Are you a frazzled, fatigued mom? Those two words often go with motherhood, don’t they?
Fatigue is a normal part of parenting. Sometimes we just get tired of all the duties we have as a mother. Other times, we are physically fatigued from being up with little ones at night, or long busy days of caring for kids and our home.
When we are worn to a frazzle it’s so easy to get grouchy. If we aren’t careful, we end up taking that grouchiness out on our kids, or our husband!
I remember the time my sister came to visit after I’d just come home from the hospital after the birth of our 4th child. I was tired and overwhelmed, and was kind of taking it out on my poor husband.
My sister commented to me about it the next day, mentioning how she could tell I was tired, and he was stressed because he didn’t know how to help me, or what I needed.
The truth is, my husband got the brunt of my fatigue in the form of my grouchiness, and he didn’t deserve it. It would have been much better if I had communicated to him that I needed him to help with laundry, or take care of the kids so I could take a quick nap, etc.
When you’re feeling frazzled, here are 3 tips to help you:
1. Take a break, and SLOW DOWN!
When you’re ready to snap, stop and ask yourself what really HAS to be done, and what can wait. Sometimes we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves, and end up frazzled as a result.
Do you really HAVE to sweep the floor right now, or can it wait? Realize that when you are a mom with little ones, your house is going to have toys on the floor, books out, etc.
I’d rather my kids remember me as a mom who was happy, and spent time playing with them, than as a crabby mom who always had to have a clean house.
2. Communicate your needs to your husband and kids.
Being snappy, and expecting your husband or kids to just SEE what the problem is, and pitch in to help, is NOT realistic or fair to them.
When I was feeling overwhelmed, my husband was willing to help. For him to do that though, I needed to express how he could help me.
My kids were usually willing to help also, when they knew I wasn’t feeling well, was tired, or just needed help. But I had to ask them, and give some guidance.
The key is to tell them how you feel, and say it with a kind tone.
“Mommy is really tired right now, and I need you to help me. I’m going to give each of you a job to do, and let’s see how quickly you can do it.” Or, “Mommy is tired, and needs a nap. I want you to play quietly in your rooms, and after I rest, we will have a snack, and read a story together.”
This doesn’t mean your kids will always be helpful and cooperative, but it’s better than yelling and being impatient with them, when they have no idea why.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed, tell your husband, and explain what things are overwhelming you. Whenever I did that with my husband two things happened:
First, I felt better just by expressing it and talking about it.
Second, he usually had practical suggestions, like “Don’t worry about that right now. It can wait.” Or, “Why don’t you try doing it this way?” He was good at helping me put things in perspective. He also would then ask how he could help.
3. Let go of your expectations.
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.”
Sometimes I would expect the older kids to see the need to clean up, and when I went in the kitchen and saw a mess had been left, I’d be upset. I’d start mumbling under my breath, and slamming pans around. Yes, they should have had initiative and cleaned up, but the fact that I’m feeling tired and out of sorts, doesn’t give me the right to take it out on them.
I realized that I needed to communicate to them in situations like that, and do some training. I learned to call them into the kitchen, and explain that it upset me when I came home from the grocery store and found a mess in the kitchen, because they didn’t clean up after themselves.
Our kids and our husband can’t read our minds, and we shouldn’t just expect them to know when we are feeling frazzled, and expect them to come to our rescue.
Rather than giving in to your emotions when you’re tired and feel like you’re losing it, remember to slow down and re-evaluate, communicate your needs, and give your expectations to God. If possible, try to sneak a nap in too!
How do you handle your emotions and responses when feeling frazzled?