Like many insomniacs, shift workers, and overworked pixies I am often tired. At the moment I am particularly tired because little Wonder Girl has taken to waking at night ready to play or feed. Whichever I prefer. As cute as she is I could live without seeing her at night. Tiredness for me is particularly worrying. I know how important sleep is for my mental health to be, well, healthy.
I’m not sure what is more worrying the tiredness itself or worrying about being tired and how much sleep I have managed to get. I find that if I can find acceptance towards night time parenting I can cope better on less sleep than if I’m counting every missed hour. If I get anxious or angry about it I feel dreadful.
As I am lucky enough to be at home with the children it means I can adapt my life to deal with the tiredness. I can alter my schedule, make my days less hectic, my evenings more gentle. When this passes there will be time to do all the things I have shelved for now. While my children are tiny they need to be the priority.
My recommendations for dealing with tiredness.
1.Adjust your days to cope. Can you have slower days at home? Let the housework go and sit on the floor and play with the children. If you work can you have a little nap during your lunch break. Now is not the time for big projects or commitments, learn to say “no my children are small and I am tired”.
2. Get early nights. This is a difficult one for me, as when the children are in bed it’s my time. However even just half an hour early two or three nights a week can make a difference.
3.Eat well. Concentrate on eating healthy, nutritious foods. Don’t try to beat being tired with caffeine or sugar hits. Instead try to eat foods which sustain energy like oats, nuts and wholemeal carbohydrates.
4.Ask for help. If being tired is really getting you down try to get a break. Can your husband, mother, a friend watch your children for a couple of hours. If not could you negotiate with another parent, they watch your children for a couple of hours one day, you do the same for them. You could grab some sleep, go for a restorative walk or get a relaxing massage. I’ve been known to go to the cinema and fall asleep mid movie.
5.If you are in a relationship give each other a weekend Lie In. My husband and I have a little extra sleep one weekend morning each, it really helps. Who knows perhaps one day we will both get a lie in and the kids will bring us breakfast, a girl can dream.
Being tired really drags me down, as it takes so much energy to give my children the attention that I want to. I try to remember at these times that I am doing the best I can with the resources I have. The children will grow in the blink of an eye and I will not always be this tired. Perhaps when my children have grown I will even look back fondly on those middle of the night wriggly cuddles.