It’s been a little while again since I’ve written anything. Quite a few people have contacted me through the contact form with advice and opinions on my energy levels and what I should do about it. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to write to me and offer an opinion or advice. I appreciate the time everyone took.

First an update on how I have been feeling. I’ve been feeling better since I last wrote about my problems. I’ve been feeling  better of late. More energy to do things and feeling less tired.

I still don’t have the time to do things that I’d like but there’s probably a whole different set of issues behind that.

I’ve been doing my best to follow the tips I gave in the last article. Preparing and eating better food has been a challenge, especially when cooking for a family, but I’ve been making improvements where I can. I have had better luck implementing my other suggestions, especially on exercise. In addition to ping pong I’ve now made it part of my routine to either go or a walk early if my young daughter wake me up (we go together). If she doesn’t get me up early we go instead after my other children head off for school.

It’s something I’ve really come to enjoy, even given the colder time of year. It has helped me feel fresher in the morning, getting off to a good start.

I’ve also been making a real effort to have more me time. At least one night a week we’ll get take out or dinner will be something quick to make or prepared in advance. And then I’ll try and take the night “off” and treat myself to some time doing nothing. I’ve noticed I’ve felt really recharged the day after.

With my daughter being older, she has started to sleep better. This has helped with getting more sleep, which must make a big difference to how I feel.

So overall I am feeling better. I am still not getting more done, but that’s okay. I feel less tired and have more energy for my kids and husband, which is really important for me. I am not sure how much of my energy has been from following my tips or simply things improving as my daughter gets older and I get more sleep. It is probably both but I do feel better when I take deliberate action to improve things. I feel more in control.

I haven’t been writing much recently. I’ve been quite tired, and have simply not had the energy to make sure that I can write as often as you like. Now I’ve larger family people keep telling me that I can’t expect to get everything done that I want to do, and it’ll be hard enough to focus on getting the essential things done.

Perhaps everyone else is right, and there’s things I need to let go. I love being a parent, no doubt about that, and I love spending time with my newest daughter, but when she’s asleep I still feel the drive to try and get as much as I can done.

energy

However, even with getting more help with things around the home, I’ve still been struggling with energy, and getting my energy levels have been all over the place. This is common for people with modern lives, and doubly so for people adjusting to the arrival of new addition to their family.

So I’ve resolved to fix this. I’ve been doing some research into what anyone, but particularly new mothers like myself, can do to try and boos their energy levels. Here’s some of the better advice I’ve read:

1. Get a good night’s sleep

Easier said than done? Sure. It can be hard to get any sleep with a young child. But it is still important to try. Even just a good block of four or five hours of uninterrupted sleep can lift energy levels considerably.

2. Eating the right foods

Diet. So many of these things come down to the diet. But what you put into your body is a massive factor in what energy you have. There’s lots of information about this already on the internet, so I won’t go into it too much, but limiting processed foods, eating three decent meals a day and concentrating on foods with a lower glycemic index will help you feel more energetic.

3. Exercise

This is starting to seem more and more like a list of things for losing weight. That said, moderate exercise can increase energy levels. It doesn’t have to be an intense workout with the aim of burning fat, instead something as simple as going for a good walk early in the morning can increase serotonin levels in the brain and energy levels everywhere else. It’s something I’ve already been trying to do.

4. Get rid of tasks you don’t need to do

This is good advice for anyone at any time. But for people who are stretched thin it’s doubly so. Are you doing things that are both unnecessary and  not enjoyable? Then stop. Reflect on what takes up your time and see if it is something you neither like nor need.

For things you don’t like but need to get done, see if you can get help. Like I discussed in my last article.

5. Take some time out for yourself

Lots of information I’ve read talks about meditation and quiet time. Maybe that’s not for you, but carving out some time to focus on yourself – even if it is something as simple as having a nice bath and watching your favorite TV should in an hour of “you time” – is important in relaxing and letting go of stress and tension. Stress and tension both impact on energy, so reducing them will raise your energy levels.

Hopefully you’ll be able to use these tips in your own life if you are in the same position as me. It is much easier said than done, but I am determined to try. Hopefully, I’ll post again soon with an update of how I’ve been going.

Like most of the country, it is cold around where we live. Winter is here and is letting everyone know. My daughter has moved from a crib in our room some of the time to being in her crib in her nursery every night. When she was with us it was easy to tell what the temperature was like in her room (as we were in it) and if she was comfortable.

Since the move her sleep hasn’t been as good, I think it is to do with the cold. We’ve got some heating in her room, but I’ve found it best to have to to just take the chill out of the air. Firstly, this saves money – it is not cheap to run heating! And secondly I think it’s more comfortable for my baby. To keep her at a comfortable temperature it is better (so I find) to use bedding and her night clothes – it seems easier to find the right temperature that way.

nighttime

This works well… except when it doesn’t. The problem has been that my baby kept losing her blankets. I don’t mind doing night feeds, but I like to maximise my sleep!

The Problem With Blankets

My daughter moves around in her sleep, like most babies. This tends to result in her sheet and blankets being all messed up, and her not sufficiently covered. As a result she wakes up. My baby wasn’t hard to get back to sleep – she just wanted the blankets back on and to be soothed a little. And this is what made me think it was a temperature thing – it all seemed to be about making her comfortable.

Making sure everything was tucked in wasn’t a solution. My daughter is getting to be big and strong (well, for an infant anyway) and could often mess up her bedding no matter how diligently we tuck it all in. If you’ve got any tips then pass them on!

Solution: Goose Down Comforter to the Rescue

The solution – so far anyway – is a good quality goose down comforter, like these. A smaller sized comforter made from goose down is a good weight and provides a good amount of warmth, replacing several thinner blankets. My daughter has figured out how to pull one of something over her at night when it gets displaced, so now there is just one thing to use she is able to cover herself up close to all of the time.

She really likes some of the great designs for the pattern, too! Much more variety than blankets.

Hopefulloy it keeps working. I am not sure if it is a solution for all year round but it is working for us!

Despite now being a parent of three, things with a newborn feel a bit different this time around. I don’t know if it is because I am older or because I’ve two other young kids in addition to my beautiful daughter but being a stay at home mom of a newborn is making me feel a lot more tired than it did the first two times around. Coping with disrupted sleep is seeming harder than ever. And breast feeding seems to be taking more energy than it did previously.

There’s no easy way to fix it, sadly. All I can do is try and save as much energy for the things that are really important.

Doing Less

One way of saving myself for the things that really need doing is of course doing less. Despite never being that big on housework in the first place I’m trying to do less than I ever have! The ironing has stopped almost completely. When I cook I try and make use of as much pre-prepared ingredients as I can while still trying to be as healthy as possible. And dishes don’t make it out of the dishwasher straight away any more. I’m encouraging the family to use them straight from there and only unpacking when we need to put another load on.

Sharing the Load

One of the big savers, though, has been getting help from my family. My sons, despite being young, have been keen to help where they can. It might be something as simple as carrying things for me (obviously not very big things) or putting plates and cups into the sink. And they know to put their toys and things away if they don’t want their ever so slightly mobile sister to get them!

The biggest energy saver for me, though, is my husband. He’s been amazing. Despite working longer hours at work he still does as much of the housework as he can. One area he has really tried to take over is cooking. It’s a good thing for him to do as he can do it after work when everyone else is in bed, freezing it or putting it in the refrigerator for heating up later. He’s been trying to cook in bulk, and had to buy some new kitchen equipment off the internet to help out. Its saving me a lot of time and, more importantly, energy.

He’s also been trying to take as much of the non-feeding night wakeup time as possible. I don’t know how he has energy for work, really. There’s no way I could do all this without him.

Other Sources of Assistance

We could get more people to help out. And our families have been really good in this regard. My mom is around all the time helping out – even when I don’t ask her to! But it is so nice not to have to get the vacuum out because she’s already done it.

My husband’s parents love taking out our kids, and their grandsons have received a lot of attention from them. This has had the added bonus of helping them cope with all the changes.

If we had more money, another option is hiring some sort of help, like a house keeper or nanny. Or even simple (cheaper) things like getting a cleaning service, like Homejoy or something similar to help. Or even getting the laundry done. It’d be worth the cost for the extra time it’d free up.

family

One of the best things I love about being a parent is the fact that I have someone in my life that I can love unconditionally and who will love me the same way. I love the fact that my child looks to me to keep him safe, provide guidance that he needs to be a responsible person, and to hear him when he is troubled about life.

Another great thing about being a parent is that I learn lessons about myself through child rearing. For example, I learned that I will need to remain humble when parenting because I don’t know everything and sometimes I need help in steering my child in the right direction.

family

Worst Things About Being A Parent

One of the worst things about being a parent is the many dangers that my child faces these days and I sometimes fear that I cannot always protect him from those dangers which include sexual predators, bullies in school or even environmental dangers. Another bad thing about parenthood is when my child becomes rebellious to the point of being disrespectful and I struggle with finding the best way to discipline them without abusing them.

A Less Superficial Life

Before I became a parent, I lived only for myself and in fact I told myself that I could never be a parent because I generally did not have patience with children in general or with younger siblings as a teenager. However, I now know that the best blessings in life are not just about fulfilling my own dreams, but about giving of myself to others, especially my children. They make life worthwhile.

More Humor in The Home

Kids do so many fun things and one of the best things about parenthood is that I can laugh all the time. Just the other day my daughter put on a homemade fairy outfit that my dad helped her make and she did a series of comedy routines in her outfit. On another day my daughter took it upon herself to comb her hair and while it looked odd, I loved the fact that she tried.

Judgmental Comments From Others

Throughout my life as a parent some of the worst experiences were in situations in which my in-laws, my parents or even best friends made all kinds of judgmental comments towards me, and they tend to be critical of how I raise the children. At one point I had to let them know that while I appreciate their efforts, I know what is best for my children.

 

There are benefits and downsides in parenting, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything because as a parent, I’m developing my character and I now know the importance of selflessness and gratitude. When I am with my children I develop a sense of renewed purpose everyday and they keep me energized. Finally, parenthood brings me a lot of joy and I want to do everything I can to be there for them.

come from the heart

I still struggle to understand modern society’s need for labels and the consequent stereotypes we attach to them. We label people who only eat vegetables “vegetarians” and tend to assume they are all animal rights activists out to guilt-trip us meat eating, “environmentally insensitive” carnivores. And even within this elite group of “vegetarians” we have sub-groups like ovo-vegetarians, vegans, lacto-vegetarians, and so on, each with their corresponding image to live up to. Perhaps because it is human nature to want to “belong” that we do this, but it has really bothered me a lot that this labeling has even extended to the way we parent our children. We have come up with parenting labels like attachment parents, natural parents, continuum parents, dragon mothers, earthy mamas, etc. In the midst of all this, shall we say, “name calling”, we have inadvertently managed to alienate mothers who don’t fit our descriptions for each so-called “parenting type”. With all these labels we see online “mommy wars”, we read blogs on all sorts of parenting, and we read the ensuing debate on their comment boxes. I practice what we have labeled “attachment parenting”, and I actually advocate for its practices, but then I have nothing against parents who don’t co-sleep or baby wear or breastfeed, and I seriously don’t agree we can call them detached parents.

Attachment parenting calls for listening and responding to your child’s needs, to nurture them and be present for them and respect them and love them. But isn’t that what every parent should do? So why do we need the term attachment parenting? Can’t we just call it parenting? After all, aren’t these what parenting should be all about?

come from the heart

Parenting while I work

I find it sad really that we have become so caught up in trying to live-up to so called “ideal” standards that we sometimes forget that at the end of the day, we all do our best to be the best parents we can possibly be. Not all so-called “practices” of AP work for all families. Just because you don’t co-sleep, doesn’t automatically mean you don’t love your children any less. Just because you don’t breastfeed, it doesn’t make you any less a mother. If attachment parenting is all about raising emotionally secure and socially responsible human beings, then I say that is parenting. No need for qualifying adjectives that may discriminate or inadvertently pass judgment on others. Labels and so called styles help to distinguish particular techniques that may help us in our parenting journey, but they are in no way definitive of who we are as parents.

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child, now if only our global community could decide on truly coming together in support of parenting, without passing judgment on how each family is raised, without discriminating attachment from continuum or natural, we could be a better world for it. If the goal of parenting is to raise the next generation of human beings to be better persons than who we are now, we can look forward to a truly brighter future for mankind. Attachment parenting is parenting, in every sense of the word. And so is natural parenting, continuum parenting, social parenting and so is whatever other label we have attached to parenting. Perhaps the question we should all consider as parents is not on what parenting style we employ but rather how do we use all the studies, techniques, practices and philosophies of each movement to become the best parents we can possibly be for our own children.