Somehow we survived the week. I’m still not sure how. You know the sort of week where every day just draaaaags and all you want to do is go to sleep until it’s over? The weeks where you are absolutely running on empty but there is no fairy godmother in sight, so you just have to keep on going?
It wasn’t even an unusual week filled with traumatic happenings. Nope. Just a run-of-the-mill week here in Tahwero. Chip is sleeping well finally – one night he even slept right through! And yet D and I are to-the-bone-exhausted and worn down. But there is housework to do, bills to pay and two tots to wrangle so there’s no stopping.
Here are my tips to help you get through those times when you just want to yell ‘Stop the world! I wanna get off!’
- Look after yourself first. By this I mean make your priority to get yourself back on deck. We are no good to anyone when we are running on empty. It’s really easy to neglect yourself when you have demanding little ones, but make sure you eat lunch too. And if it’s not junk food, that’s even better. Your baby will survive screaming for 3.12 minutes while you have a shower. Get to bed as soon as you possibly can at night.
- Do the bare minimum of housework. What ‘bare minimum’ means will be different for you, me and your neighbour who always has a sparkling clean house. For me it means throwing clothes into the washing machine, making sure everyone gets fed and that the dishes are put in the dishwasher. (You’ll note I haven’t mentioned putting clean clothes or dishes away…)
- Rest whenever you possibly can. Now you notice I didn’t say sleep. For many people taking a nap during the day is a physical impossibility because you’re at work (and you suspect your boss might not be impressed if you start snoring), or you’re looking after multiple kids, or you just have a million and one things that must be done today. Resting – just taking yourself off somewhere quiet for 10 minutes while you have your lunch break can make the world of difference. If you’re a parent this brings me to the next tip:
- Use the ‘electronic parent’ (TV)/tablet/PlayStation or whatever might get you a few minutes of peace and quiet. Before I had kids I had high-minded ideals about not letting my kids watch television before they were two. While we are very strict about how long Sausage can watch it for, I have yet to discover that her brain has rotted due to watching Peppa Pig when I am knackered or sick or just plain need to get something done. If I take a wee break while Sausage catches up with her favourite porcine friend, I am often a much calmer and better parent for it.
- Cancel/postpone/put off any extraneous stuff you have going on. Say no to parties, meetings, ferrying your kid halfway across town for archery lessons. If your brain feels like it might implode with trying to juggle all the things going on in your life – stop juggling. You might pick up those balls again in a week or two, or you might decide that some of those balls are the reason you’re running on empty anyway and they need to go.
- Ask for help. I know a LOT of people who really struggle with this last tip. They want to be seen as capable (which they usually are) or don’t want to ‘bother’ anyone. But here’s the thing: people want to help you. There are people in your life who have walked in your shoes and will help you without judgement. There are people in your life who you’ve helped in the past who would love to return the favour. There are people in your life whose day would be made because you have done them the honour of turning to them in your time of need. Without the help of my family and friends – whether it’s childcare, advice or just a listening ear to rant to – I would be a gibbering wreck. Ask. For. Help.
Do you have any advice on how to keep going when you’re running on empty?