Last week was difficult as Sophie and Cora both battled seasonal allergies. They also woke up in shifts throughout the night to ensure Justin and I got no more than 4 hours of interrupted sleep. Some weeks are like that, and it is perhaps the most difficult part of parenthood, the perpetual exhaustion. So, today I wanted to share with you some of my survival tips. These are things that I do on a weekly basis for my mental health to keep me from going crazy during weeks when I am pushed to my breaking point.
They differ from parent to parent, but this is how I survive:
- Coffee – Of course coffee helps with exhaustion, but it also is a comforting part of my morning ritual. The nostalgic smell and warmth remind me of my grandmother. It doesn’t have to be coffee though, tea and cocoa have the same effect
- Counseling – Its good to talk to your spouse or co-parent about the kids and issues you’ve been having but some times we exhaust our partners. I have found counseling to be a helpful tool. I can process what’s on my mind without torturing Justin. In fact, it helps me discern what is important enough to talk to J about.
- Friends – I know it can be hard to meet new people or maintain old friendships when you have small children, but it has been imperative for me to get out once a week [at least] and socialize with people my age. Whether it be a class at the gym, a moms group, group therapy, church groups, or other parents at the park with their kids… we need adult conversation, fellowship, and solidarity.
- Exercise – I know, when you’re exhausted it is the last thing you want to do. I’m not saying you have to do Crossfit or an hour of Insanity, just got for a walk for 15 minutes. Squat while you binge watch your favorite show. It helps you feel more accomplished at the end of the day, and it’s good for you.
- Hobbies – Who has time for hobbies? Well, I have learned to pick hobbies that ultimately serve my family, while still giving me some satisfaction. I like to bake, cook, sew, and do other crafts. Baking and cooking usually happen around dinner time, and it has been fun and rewarding to find new recipes and prepare them for my family. I have sewn costumes and other clothes for my family, and have crafted decor for our home, the kids’ rooms, and gifts. Find a hobby that can help serve your family, and you can find the time to incorporate it.
- Meditation – Or just quiet time. I know it’s tempting to want to veg in front of the TV after you put the kids to bed, but it is good for your mental health to take some time in the quiet to just BE. Whether you have meditation skills, an adult coloring book, breathing exercises, or just want to “rest your eyes,” I wouldn’t be able to survive the day without quiet time.
How do you survive with young children?