Tips to beat the constant tiredness of parenthood

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Gemma JohnsonI am sure I will look back on the toddler and school reception years fondly when in my rocking chair on a front porch somewhere. But for now, every little bit of energy I possess is required to keep my kids healthy, happy and out of harm’s way.

Raising a toddler requires physicality of superhero levels. From changing a nappy on a wriggling toddler, to the ‘multiple’ daily – sometimes hourly – tantrums, to the chasing down the street or up and down the stairs and saving your child(ren) from the jaws of death in a child-proofed house… all this is enough to make anyone collapse into a heap.

The constant tiredness gnawing away made me realise that I needed to give myself some TLC on the weekend.

When I was asked last Friday what I was doing for the weekend, my answer was NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH! The weekend was going to be spent on ‘energy conservation’ and getting my mind and body back to normal after a rainy half term. For some reason, this half term has been particularly difficult and I am feeling the effects of two terrors running amok each night, oblivious to any previous ‘school night’ routines. Going to sleep with constant tiredness and getting up in the morning more tired than when I went to sleep? Go figure!

One night last week, I got back from kickboxing at 10pm and Spaghetti Legs (my five year old son) was still awake in our bed watching Lightening McQueen. My husband was dozing on the sofa as our bed had been hijacked and there was no room for him. He wasn’t impressed and was too tired to deal with tantrums so thought it easier to wait for me to come home.

For some reason the Jubilee weekend, coupled with half term, pretty much wiped me and my husband out. From early morning starts, late nights, Jubilee festivities, BBQs, birthday parties, family gatherings and day trips, I am all half-termed-out and am now looking forward to getting some routine back this week, with my energy levels back up to where they should be.

With the summer holidays not far away, I am going to be focussing on getting my body, mind and soul back in alignment, something I very happily started this weekend.

So, what’s my plan to tackle my constant tiredness moving forward?

1. Restore my eating patterns

After eating ‘on the fly’ for the last week I am looking forward to introducing my grumpy tummy to its old routine. Apart from dinner each evening, I have just been grabbing bits on the go all week (especially finishing off the kids’ meals) rather than eating one for myself. This kind of eating always catches up with me in the end and I end up crashing with a cold, so this weekend I started by eating three square meals a day of healthy, nutritious food with lots of water to get me back on the right track.

It pays to plan your meals in advance so you won’t be so tempted to snack and grab out of hunger. MyFamilyClub have some really good family meal planners to get you started.

2.  Embark on regular exercise

Despite walking two miles a day to and from the station, I have vowed to kick-start my exercise regime and get my body ‘summer dress-ready’. I started kickboxing last week and plan to do two sessions a week (something I used to do four nights a week pre-babies) and my best friend has signed me up to a 10k run on 5 August, so am just starting to put a running plan together.

ten minute solutionExercise for me is always worse in the mind when trying to muster the energy than actually doing the exercise. Last week I felt fantastic after pummelling my kickboxing partner. The poor girl won’t be choosing to pair up with me next week that’s for sure…

I bought a couple of DVDs from Blockbusters called the ‘The 10 minute solution’. These are brilliant and so easy to do at home… 10 minutes, that’s all, and it gives you such a boost. I recommend these DVDs highly and they are so cheap at around £5 each from Amazon.

3.  Get plenty of zzzzzzzz’s

Sleep? Sleep! What on earth is that? Oh yeah, I remember…that thing I used to do before I had kids. Well! I am determined to get my sleep back on track, and got off to a good start this weekend. My toddler is now sleeping in her own bed most nights and only comes in and slaps me around the face to wake me for a cuddle in the early hours around 6am. The last few nights I have woken up in the middle of the night really dehydrated so I am going to promise myself I will drink a pint of water before bed each night and cut back on the glass of wine with dinner.

4. And relax…

Aahhhhh, I feel relaxed just reading that word. If there is one place in the house where I can truly ‘chill out’, it’s the bathroom. Door closed, book in hand and pamper products plastered from head to foot. I am going to invest in a set of mini-spa lights and a water proof case for my iPhone so I can lie back, pamper myself in disco lights to disco music.

MyFamilyClub are currently running a competition to win a John Lewis beauty shop! I am so annoyed I am not allowed to enter – my mum is a big fan of the turnaround cream.

5. Get my social butterfly wings ready

Sometimes a quick catch up with friends can give you the energy boost you need not to mention a break from the routine, that is, raising kids. As I work in London it’s quite easy for me to have a quick catch up with friends after work. I’m always amazed at how good I feel from having that interaction with people who accept me for me and who I have memories and stories to share with. They make me laugh even when I have had the worst day ever!

Escaping the role of mother, even just for a few hours can be a massive reliever of emotional stress and can let you get back in touch with yourself and give you the opportunity to be selfish for just a teeny bit of time.