Are there days feel like all you can do is barely keep your head above water? Here are a few pieces of practical advice along with words to encourage and assure you that you’re already doing a great job.
So many days feel like all you can do is barely keep your head above water.
A reader sent me this message via my Facebook page.
Hi Raki…I was so relieved to see your page today….I’m a cosmetic dermatologist….and I have two girls, 6 and 2…my work hours are 10 to 2 and 5 to 7…I’m tired all the time and don’t get to spend quality time with my girls because I’m so exhausted by the time I get back from work! I’ve been on serious guilt trips and also I’ve gained 10 pounds in 6months! Basically I’m just tired and lazy all the time! Please help!
As soon as I read it, I could feel the pain in her voice and her desire to do better by her kids. In my response to her, I attempt to give a few pieces of practical advice.
More than that, I want to encourage and assure her that she’s already doing a great job.
Use Small Windows of Time
I think you have a great opportunity to use that window of time and spend it with your girls. If I understand your schedule right, you work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then again from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.? So, between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., there is a great span of time for you to spend with your girls!
Quality Time Over Quantity
I think you should focus more on quality rather than quantity. A few activities that come to mind: you could prepare dinner together, spend 30 to 60 minutes at a park, play games, play board games, watch a television show together, or do a craft, art, or coloring project together.
Let the Kids Pick
You probably have a sense of your girls’ favorite or top five favorite activities, so I would suggest that you make a note of those and attempt to pick one each day or as many times a week as you can. Your girls are probably so happy to spend quality time with you that they really won’t be paying attention to whether that happens every single day. As long as everyone is having fun, laughing, smiling, etc., they will be happy.
Put Yourself First
As for yourself, I would suggest that you focus on your nutrition, making sure that you are eating healthy foods to give yourself energy. Focus on whatever fresh foods that you have access to, getting enough protein, and giving yourself a treat like chocolate (or whatever your favorite is). It’s something small you can do for yourself each day or a few times a week.
Move That Body
I would also suggest that you try to get 15 to 30 minutes of exercise each day. This is also something you could do with your girls. You guys could take a walk together, you could play at the park together, or you could use an exercise DVD.
Take it One Step at a Time
It may be hard to try to do all of this at once, so just focus on one small thing at a time until that feels comfortable and then begin to add more things.
Go to Sleep
I am also not sure if you’re getting enough sleep. As moms, we tend to sacrifice ourselves and make sure that our children, our husbands, and our home are taken care of before we take care of ourselves.
But if you use up all of your energy on everyone else, who is going to take care of you? So, please be sure that you are getting enough sleep. I personally have to have 8 hours of sleep or I tend to get cranky (and then have to make up the sleep that I did not get over the weekend).
But you know your body better than I do, so just try to get the amount of sleep your body needs, whether that’s more or less than 8 hours each night.
I know that it can seem like there’s a lot to do each day, but just try to pick maybe three things that are important for you to get done each day and give yourself permission to just stop when it’s time to go to bed.
You have to take care of your body. The dishes, the laundry, the cleaning, and all of the other necessities of life will still be there tomorrow, but you have to take care of yourself so that you can get up again the next day to take care of and spend time with your family.
If getting chores done is something that is a source of stress for you, allow your girls to help you.
There are many chores that a two-year-old could do like: gathering dirty laundry, helping to put dishes into the sink after a meal, and keeping her area and toys tidy.
Your 6-year-old can do those same things, but maybe she can also help you vacuum, put things away in your main living spaces, and maybe even help you with washing the dishes.
I think if you are able to think of a way that you can integrate your girls into your everyday activities, then you will be accomplishing two tasks at one time.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just take it one day at a time – one step at a time – and everything will turn out for the best. Slowly, your energy will return. You and your girls will soon be having a great time.
I know that your girls love you, that your girls are proud of you and that you’re doing a great job.
Keep up the great work, Mom!
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