Today I am going to share with you ten mom hacks that can help you survive the harrowing season of being an exhausted, tired mom.
I could barely keep my eyes open. My brain felt fuzzy, my arms could barely lift the baby. I hadn’t slept through the night in 9 months.
9 months of breastfeeding, preempted by 9 months of creating a life with nutrients from my own body. I was a new mom with a baby and toddler, and found the sheer exhaustion of motherhood to be shocking!
They never tell you that motherhood-the act of growing, creating, and caring for another life, is actually quite hard.
You may be in a place of weariness and exhaustion, just like I was. You aren’t sure if you can make it through another day, let along another night of breastfeeding or caring for a fussy babe.
But, mama, you can…. and you will. Though it is hard, these tiny people you’ve created and loved are so worth it, and you are going to make it through this season of weariness and exhaustion.
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Top Self Care Tips When You are a Tired Mom
While in a season of exhaustion, I’ve discovered a few things that help keep me sane and going. I’d love to share with you ten tips that help me survive the season of being a tired mom!
What Makes Motherhood So Exhausting?
Motherhood is exhausting for many reasons. You may have a difficult little sleeper. Or you may be struggling with health problems. As a working mom you may have to head into the office after a long night of breastfeeding!
Or, like me, you may struggle with the sensory overload that comes with motherhood. You are touched all the time, on task all the time, and talked to all the time. I am being transparent here… motherhood is tiring for me simply because I don’t get much time alone!
And while it is a joy and privilege to be a mom, there are times where you are so exhausted you are truly just surviving.
If this is new to you, I want you to know that struggling with exhaustion and fatigue in motherhood is very common. In a world of social media super moms, those of us in the trenches know the truth… motherhood is hard.
Today I want to share with you ten tips that have helped me survive the most exhausting stages of motherhood.
1. When In a Season of Exhaustion, Lower Your Expectations
I have heard that motherhood can be hardest for type A personality types. As someone with perfectionist tendencies, I know it can be very easy to feel like I am losing control all over again with each and every baby.
If this is you, try to lower your expectations during seasons of exhaustion. Whether you have a new baby, there’s a sickness in the family, or something else is causing you to grow weary, you need to know it is okay to lower your expectations during this time.
This may mean that the laundry piles up a little, you eat out more often, or you use paper plates for a few months. Your kids may watch a few more cartoons and you may read out loud a little less.
And that is truly, totally okay.
You will never be the perfect mom, and that’s ok. Be gentle with yourself in this season of exhaustion!
Focus on what really matters- loving your kiddos by caring for their basic needs of food, water, love and rest. You will have to throw a load of laundry in here and there and stick dirty dishes in the dishwasher. But, try to let the rest go as much as you can!
2. An Easy Daily Routine Helps Tired Moms
One thing that can really help during a season of exhaustion is to create a reliable daily routine. A daily routine for stay at home moms can be truly life giving.
I recommend including rest times into the routine, as well as time for gentle exercise. Here is a very simple daily schedule you could could implement with toddlers:
- 7:00 Wake Up, Breakfast, Simple Clean Up
- 9:00 Kids Play, Mom Rests, Play or Read With Kids
- 11:00 Lunch
- 12:00 Nap + Resting Time (Mom Lays Down With Kids or By Herself!)
- 2:00 Read Outloud or Play Time, Cartoons, Short Walk, Prep Easy Dinner
- 5:00 Dinner and Clean Up
- 6:00 Start Bedtime Routine
You can take this sample outline and adjust it to your own needs.
A few key tips: Give yourself plenty of time in the evening to make dinner, clean up and have ample time to get the kids ready for bed. This way you don’t find the kids pushing bedtime later and later as you get more and more exhausted!
Take time to lay down during the day. Even if you aren’t able to nap, a time of peace and quiet will be restorative to your adrenal glands, stress levels and overall health!
A short walk or gentle yoga session can feel invigorating without overly taxiing your already exhausted body!
3. Create a Daily Quiet Time For Your Kids
I was on the phone with a long distance friend one day and my kids were in the background going hog wild. They knew mama was distracted and taking full advantage of it.
It’s never quiet! I lamented to my friend. And this wise fellow mama advised me to start a quiet resting time each day. (Thanks Sara!).
A daily resting time has become life giving to my kids and I. My kids enjoy the time to rest and play independently, and I enjoy the time to rest, quietly clean and tidy, or get a little work done.
How To Start A Daily Resting/Quiet Time With Your Kids
It can really be a challenge to get your kids into the habit of quiet time if they are not used to it.
When I started our resting time, I used short time increments to start. We began with just 15 minutes of resting time, and gradually increased the time. It wasn’t long before my kids were accustomed to have quiet time and actually crave the rest!
We can now do resting time for 90 minutes, which is life giving!
4. Actively Rest With Your Kids
When you’re a tired mom, you need to keep your kids easily entertained. You can do this with by planning your days around easy resting time.
In addition to a designated quiet time, add in active rest with your kids. Active rest is any activity that doesn’t take too much mental energy from you.
Here are a few ideas of active rest to you can enjoy with your kids:
A favorite movie and popcorn is a fun way to connect and rest with your kids at the same time. (And its ok if you nod off for a few minutes while cuddled on the couch with your kids!).
Stock up on water color paper and enjoy some relaxing music like classical or jazz while you paint with your kids. (This is my personal favorite way of relaxing with my kids!)
Keep a box of toys that are for quiet times only. Fill this box with puzzles, art kits, and play dough. Each child gets to pick one toy and play with it for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, they get to put that toy back and rotate to a new toy. With the right activities, this special quiet time box may provide hours of entertainment!
*Don’t allow the quiet time toy box to be accessed at any other time! Keep it special!
When it’s nice out, prop yourself up in a lawn chair and give your kiddos bubbles and old cardboard boxes. Let them have fun while you soak up some Vitamin D and rest in the sunshine!
5. Drink Plenty of Water and Eat Nutritious Foods
Being extra tired takes its toll on your body. On top of sleep deprivation, you may be breastfeeding, trying to fit in exercise, or working every day.
It is essential to give your body quality nutrients and water during this time. It can be so tempting to reach for junk food when tired, but try to stock up on fruits and veggies, lots of protein and healthy fats!
Keep easy, fast food on hand like canned fish, cut up veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds, trail mix, and healthy smoothie mixes. Eating healthy will help your body survive this season of pure exhaustion.
6. Take A Daily Walk With Your Kids, Even When You Have Mom Fatigue
Did you know that walking can have the same invigorating effects as coffee? There have been many harrowing days where I thought I could not survive another moment of exhausted motherhood, only to feel completely encouraged and energized by a quick walk.
Your kids will enjoy the fresh air with you, and you may be able to find a park where they can play and you can just relax!
7. Relax Your Ideals and Embrace Some Screen Time
Do you tend to worry about your child’s screen time? I admit that I have spiraled into mom guilt over screens many times.
I know a few moms who literally *never* allow their kids to watch television. That is their standard. I’ve slowly learned that I don’t have to make it mine! Don’t put yourself in a guilt trap based on someone else’s ideal.
Screen time can be used as a tool. You can use it as a temporary baby sitter while you nap on the couch, or you can snuggle up with your kids and watch a nature show and learn together. We are a cooking family and have spent many happy hours learning from Paula Dean together. We’ve also traveled the world together with Rick Steves as our guide!
With a few years of mom life under my belt I’ve realized to keep screen time in perspective. We have seasons of snuggling together on the couch and seasons of being busy outside. For me, a few hours of tv a week can be extremely sanity saving when needed.
If I was up all night with the baby, an hour spent watching Tumbleleaf is not going to hurt my kiddos, and the quiet time saves my sanity. Truth be told, they actually love this time! 😉
I have decided to discern/choose shows that don’t negatively impact my kids behavior, and limit our screen time to 2-3 hours a week. For right now, this works just fine for me.
Set your own family guidelines for screens, and if it helps you survive motherhood exhaustion, so be it!
8. Instead of Caffeine Grab Supportive Supplements
Caffeine and mom exhaustion often go hand in hand. But relying on caffeine to energize you can drain your adrenals and create cycles of intense exhaustion.
Caffeine literally blocks sleep receptors in your brain, which is why it works so well in keeping you awake! This can mean you aren’t able to fall asleep easily at night as well.
If I can’t fall asleep easily and the baby is waking up to feed, I end up in pure, utter exhaustion!
Instead of grabbing caffeine, make sure you are taking a quality Prenatal supplement and working with a holistic practitioner to fine tune any additional nutrients you may need.
I personally handle sleep deprivation better when I am taking the following:
- Vitamin C capsules
- Fish Oil
- Liver Capsules (these help me personally with energy)
- Prenatal Multivitamin (Folate Based)
Drinking relaxing herbal teas like chamomile and lemon balm can also be very helpful during tired mom days. These calming herbal remedies can help take the edge off of sleep exhaustion! I have found Lemon Balm to particularly helpful with irritability and overwhelm.
9. Use Essential Oils to Create a Calm Environment
Utilize the power of essential oils to help you stay calm when exhausted. I love doTerra Balance and have found diffusing this oil to be very supportive during long, stressful days. Diffusing lavender can be calming for the whole family.
10. Embrace Easy Solutions in the Kitchen When You’re A Tired Mom
Paper plates, crock pot dinners and take out can add a huge relief when you are not getting any sleep or going through a time of exhaustion.
It’s tempting to feel guilty for spending a little more on food or using plates just one time and tossing them.
But remember, this is a short season of your life. You’ll go back to cooking from scratch and washing dishes soon enough, so embrace the short term solutions in the kitchen. Easy dinners and a reduced workload in the kitchen can be a huge relief when in a season of mom fatigue!
How To Help A Tired Mom: Best Tips
Are you an older woman in a Grandma season of life, or a single lady who has friends with babies or young ones? Maybe you have a mom friend in a season of exhaustion and want to help somehow. Here are a few ideas to help your tired mom friends:
- Bring over a nutritious, easy meal
- Offer to watch the kids for two hours while mom rests, showers, or goes to a coffee shop for a few hours
- Pay for a house cleaner for a deep cleaning of the home
- Stop by and wash + fold all laundry
- Babysit once a week while mom and dad get a much needed break together
- Pray for your young mom friend and offer words of encouragement
- Stop by with decaf coffee, flowers and an encouraging book
- Book your mom friend a massage and offer to babysit so she can actually go!
If you choose to support a tired young mom, know that your kindness and willingness to help will be absolutely priceless to your mama friend.
Seriously, your kindness will be worth more than gold to her!
Many young tired mamas are weary, overwhelmed and feel like they are just hanging on for dear life. Sleep deprivation may have them in a tight grasp. They may feel desperate!
Your kindness and thoughtfulness could literally be life saving for your mom friend!
The Most Important Tip- Pray and Rely On God For Your Strength!
In a season of weariness, overwhelm and exhaustion, cast your cares upon God. Don’t forget to pray, find small moments to read Scripture, and share your struggles with other believers.
Remember, you are the perfect mom for your children, created especially by Him and entrusted to you. He will help and equip you during the hard times!