Recently, I’ve felt like I was running on empty and had entered a new state of exhaustion. It started gradually about a year ago, and as I am inching up to year 40, I assumed this is just what it was like to be growing older.
During the summer, I was constantly falling asleep in my clothes from the night before, sometimes in one of my daughters’ beds, while putting the kids to sleep. Other times, it would be on the couch after cleaning up from dinner. I couldn’t operate like I used to. I thought, “This is it. I can’t keep up my usual pace. I’m burning out.”
I don’t drink coffee, with the exception of the occasional tiramisu dessert. I just don’t like the taste, unless it involves lady fingers and sugar! I drink a cup of green or white tea in the morning, but I thought, “Is this how moms are getting through? Do I need something stronger? Should I start drinking coffee?”
I decided to try a few things first before I made the plunge to cocoa beans. First, I tried exercise. I was running around with the kids, always on my feet, but I wasn’t raising my heart rate enough. I always got a boost from starting to exercise, but this time, nothing.
Then I decided it must be stress. Running the website was taking its toll, I thought. I have to do less, so this summer, we pulled back a bit, while many of our kids were home from school. I knew we would pick up again once we get to September.
And during the summer the kids and I seemed unstoppable. We were swimming, hiking, traveling. You name it. We were doing it! Having them off of school for 10 weeks, I felt like we had to carpe diem! But, by the evening my carpe was nowhere to be found. And my ability to keep up during the day was challenged. I panted more on hikes and walking uphill was so much more difficult than it had ever been.
Also, instead of a best friend, my husband was living with an exhausted mess, me. We weren’t staying up late playing marathon games of Mancala, watching movies or anything else exciting for that matter, because my day was over by the time the kids were to bed, and I was being woken every morning by the kids while he was off to work. It was a tough cycle.
And, did I mention that I was gaining weight, too? I was awake less hours over time, and I was lacking my normal energy levels. Overtime, the problem was affecting my ability to button my pants (that’s trousers for the international crowd). I just bought the size up, ignoring the expansion and getting on with my life.
I even thought that maybe it was lack of vitamin B12 because I don’t eat meat, so I started to take B12 pills. They weren’t giving me more energy, but I still continued to take them. I was desperate.
I finally came to the conclusion that I couldn’t live like this. It was affecting my kids, my marriage, my work, my life. If it’s not just me getting older, not a lack of exercise (at least not directly, but I still could use more), not stress, and the B12 isn’t helping, I needed to go to the doctor.
It was hard to make the appointment because every morning I would have energy again, so I’d blow it off, thinking it was a waste of time because I was feeling better today and that I was finally over this. Then every evening, the exhaustion hit me like a brick wall.
So, I booked an appointment and explained to my doctor what was going on. She said I was due for blood work, so she ordered a full work up. I was too busy with the kids to have time to worry about what it could be. I had a follow up appointment with my doctor the next week to go over my results.
It turned out that I was anemic. Very anemic. And, it was, oh, so fixable.
But then I got hard on myself. Why did I feel like I had to figure it out myself at first? Why didn’t I just head to the doctor when I was feeling like this in the first place??!!
After one week of prescribed iron pills, I was feeling a major boost. I could stay awake after the kids went to bed! I had energy to exercise! My husband has his best friend back! Even our World Moms Blog newsletter has finally gone out!
Being a parent and, thus, caregiver, if it was my kid who was feeling this way, I’d be at the doctor’s office in a heart beat. Why, when it was myself, the appointment with my doctor was put on the backburner? We can’t forget to put our own oxygen masks on.
So, World Moms, I want you to do me a favor. I want you to immediately right now, or if that’s impossible, schedule yourself an hour in your calendar for this week, immediately, to check in with your health.
Are you up to date with your mammograms? When was your last gynecological appointment? Are you seeing a doctor on a reactionary basis – when was the last time you booked yourself in for a physical?
Everyone is different, and my story of trying to self diagnose is a bit embarrassing. Especially because I could have solved this in one doctors visit months ago! I was popping B12 pills that I didn’t need, and if it was something more serious, I could have nipped it in the bud.
Did this post ring a bell with you? Are you feeling tired? What are you planning to do about it?
This is an original post by World Mom and founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA.
Photo credit to the author.
I was mentally sabotaging my morning run before the day even started. I laid in bed the night before thinking about how I was getting to sleep too late after eating too much junk when I knew I was coming down with a cold. I had not set myself up for success and felt guilty. I tried to tell myself if I was that beat tomorrow, I would skip it. I woke up in the middle of the night twice for other reasons but couldn’t help but think of how I tired I would feel come morning.
As I prepped the kids for school and got through breakfast with way too much coffee, I told myself how I was not well-hydrated and would be dragging. Should I even go? I kept moving but my inner voice whispered that I could just walk today if I felt overwhelmed. That voice said, “Listen to your body. If you don’t feel up to it, don’t do it.” Then a competing inner voice mocked, “But it’s your own fault for not feeling up to it, so go suffer through it.” I carried on.
When I got to the trail, I saw flashing lights up ahead. I almost stopped, thinking I should not run that way. However, I pushed on telling myself to see what the lights were about before bailing. They were just for a parked maintenance vehicle being unloaded, so I jogged on.
I was sluggish the whole time. I felt slow, heavy and bummed about not taking better care of myself. Still, I kept going. I told myself I would cut it short if it felt like too much, but then I knew the negative self-talk would grow. My knee was a little achy, and my spirits were low. Nonetheless, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and tried to lose myself in some music.
Then I spotted a young woman I often see on the trail. She is gorgeous with long hair, bright eyes, and slim body. She usually takes long walks, and we exchange waves and smiles as I go past. Today as we crossed paths, she was jogging. She stopped and told me in a panting voice that I had inspired her to stop walking and start running the trail. I congratulated her on her efforts, and we both went on our ways. All of a sudden, I was lighter. I ran without issue. I didn’t think of my knee, my weight or my tiredness. I just ran and finished up the run on a high note.
Her simple compliment made such a difference on my perspective. This beautiful woman told me I had kicked her butt into gear. I had fallen into the trap of cutting myself down mentally while assuming this other gal had it all together. How could she not?
But we all have stuff. We all have the stories we tell ourselves.
I’m an upbeat person who usually focuses on the good, but like everybody, I have days (like today) when I focus on the bad. The fact that this gal stepped out of her comfort zone both to run and to tell me, a stranger, that I had inspired her to do so snapped my head back on straight. Her gesture reminded me of a few things that I know to be true:
1) Just getting out and taking each step counts, even if it’s not your best performance. Looking back, I placed so many obstacles in my own path for this run, but I pushed past each one. Not my best run, but I still did it. That is worth something.
2) There is always going to be someone achieving in an area that you are not. Someone will always be smarter, thinner, happier, healthier, wealthier, etc. It’s okay to admire or be inspired by that someone, but do not judge yourself harshly by that someone. Measure yourself against yourself.
3) Everybody has challenges and doubts going on. Everybody. We’re human. We’re not perfect.
4) It never hurts to tell someone, even a passerby, something nice. You may just change their whole day. You may just change their whole life. Kind words are that powerful.
My trail acquaintance probably has no idea how much her words impacted my day. When I see her next time, I’ll tell her. Plus, I feel prompted to tell someone else how they inspired me. I have been meaning for some time to tell a certain person how they unknowingly helped me to make a life change for the better. I haven’t done so yet, despite ample opportunity, because I don’t want to seem too familiar to an acquaintance. However, today has taught me that hearing you changed someone for the better is never too familiar.
Have you received an unexpected compliment that changed your day? Is there someone who has unknowingly inspired you to try something new, and have you told them?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tara B. of Washington (State), USA.
Photo credit to the author.
Well, let’s see… so far, I have counted four.
First, there is robot mom. She is on auto pilot because she is up twenty two hours a day, doing pre-programmed tasks such as: feed baby, burp him, change his diaper, rock him to sleep for an hour. She repeats these tasks in a different order all day long.
Robot mom yawns all the time, does not shower every day, only wears PJs and looks like a zombie. Her conversations are very predictable, usually about substances coming out of the baby’s body.
Robot mom runs on batteries. They are rechargeable with anxiety. That’s why she does not fall asleep standing up; she is too busy worrying about the color of baby’s poop, or projectile vomiting. Yet again, it always comes down to something smelly firing out of that tiny little bundle.
After about six months, anxiety does not recharge the batteries anymore. Plus, the baby is exhausted as well from all the throwing up, pooping and screaming, so he starts to sleep a little. It’s time for mom number two to kick in: insecure mom.
Insecure mom deals with babies that sleep-ish up to eight year olds. She has no clue what she is doing, and is constantly reminded by her friends and family members. “You shouldn’t give him carrots at his age”, “Does she still wear diapers?”, “He is a bit small”, “How many? Only two teeth are out? That’s strange”, “Your daughter looks funny with so little hair”, “What do you mean he does not know how to read?!!” And so on. Insecure mom is at her best with her first child. By the time her second child comes along, she has learned to tell everybody to bugger off. She has realized that past the age of five, kids do go to the toilet, so who cares whether it happens at two, three or four? She has accepted that she cannot stretch her child to grow bigger, that there are no medicines to grow teeth, and that nobody wants to do hair implants on toddlers so yeah, whatever…
Insecure mom feels guilty about everything.
Guilty for the things she does wrong, like losing the plot occasionally, using TV to get a few minutes of peace, being caught saying “What the f@*&!” by her four year old, who then seems to only remember THAT word (never happened to me!!!)
Guilty for the things she does right, like punishing the kids for being rude, using a firm tone when they spit their food back in their plate, and generally for being firm but fair.
And guilty for anything in between.
After a few years of not trusting herself, insecure mom realizes that her kids are growing up to be fine, well adjusted and happy children. So she turns into cool mom!
Cool mom is going to enjoy a few years of honeymoon. The kids are big enough to understand rules and respect. They can express themselves clearly, so unless they run to you screaming, there is really no need to panic. If you don’t hear them, they are likely being mischievous, but they have learned the difference between stuff that they cannot do that are a big NO-NO (like drawing on the walls with markers) and the stuff they cannot do but, “Meh!” (like playing video games with the volume off so you won’t know). They give you priceless, magical moments where they tell you about their friends, their views on life. Nothing is more enjoyable than this complicity between you and them. They think you totally rock, although please don’t try to hug them in front of others!
Enjoy! Because this mom does not stay for long. After that, the kids become teenagers. Everything you thought you knew about them is just gone. Woosh!!! You have to start from scratch. The only part you don’t have to repeat is potty training. Other than that, you will have to deal with tantrums and other toddler-like behaviors: not sharing their phone with their siblings, refusing to eat, slamming doors, boyfriend / girlfriend issues (I am not sure about teenagers, but toddlers have a lot of boyfriend / girlfriend drama going on!). Except, you can’t put them in time out or tower over them with your grumpy voice and your look-like-you-mean-it. I mean, let’s face it, they are a foot taller than you are…
So you have to be cop-mom: lay down the laws, stick to the rules. And call for back up! Or maybe remote mom: move to a deserted island with your alien children until they become humans again. I have no clue, I am only entering phase three of my motherhood journey. That’s why phase four looks a little scary. But like with robot, anxious and cool moms, we’ll all manage when we get there. Because at the end of the day, we will try our best. And that’s the best we can do!
Do you feel like you have evolved, or reached milestones, in your parenting journey? How has it been similar or different to mine?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Nadege Nicoll. She was born in France but now lives permanently in New Jersey with her family. Nadege also writes a daily blog for moms who need to smile at everyday life. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook and her website www.nadegenicoll.com
Drawing credits to Jake Nicoll, the author’s son.