to them

Setting boundaries for yourself is essential when you're parenting and exhausted. You need to make sure that you have some time to yourself, to relax and recharge. And you need to be firm about sticking to those boundaries. It can be hard to say no, but it's important to do what's best for you and your family.
Make sure you set realistic boundaries. If you're exhausted, you're not going to be able to do everything. So don't try to set unrealistic boundaries for yourself.  Check out my blog on the must-have boundaries for working moms here.

If setting boundaries is new to you, check out my course here.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial for everyone, not only when you're exhausted. You need to be well-rested in order to be able to handle everything that's thrown your way and to support your body's natural functions. Some symptoms of sleep deprivation include irritability, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. 

The consequences of sleep deprivation can include poor decision-making, memory problems, and difficulty concentrating.

But getting enough sleep may mean more than simply increasing your time in bed or taking a nap. You may also need to explore your sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Consider using a white noise machine to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. And if you still struggle to get the sleep you need, ask for help. There are several resources including coaches and natural practitioners who can help you get to the root of your sleep issues.

Eat healthy foods

Eating healthy foods is essential.  But when you're parenting and exhausted?  This is a can't miss.  Our bodies rely on nutrition to function. Everything from hormone balance to energy levels is affected by what we eat. When you're running on little to no sleep, it's easy to resort to unhealthy foods. But that's only going to make you feel worse in the long run.
Instead, try to eat balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugary snacks and drinks, and caffeine. And make sure you're drinking enough water.  I have cut out gluten and high carbs because I notice I get really tired when I eat them, and the last thing I need is food making me tired!

You may not have the time or energy to cook complicated meals, but there are plenty of healthy options that are quick and easy to prepare. And if you're struggling to find the time to eat healthy foods, consider batch cooking, meal prep, or even some healthy meal delivery services or frozen meals such as these options from Primal Kitchen.

Head outdoors

Even when you're exhausted, it's important to get enough sunlight. Sunshine is a natural source of energy, and it can help improve your mood and energy level.
Aim to get outdoors for at least 15 minutes each day, even if it's just to take a walk around the block. If you're not able to get outside, open the blinds or curtains in your home to let in as much natural light as possible.

Sunlight helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin, and that can give you more energy and help keep you calm, positive, and focused.

benefits {of sun exposure} include:
  • promoting a sensation of well-being and improving mood
  • boosting the immune system
  • relieving pain
  • promoting relaxation
  • helping wounds heal
  • helping people feel more alert
  • increasing job satisfaction when a person’s workplace has access to sunlight
  • reducing depression

Take time for yourself

Make sure you're taking time for yourself. And I don't mean time to do dishes, laundry, or grocery shopping. I mean time for you to relax, do something you enjoy, or just be by yourself. Parenting is a lot of work, and it can be easy to forget about taking care of yourself. But it's important to make sure you're taking care of your own needs, both physically and emotionally.
This may mean scheduling some time each week for yourself or taking a break during the day to do something you enjoy. It's important to find what works for you and to make sure you're making time for yourself.

If you have a child with special needs, this may feel even more difficult because your child can't be left with just anyone.  Make sure you ask your child's support team (therapists, school, etc) for suggestions.  Respite care and families of other children with special needs can be great resources for both recommendations and for short-term assistance. 

Get support from others

Parenting is a lot easier when you have a supportive network. Whether it's your partner, friends, or family members, make sure you're surrounded by people who understand what you're going through.
They can offer practical support, like helping with childcare or running errands. Or they can simply offer a listening ear and some words of encouragement. Whatever form it takes, make sure you're getting the support you need from others.

While social media offers many communities (like my own FB group), it is not a substitute for in-person connection.  Yes, join the groups and find like-minded moms online, but don't neglect the human element!

Seek professional help

Parenting is hard enough without being exhausted all the time. If you feel you've tried everything, it's important to seek professional treatment to find out if there is an underlying cause such as a hormone imbalance, adrenal fatigue, depression, or other health condition. If you're struggling, don't hesitate to reach out for help. There are resources available to help you feel like yourself again.

Parenting is hard, and it’s especially difficult when you’re exhausted. However, there are things you can do from setting boundaries, making sure you get enough sleep, eating healthy foods, getting sunlight, and taking time for yourself. If you find that you need more help, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

I am a Parenting and Boundaries coach who helps parents set and maintain healthy boundaries with their children and themselves. I love helping families find balance and connection. Apply for a call with me today to see how I can support you in your parenting journey!


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