When You Feel Like You Have Nothing Left

Written by on July 16, 2012 in Family - 3 Comments | Print this page

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My 3 year old daughter has been screeching at me in 30 second intervals over everything from the fact that I left the room to the fact that one sock is not as pink as the other.  The cat puked on the carpet, we’re out of milk, dishwasher just died, I forgot to pay the credit card bill on time, the kids are battling over who has the rights to a broken pair of plastic binoculars, laundry needs to be folded, phone keeps ringing, there’s a new dent in the car …..do you ever feel like you are on a hamster wheel? Exhausted, overextended and well, just have nothing left? We all do.

As parents we often hit that point in our day, some days earlier than others, where we feel like we just don’t have anything left to give; like we won’t make it two more minutes without our heads popping off.

So what can you do? Like a runner on the last leg of a marathon you just have to keep going. Or as Dorie from Finding Nemo would say, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

Drowning instead of swimming? Then try to keep the following in mind:

1)     It will pass:  Whether you’re dealing with the mind numbing exhaustion of a newborn or an emotional tug-of-war with a teenager or spouse….it will pass.  In the moment it always feels as though you are being swallowed up by your exhaustion, but know that it will not last; you will sleep again, sit down again, breath again and smile again.

2)     They really need you:  When your kids are screaming at you like banshees on fire it can be hard to cling to the fact that they are probably not emotionally capable of giving you a break. Your children don’t want to see you suffer, or lose your mind, they just need someone and that someone is you, a person they love and trust and need more than anything else in the world right now; pretty darn special don’t you think?

3)     Love should be the driver: When you are on the precipice of losing your cool, it helps to stop, take a breath and count to five. Then make a conscious decision to have the words out of your mouth and the actions of your body come from love, not anger. Being exhausted is okay, it’s par for the parenting course. Try not to let your exhaustion drive your behaviour; but you can definitely recognize it as a passenger in the car.

4)     Misery loves company:  Nothing makes an exhausted, stressed out parent feel better like hearing that other parents are exhausted and stressed out too.  You’re not alone, this is normal; it is almost a right of passage. Nobody will be mailing you a “mastered sleep deprivation” or “survived a good mind boggling” badge but you are part of an exclusive, resilient club so go out there, share, laugh, and learn with fellow parents on the same twisted hamster wheel.

5)     Karma is coming:  Take comfort in the fact that perhaps one day, your children will have their own children and those lovely grandchildren of yours will torment and exhaust their parents as part of the glorious circle of life.  Every time my daughter goes into a full throttle temper tantrum that inspires images of old school horror movies, my mother simply looks at me and smiles and lovingly and gloatingly pats my back. I know Mom….Karma.

These are my tidbits of hard earned wisdom, now what are some of yours?

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About the Author

Jenessa Blanchet

I am a working mother of two, with a passion for writing and lending a literary helping hand to fellow parents and family enthusiasts. Born and raised on the west coast, I have a love of the outdoors; sailing, beaching and all things wonderful including constantly trying to keep a handle on family life. View all posts on Family Life.