Tips for Having Enough Energy to Survive Daily Life with Small Children

January 22nd, 2009 by Patti P

• Be sure to get enough rest. It is so easy to stay up late after the
children are in bed to have a few precious hours of solitude. But if
this time comes at the expense of your sleep, you and your family
will eventually pay a high price for these few hours.

• If mornings are hard for you, make sure you get up before your
children. Allow yourself a few minutes to adjust to the day before
you are inundated by your children’s needs. Have time to take your
shower, or drink your morning cup of coffee. Do whatever you need
to do to say “Good morning” to yourself. Once you’ve greeted the day, it is much easier to face the unbounded enthusiasm of a cheery toddler first thing in the morning.

• If your children nap, take that time purely for yourself. Parents need
downtime, too. Read a book, take a nap, do something creative—
anything to nourish yourself. Don’t feel as if you have to make that
the most productive hour of the day. Think of this time as your time
to renew your batteries, not as the hour to get everything done
that hasn’t been done all day.

• Eat regular meals. It is so easy to ignore your own needs. When
things get hectic or children become overwrought, it can be a challenge
to remember to feed yourself. Even if it is just a five-minute
break to eat a peanut butter sandwich and drink a glass of milk, sit
down. Show your children how to take care of themselves by taking
care of yourself.

• Remember to drink plenty of water (not Coke, not coffee—but
water). It’s amazing how much energy proper hydration provides.
To figure out how much water you require, divide your weight in
pounds by two and drink that number in ounces of water. So if you
weigh 140 pounds, you need 70 ounces of water, or just about nine
eight-ounce glasses. If that sounds like a lot, you probably aren’t
drinking enough. Try it for a couple of weeks and see how you feel.
You might be surprised.

• Plan something fun for yourself every day. This doesn’t have to be
big or exciting; just a simple act that brings you happiness. For me,
it is often a cup of herbal tea on cold afternoons, or a walk outside
with the kids—just something for a little break. It doesn’t have to
take long. Often my walks are only fifteen minutes from start to
finish. Choose an activity that is nourishing to you. One of my
friends puts her kids in the stroller and walks three blocks every
morning for a latté. She’s got a houseful (three kids under five),
so it is hard for her to find even a moment for herself at home.
The children think the walk is a fun outing and don’t have a clue
that she is doing this for herself. For her, that latté midway through
the walk is a precious reminder that caring for herself is also caring
for her children.

• Create a basic rhythm to your day that is tailored to the specific
needs of your family. Look at the basic tendencies or habits of your
family and create a pattern that supports these needs. There is a
tricky balance to be found in meeting your children where they are and in allowing yourself to be true to yourself, too. Are you a night
person with a child who rises with the birds? Then maybe you need
to take an afternoon nap right along with your child so you can
stay up late and still manage to get up early with your child without
over-tiring yourself. Does one parent come home late and you still
want to eat together as a family? Then plan a regular five-o’clock
snack to ensure that your children can make it to a seven-o’clock
dinner with ease. Whatever the specific needs of your family, seek
a rhythm that works for you—a rhythm that is flexible enough
to allow for change and stable enough to provide a comforting
structure.

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2 Responses to “Tips for Having Enough Energy to Survive Daily Life with Small Children”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    All of these are absolutely wonderful, wonderful tips! I have to say I couldn’t agree more, especially with the morning time one. I wake up every morning between 5:30 am and 6:00 am (depending on the day’s activities) and I try to allow myself half an hour to myself before I wake up the boys. It is amazing how much more prepared I feel for the day. Sometimes I run on the treadmill, sometimes I just sit and drink a cup of tea, sometimes I write my to-do list, and quite often I manage to do all 3.
    The days that I do not allow myself this time, I definitely feel it. I feel much more organized for my day!

  2. Anna Says:

    My mom, mother of 5, used to say that all the time- when the kids nap, you nap too. Mostly for when they were infants or toddlers, but really it works in general too.

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