"Babies don't need a vacation, but I still see them at the beach... it pisses me off! I'll go over to a little baby and say 'What are you doing here? You haven't worked a day in your life!" - Steven Wright
I had a conversation with a fellow dad, and the topic of our energy levels as parents came up. While it was said the you gain so much as a mother or father, energy is NOT one of them. Heck, I'm crafting this thoughtful post on less than 5 hours of sleep from last night's CryFest 2013. TWO of my three kids up into the wee hours my good people! I was trying not to nod off on the long drive home from work. I feel like a Nintendo character, who's energy level is flashing in the red. I know we've ALL felt like this. Even my sister-in-law, who I thought was just one big ball of energy, has said it ain't so. It appears that finding the energy for parents is as mythical as the elusive unicorn or snipe. So in the great hunt for the fountain of youth, or in this case, energy that pales in comparison to the youth of America, what might we do to fix that and put more zip on our step?
Here are 5 suggestions:
1. Sleep. Try to fit it in where you can, when you can. I'm now finding myself taking cat naps (I've always hated the term "power nap", as I do not wake up feeling like Captain America). I've even taken part of my lunch break at work to get refreshed. You may have to get creative and try something new, but it can be done.
2. Eat better. The type of food you eat matters. The old "you are what you eat" rings true when I've had too much processed or fast food. We've been cooking at home a lot more for the past while, and we notice a difference in the way we feel. We DO need a break from that, as requested by the cook (a.k.a. The Wife) and we'll do something fast and cheap once or twice a week.
3. Don't be the white rabbit. Managing time and effort on projects, errands, and other tasks will help. If you're all over the place without a plan, you'll burn through your daily energy allowance to quickly.
4. Do stuff for YOU. Our first several years as parents were an all inclusive focus on the kid. After our 'Lil Man came along, we realized we had nothing we were doing for ourselves. Now that Wee Lass is here, we make time for ourselves each day. Whether it be 10-15 minutes or more, we've both found that if we give ourselves time for a hobby or passion, we're more energized to do the ma & pa thing.
5. Learn to let go. I've been called "high strung" for sometime now. Every battle was a war that had to be won. The Wife has mastered letting go recently and I'm working on it. If you realize you have young children, you might not worry so much about your house looking like a museum. Or you may not worry about EVERY scrap of food being cleared from the little one's plates. I once heard a saying that I use in jest. "Close enough for government work."
I've read a couple of lists that mimic what I think are the important ones. One just needs to take a look at their situation and make some minor changes to start. If they work, keep going. If not, go slower. We've been making some progress at The Cheeky House, so I'm living proof some of this stuff can work. Now if I can just feel like Captain America after my next nap!