Running on empty

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Gemma JohnsonLife seems to feel like a constant whirlwind at the moment; ever since Afro Baby was born I seem to be on the go.  At night when my body should be in its most relaxed state, my mouth is still busy (probably nagging at my husband) and I wake up with a really sore jaw from grinding and clenching my teeth.

Relaxation is something I have always found extremely hard to do. I was born a ball of energy, my mum used to sigh from exhaustion from just being in the same room as me for more than half an hour.

I am pretty sure that kind of natural energy has to run out at some time right?  Well, my body feels that it is getting close to empty, despite my mind jumping up and down with the enthusiasm of an Andrex puppy.

As you get older, and especially after children, I think your body never really gets back to firing at its best. The pregnancy strips your body of nutrients I personally believe cannot be replaced, I mean, I have heard of women’s teeth falling out after pregnancy and there are discounted dental plans specifically aimed at pregnant women for this very reason.

Afro Baby certainly has more to answer for than Spaghetti Legs when it comes to me being tired. It’s 6.30am (I have taken a few days off of work to erm… attempt to relax) and I have had to get out of bed because AB’s little fist has pummelled my cheek, her toenails have scratched down my lower back and she has been trumping like a trooper!

So here I am, writing my blog post at 6.31am.

Our Just Ask section contains a few questions and answers around tiredness and exhaustion, and there seems to be a whole host of things you can do to keep your energy levels up.

Despite my best efforts with long relaxing baths, snuggling up on the sofa of an evening, taking Berocca or even trying to go to bed at 9.30pm occasionally, I just have to accept that there will be days, possibly weeks where I just feel completely zapped.

Some stats for you from the Opinion Matters survey of 1002 UK mums for B Record Plus 2011:

77% have forgotten why they started a task and 76% often misplace important items such as keys or phones.

On average 71% of mums spend between 5-6 hours a day looking after the children. To help battle through, over half surveyed (55%) reverted to coffee and a quarter (25%) use fast fix energy drinks to combat fatigue.

And men are to blame – 59% of mums said arguing with their partner is one of the biggest causes of stress and exhaustion.

75% of mothers commonly reply that they are fine when asked how they are, but are really keeping mum because they don’t want to be seen as failures, with 71% privately admitting they’re exhausted with the tolls of everyday life and motherhood.

That last statistic really hit home, because apart from my mum who knows instinctively just how tired I am, I tend to keep quiet about it as it doesn’t seem to take the issue away.

Many people struggle with accepting help be it through pride or not wanting to put the other person out. But perhaps this is where some of us are going wrong. Perhaps, the next time a friend or family member offers to do the washing up, make you a meal, watch the kids whilst you have a cup of tea, bath etc., instead of saying: “Oh thanks but don’t worry I’ll do it later, yada yada yada,” you could say: “ Thank you so much, I really needed a break”.

Try it, see what happens.

So, when my husband gets home from work this evening, he will find an extremely demanding wife who needs feeding, a bath run and her feet massaged whilst she has complete control over the remote control!