Kids are such a precious gift from God. I can’t help but give my boys a kiss every time I pick one of them up. They are so lovable. Except when they are NOT. Except when you are in the middle of the grocery store and your toddler is shrieking as loud as he can, just for the fun of it.
Except when it is right before naptime, the toddler is bouncing off the walls, the baby is crying but won’t nurse, and you have NO patience left. Except when you put them down for a nap and they just won’t fall asleep to give you a needed break.
When you just need a break, but the kids won’t let you…
Have you ever been here? Daily? Constantly? It’s so hard to function when you are tired and yet you have a needy (or two, or three or more) kid(s). It seems like the more urgently you need a break from them, the more they are clamoring for your attention. The more clingy they are, the more space you need.
What is the Draining cycle?
This is what I’m going to call the “draining cycle”. Tired mom –> not caring for herself and doesn’t have any emotional energy left to offer to kids –> needy, clingy kids that test boundaries –> drains mom’s emotional energy –> tired mom
So, as moms, WE need to be the ones to break this cycle. We are the adults (I know, wouldn’t it be nice for them to take a turn at being an adult for once?), so we need to hijack this draining cycle. How, you ask?
Here is what I have done to get off this draining cycle.
Step 1) Put on a smile (even if it is forced or fake).
- Even if your smile is forced or fake, just do it! Put on a smile and turn toward your kids face. Show them the attention they need. Say their name and use the sweetest voice you can – not one dripping with sarcasm. (If you need to, think of the reward of at least 5-30 quiet minutes to yourself.)
Step 2) Spend 5-20 minutes giving them your full attention WITH physical contact.
- Give your child (or children) your full attention for 5-20 minutes (depending on their age) AND use physical contact. Sometimes, all a kids needs is some snuggles with one book and they are good to go. Some times you may build a tower, hug, read a book, tell them you love them and you may find 20-30 minutes slip by.
Step 3) Tell them they can play by themselves while you ______
- Tell your child that they GET TO play by themselves (it’s a reward for both Mom and them!) while Momma ______ (showers, gets dressed, works – whatever you need to do) and that you will get them when you are done.
Step 4) Refuel.
- Take some time to yourself and don’t feel bad for doing it! You pour so much of your time and energy into your kids, or doing things for your kids and not much time refueling. You need to fuel. Your kids need you to refuel.
- Find a quiet space to pamper yourself, breathe and think. For me, it’s usually the bathroom (sometimes my bedroom).
**NOTE: I realize that this may or may not work for your situation. It’s just something that has worked for me, right now, in my situation.
Yes, I’ve had to use these steps to get off the draining Mommy cycle at 9am in the morning. I’ve also had days where I had to power through until hubby came home, because between my two boys I just wasn’t able to catch a breather.
I hope this helps someone, in some way. But if nothing else, this lets you know that I’m right there with you, exhausted Mom!!