When I was pregnant, a nurse weighed me during a check-up, took my blood pressure and asked, “How are you sleeping?” “Not well,” I replied. She said, “Get used to being a tired mom. This is the easy part. Even after they’re grown.”
I had no clue how right she’d be.
Through the years, there were points where I was a more tired mom than at other times — when I worked an early morning shift and was getting help for my son’s OCD, when we moved 4 times in 2 years, when I home schooled, when I stayed up late at night trying to save my marriage. I wasn’t just a tired mom. Through the years, I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, hormone depletion, and severely low thyroid numbers. Tired mom can move into exhausted mom reaaaaaallly quickly!!
You know why we get tired?
Because we are strong, have superpowers, and people need us.
We are not going to go to bed at night with a load of guilt that we didn’t come through for EVERYONE who asked and a few who needed it and didn’t even know they did. 😉
So, I came up with a mental checklist of things to run through to PREVENT burnout. But it also becomes an identification list for me to figure out what happened.
Like this past weekend – a freaking holiday weekend here in the US, and I even had my son home instead of at his dad’s. I just came to my end. This meant by Monday evening around 6pm, I shut down, past tired mom stage and onto exhausted. I eeked out a fabulous cinnamon sugar salmon (made up the recipe), did the dishes and went upstairs to a quiet room.
WHAT was there to be a tired mom over?
Little did I realize there was a whole week that lead up to this. De-cluttering, writing, and J. was home for a sick day. Forgot how draining sick days really are. This after wisdom teeth out less than a month earlier. It adds up.
“Should” I have known better? I don’t really put that word on me or others. It happened. I learn from it. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been this tired, so something was working… until it doesn’t and life happens and I think “I can handle this” and really – I can’t.
And I’m ok with the I can’t’s once I figure it out.
So, here’s the list I use all the time just to check in with myself when I feel off and thought you might find it really helpful.
The Why-I’m-A-Tired-Mom List
I said yes and needed to say no. Sometimes this happens after the fact. Exhaustion reminds me to put my no’s back in place.
Hormones – Whether it’s the ones I have, or the ones I need to be tested to see if I lack, these are no joke when it comes to emotional stability. When I know I’m suffering, I get hormones tested every 6 months to stay on top of it. Right now, I’m good (unless I keep depleting myself then I’m going to go back in). #NotHappening
Hiding- Am I doing things or being someone and not showing up fully? This is an exhausting way to live. I ask myself – am I telling the truth even if it means I do not want to stay up late talking about anything???
Toxic people. Unfortunately (or fortunately), my body will signal me before my heart or head. Whether bosses, best friends, partners or parents, when we listen to what our bodies are saying, it may save our health.
Nutrition. If I binged on carbs, I know I’m going to be out of sorts for 24 hours. Done. That maaaay or may not have happened. I plead the 5th.
Over give. Ugh. Guilty. Whether cleaning, listening or offering to help, do, or fix – this is classic culprit of the exhaustion posse.
Introvert. Introverts can be very social – until they’re done. And when we’re done, it’s over. Often, even we don’t know we’re done until we are.
Didn’t ask for help. Seriously. I need to. I often do (now that J. is a teen). I need to keep remembering to ask.
Too much conflict (and no resolution) for too long. Nothing can drain me more than knowing there’s something wrong and there’s no resolution. Nothing.
Expected I could go 17 hours. That’s a normal day – who can’t do 17 hours? Until there’s just a day where everything in me says I cannot and need a break.
Maybe I’m getting sick. This requires I take stock on how I’ve consistently felt over the past few days – skin crawly, tired, crabby, and either feeling cold or hot? The pieces start to make sense.
Alignment is off. If I’m off in some way, it’s stressful and exhausting. Like cramming life into square spaces – and I’m a parallelogram. I wasn’t sick one day writing Momifesto – but before I wrote full time I was coaching and nothing felt right during that season. I was always drained. Now that the book is written, my energy is back and clients are finding me again!
Need early bedtime. Done is done. If I push it, I get angry, and tired on top of tired. Once in awhile, I go to bed around 9pm. It’s a complete feeling of being spoiled. #BetterThanABath
Maybe nature deprived. Indoor lights, recirculated air, and too much screen time all create the physical effects of exhaustion. An easy culprit to fix.
Glasses. Have I worn them? Do I need my eyes checked? This one is usually the biggest offender for me on a daily basis. I probably should get contacts.
Maybe body is detoxing from too much food, etc. A worn out body may be working really hard from all the work it’s doing processing the carbs from the day before. I’m not a drinker, but if I added alchohol, it takes me a full 24 hours to recover from the effects. Just saying.
Of COURSE there are probably 15 MORE reasons we’re all wiped out, exhausted and tired moms. But when we start to look at the pieces we can make choices about, we start to take back our energy and life.
Author of Momifesto:
A Manifesto of 9 Practices
for Phenomenal Moms now available on Amazon!