When I am really exhausted, the problem is that being a Mum I can’t stop and not do things; you know what it’s like, we just have to keep going. But how to keep going can be tricky, and how to keep going without making yourself ill or getting into such a tizwaz that you end up bashing your head/toes/fingers on something.
I’m tired today because Little Dimples teeth look like they are all through, and I don’t think she has a cold. So it is time for me to put my foot down a bit about how much attention/feeds she needs from me at night. To be honest it would be easier to give in. But I feel that she is old enough, that I need more sleep, and that it’s the right time to make an improvement. However, by the time my ‘putting my foot down’ had successfully had her sleeping on the opposite side of the bed for a considerable time without wanting milk or to hold my hand (she loves to stroke my hand in some weird kind of chinese torture all night long!), I was of course unable to get back to sleep; a typical irony of life!!
The key is to start slowly, get the momentum going, and then just keep it going at a slow and gentle pace. Too fast and you’ll end up making a mistake and causing yourself more pain. Too slow and tomorrow you’ll be in even more trouble.
So here are some of the most important tips.
- Work out the priorities e.g. Feed kids something, give them drinks, get them upstairs and in bed somehow
- Reconsider your priorities depending on how the kids are; do they need you to do something proactive with them first to give you the chance to get done what you have to do? If you set their expectations about how much you can do with them, they will be easier to handle. Or maybe set them off on something that they are capable of doing on their own. Or spend 5 minutes doing something with them first before tackling everything you need to do, so that they aren’t hanging on your legs all the time.
- Work out what can be left to tomorrow when your energy will have returned (or next week, or next month)
- Take one step and start one thing
- Keep focussed on that one thing and don’t get distracted by any other To Do’s unless necessary
- Then, slowly, slowly, keep going
Years ago I learnt that there is a special pace which seems to enable people to keep going and going. It’s a long story, I was meant to be collecting Orangutan poo, but due to a kidnapping I was counting deer and acorns in Virginia instead; obviously, like you do on holiday. We had to walk up and down the hills of Shenandoah forest, and it was really tough going. But one of our guides was a guy called Peter from Ghana, and I found that if I walked at the same pace as him I was fine. It was a very weird experience. Walk behind other people and I was knackered. Walk behind Peter and I was fine. He explained one day that back in his village at home he would have to run 10k into a forest and then fell trees on the way out, so he had discovered this pace that enabled him to just keep going (hence his change of heart to work on environmental issues).
I will try and explain his pace. Imagine a guy from Ghana first, quite chilled and relaxed. Now relax your shoulders, jaw, and have a bit of a wiggle so that your body is less tense. His pace was consistent and kind of lollopy (is that a word?). A bit like watching the waltz on Strictly as it goes up and down. Focus on one to do, start it, and keep moving. It’s a very fluid and quite gentle pace, but it gets things done and gives you a chance to calm down and destress.
It’s amazing what can get done when I take slow steps and just keep going. Sometimes I even get more than the priorities done, like I might actually manage to do the washing up, or tidy a little if I’m going crazy with the mess. Its all about breaking the inertia, and once you are going, keep the momentum and keep rollings.