What to Do when You Don’t have the Energy to Parent
I woke up feeling nauseous. I didn’t sleep well last night, and to top it off, my back hurts.
In front of me, there is a day filled with nappy changes, meals fighting, house cleaning, social gatherings, and tears wiping. On most days I love being a mother and spend time with my little munchkin, but when I feel like this, it’s tough.
I don’t have a child that makes it easy for me; my daughter is smart, smiley, active, and cuddly, but she wants my undivided attention 24/7. Whenever she is awake, I need to entertain her, promptly answer to all her needs, while also dealing with a copious amount of tears and screaming every time she needs to eat, when she is overwhelmed, or she simply doesn’t want to be strapped in a pram, or the car.
Motherhood isn’t easy , as there are no days off. I remember my days in corporate when I had the luxury of waking up and deciding to work from home or to simply take a sick day; I had the liberty to move from the bedroom to the couch for 24 luxurious hours. As a mother, I completely forgot what it means. Even when I have gastro, 38 degrees of temperature, a head-throbbing cold, a frozen shoulder, I show up for my child, as she doesn’t know what pain means, and doesn’t understand the concept of not being picked up, nurtured and loved, even if for a day.
What do I do when it is too much for me to handle?
I start by changing my mindset
It’s pointless living a day wishing you were someone else; I find it much easier when I shift my mentality and I think that I don’t have to do be a mother, as I got to be a mother. Wouldn’t you rather do something because you know it is your own choice?
Changing my mentality doesn’t take a headache or a back pain away, but it brings some perspective in life; some people have it much worse than I do. Some people will never experience the warm embrace of hugging a little human that lives for you, and I get to cuddle my special love every day.
I take it easy, and I take care of me
Gentleness is of the uttermost importance when I don’t feel well.
For days when my brain is too foggy to even plan a play date, I simply lay on the floor with my little one, and we read stories; if I feel off, I switch on the telly. I don’t do it often, but I have taken the shame away from it, as I came to understand that I don’t always have to be a superwoman. Some days, I can simply be a good enough woman.
On top of it, during those tough days, I take care of me: I have a nurturing meal, I drink plenty of water, I nap when my daughter naps, I switch off the phone, I let the house untidy. I have come to realise that even if I take some time in, the earth will keep on spinning, and humanity will keep on living. No one is going to notice, except myself, as I will feel so much better because of it.
I have only one coffee
What do you feel like having when you wake up as tired as hell? Sugar and coffee, right?
Unfortunately, it’s quite detrimental for our body and brain to rely on these substances, especially when we aren’t well. Coffee and sugar give us a momentarily quick hit, with long term side effects. I highly recommend a nurturing herbal tea instead, followed by some essential oils and a balanced breakfast made of high-quality protein and fats, and complex carbs.
It can be quite tricky to change a routine, but you are going to rip the benefits.
I let go of rules
When I’m off, I don’t feel like battling over breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don’t care if my daughter’s outfit is matching. I don’t give much thought if she spends half-day playing in the dirt and she looks like a homeless child. On those days, I let her be, without shame.
During those days she will possibly have way too much bread, she will wear pink, blue and yellow at the same time, and she will show off black fingernails to the world. She will also go to bed with a quick shower and without a soothing bath.
And do you know what?
She will have the best time, I will be less stressed and nothing dramatic is going to happen.
I ask for help
If help is available, I reach out. Whenever I’m too overwhelmed, I ask for help from my husband, to a dear friend, to a babysitter, or the childcare.
I’m not a failure because I can’t do it. Life happens, and we take it one step at the time. One day I had to ask my husband to take a day off from work because I couldn’t move my back; another time I had to pay for an extra day in childcare because I had too many things to do and I felt overwhelmed.
I don’t put myself down because I can’t always do it all. I’m a mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter and a skilled multitasker, but I don’t yet have superpowers.