Tiredness Thy Name is Motherhood
By Vanessa Beddoe-Sandstrom
ometimes, I forget what I’m talking about midway through a sentence. I used to be able to engage in small talk and give more than monosyllabic answers. But that was before I had three children and the six years since I slept disturbance-free during the night.
Six years! Even if the all the children sleep all the way through, I wake up and have to check on them before I can get to sleep again. My husband and I also don’t have grandparents nearby who can take the kids for a night and give us a much needed break, so when I say six years, I am speaking the truth.
Sometimes, I like to imagine that I have enough money to go shares in an apartment with other tired mums. An apartment that is wall-to-wall white, with cupboards that can be opened without navigating childproof defenses and an array of cleaning products and medicines within arms reach. This inner-city apartment would be available for one night a month for each mum and always filled with an array of magazines and freshly cut flowers. It will be spotless.
Sadly, due to insufficient funds this will remain a distant dream so in the absence of a place of escape I decided to do some research on what techniques ‘experts’ recommend to help us mums boost our energy after a sleepless night. Here’s what they say:
1. Look at the funny side
Laughing is one of the most enjoyable ways to perk up if you’re feeling sluggish. When you laugh, your brain releases endorphins that help you feel more awake and energized. Sometimes just laughing at the sheer absurdity of trying to wipe one kid while holding another can get your through the difficult times.
2. Start a morning wake-up routine
Experts recommend you energise yourself with a few yoga stretches or some other form of exercise as soon as you wake up. The good news is that as a mother, the energy spent from the moment you peel your eyes open to the time you get the kids buckled in an hour later can make you feel like you’ve run a marathon before morning-tea.
3. Talk to someone in the same boat
Sometimes you can feel like the only woman in the world who can only find time to shave one leg and who hasn’t gone to the loo without an audience in weeks. We all have friends who appear perfectly made up with dust and dirt-free homes – how come they can cope when you can’t? The truth is she’s probably just better at disguising it than you are. If you’re feeling tired or alone call up a friend who isn’t afraid to admit just how tough it can be at times and you’ll probably be laughing in no time.
4. Drink Up
Apparently one of the most common reason people feel tired is because they need a drink, but sadly a nice crisp glass of Sav is not the cure. The less water there is in your system, the less oxygen circulates in your bloodstream, so make sure you drink water regularly throughout the day and whenever your energy lags.
5. Boogie on down
Now you have the perfect excuse to remove Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes from your iTunes playlist. Experts agree that listening to music you like stimulates your brain, and the bigger the beat, the more you’ll perk up. Apparently if the track starts off slow then builds up, you’ll notice more of an affect – so crack out your dance hits of the 80s and get on down. If nothing else you’ll discover that it is possible for a three year old to feel embarrassed by his mum’s dance moves.
6. Sniff something pungent
That's right – citrus scents like grapefruit, orange, lime and lemon can actually give you a lift, while rosemary scents are thought to create a sense of alertness. I suggest having a good whiff of your grated orange skins before adding them to a ground almond and orange cake mix, best served with a strong espresso. May also work with café bought citrus cakes (I hope).
7. Stop slouching
Just like your mother always told you. Slouching causes your ribs to compress, making it harder for your lungs to expand and reducing the amount of oxygen flowing to your brain. Sit up straight and you’ll immediately notice the difference before you slump over again into your coffee.
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