4 Moms share the secret to keeping your energy up

4moms35kids 4 Moms Q&A: teaching boys to respect girls; quick snacks; disciplining a hot tempered toddlerThe secret?  We don’t!

[evil laugh]

I’m sorry.  That was mean.

But sometimes the truth hurts, and this is one area where I don’t know of any magic solution.  I’ve been more tired with this pregnancy than in the past, so maybe that colors my answer.  However, I’m not discontent with my current situation.  I’m working to adjust, trying to decide if my lower energy is caused by problems with realistic solutions or if this is simply a new season in my life.

Of course you should do your best to get as much sleep as possible, and eat a healthy diet and take your vitamins.  Drink plenty of water, and find a way to get some exercise – even if it means putting a baby in a carrier and stacking 3 kids in the double stroller.  Just think of all the extra exercise you’ll get pushing that stroller, even walking slowly enough for the 5 and 6yo to keep up.  This was my exercise once upon a time, and it worked.

If you think physical issues are causing or exacerbating fatigue, pursue a solution.  Being a wife and mother is a demanding career; don’t make it harder than it needs to be by ignoring problems.

But if you’re in that season of life, you may just need to resign yourself to being tired and lower on energy than you’d like.  Which season?  Take your pick; they all present their challenges.  Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world, and other days you won’t want to get out of bed.

The key: do the next thing.

Don’t stress over ALL THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO.  Just do the next thing.  And the next.  And the next.  Eat a few chocolate chips, and do another thing.  It’s ok if you’re tired.  Take a nap when the little ones do if you must.  But until then, do what you need to do, and do it as unto the Lord.  Remember, it’s not about you.  It’s not even about the children or your husband.  It’s about Him.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. ~Colossians 3:23-24

We are not our own, put here to accomplish a minimum of 8 hours of beauty sleep per night.  Yes, take care of yourself so that you can better serve the Lord, but don’t lose make an idol of your own health and well being, and lose sight of the goal.

Other tips to help you get through those tired, low-energy times:

  • Pray for strength and a good attitude.  God knows what you need to do, and He will give you the strength to do it.
  • Make sure your husband knows that you are struggling, and why.  Be open minded.  He may surprise you.  Some of his suggestions might not be exactly what you were hoping for, but his perspective just may be more accurate than your own.
  • Take a fresh look at your priorities.  What absolutely *must* be done?  What can slide for a while?  Does your husband agree?
  • Take time to train your little ones to help.  It requires an investment on your part and may be even harder than doing things yourself, but it will be worth it soon.  You might be amazed at what they are capable of.
  • Don’t let guilt run you ragged.  You’re not a bad mom if you say no to Little League, dance class, weekly playdates, or even a trip to the park or library.  Know your limits.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of naptime – for everyone!  Even older children can have a daily Quiet Time so that Mom can get a little rest.  Work to make naptime happen at the same time for everyone, every day, so that you can snooze or relax too.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow, what a ride!” ~anonymous
How do you keep your energy up?

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  1. Oops, I goofed up! Both quotes are true-to-the-original. The longer quote I posted was a related quote, but it was from the same source. Had to correct that :^)

  2. The gentle reminders in this post to care for ourselves as Moms is so helpful for me. Thank you! I especially appreciate how you wrote: “You’re not a bad mom if you say no to Little League, dance class, weekly playdates, or even a trip to the park or library. Know your limits.” As our family has grown in number, I find that being away from home happens much, much less and I worry sometimes that I haven’t given my youngest children as much “social” time like I did the oldest (we were all OVER the place when they were young!) This is a reassuring thing to hear from Mom whose been , thanks. 🙂

    Also, I love the quote you put at the end of your post. I actually know who originally made that quote. I don’t know if you knew about the longer version or not, but either way her statement was pretty cool in its specifics. Here it is in it’s original form:

    “I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails.

    I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with the children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.

    –Marjorie Pay Hinckley

    Have a lovely day!

  3. “Just do the next thing. And the next. And the next. Eat a few chocolate chips, and do another thing.”

    So comforting to know that I have been doing it the right way. 😉

  4. Yes, training the little ones is immensely helpful. It is amazing how soon you start reaping the rewards. Sometimes I’ll even keep a list going of “busy work” that is truly helpful that will keep my younger ones occupied and out of trouble (because let’s face it – a big issue when you have little ones and big ones is the former getting into the latter’s stuff!).

    My 3yo loads and unloads all the silverware in the dishwasher, moves laundry from washer to dryer, puts her clothes away – this helps w/ my energy level because she’s staying busy and actually helping!

    Staying spiritually sharp affects every single area – if I’m not staying spiritually fed and growing as a Christian, how can I expect to have the strength to feed my family?

    Thanks for sharing, Kim!

    • I agree with the little helping out so much too. I honestly didn’t think that my kids would actually be able to really help at all until they are older, but know it’s important to start teaching them early and they always do want to be with and “help” me so I try to let them and teach them as much as possible.

      I few months ago during my first trimester with this third pregnancy, my then three year old got the job of helping me hang up the cloth diapers and diaper wipe on clip hangers, as well as other small laundry on other days. Eventually, the little guy could hang the whole load himself if I needed it, and I then I would just have to hang in on the high clothesline. This helped me out a ton during that low energy time and he took his job of “helping keep us in diapers and underwear” very seriously, and it made him feel important. Now he can keep helping me with little laundry and when the new baby arrives in the fall and I have more laundry again, he already knows what to do.

  5. This is an excellent post. We do have to take care of ourselves–not for ourselves sake but for God’s because until He calls us home we are His and must do what He has set before us to do. Responsibilities won’t get done unless we do them.

    The culture now of telling us to take care of our own selves first because we deserve it is so wrong.

  6. I agree with and practice many of your suggestions, Kim. My tips to add are when I know my nights are short and the days are overwhelmingly busy, I try to make sure that basic laundry is washed and dried (not necessariliy put away–that will come–maybe), and that we have staples on hand like bread, milk, and cheese. If we have clothes to wear and the basic necessities of life, then that helps us through.

Don't just think it: say it!

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