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I don’t know if it’s because I’m about 27 weeks pregnant, or because I’m up each night for a couple of hours with my sleepless son Owen (or most likely a combination of both!) but I’ve really been exhausted lately.
Of course with six kids in the house and farm chores, laying in bed all day isn’t a viable option. What’s a busy mom to do?
Here are five ways I’ve been managing pregnancy exhaustion:
1. Maximize rest during the day
We have a two-hour quiet time each day. While I normally use this time to do some catch-up and prep on housework and meals, or maybe write a blog post or two, I’ve been more purposeful with resting for at least half of this time. I can’t always fall asleep, but I can sit on the couch and at least put my feet up if sleep eludes me.
I’ve also moved parts of school to the couch where I can rest a little better while teaching.
It’s not ideal, but it works! The kids love gathering around and snuggling while we read and sing together, and I get to be still for a while.
2. Buying convenience foods
I’ve been making my own pasta for several months now, and just love it! But when I go grocery shopping next week, dried whole wheat pasta has once again returned to my shopping list.
Yes, I love the taste of homemade. But by having a box of pasta on hand, I make it much easier for the kids to help cook dinner.
And those fifteen minutes saved by not making it fresh can be huge on a day when I got little sleep and my brain is feeling foggy.
Tortillas are another convenience food I’ll be buying. Yes they are easy to make, but this is not the time in my life to make every little thing.
3. Minimize farm chores
The cows are now dried up, thanks to the doses of Tomorrow my mom gave them this morning. My parents will be out-of-town this weekend, so mom came over this morning instead of on Sunday.
Not milking will save about 20 minutes every morning. I’m looking forward to not milking tomorrow! I enjoy it, but after milking for over a year, a break will be nice.
I’ve also worked out some efficient ways to quickly get feeding and watering taken care of for all the animals, so chores are only taking 10 minutes twice a day when I’m solo, and even less when the kids help.
Being efficient and drying up the cows will save me a lot of effort.
4. Staying Home.
We are being homebodies around here. Well, I guess we are all the time, but now I’m more so. It can be a challenge getting everyone ready to go and loaded up. Not to mention keeping track of everyone and lifting Owen into and out of the car and his wheelchair. Leaving the house requires a lot of effort.
So we are practicing contentment at home. With what we have. And I’m learning to really love shopping online. Toilet paper and diapers delivered to my door? Yes please!
We are combining appointments and leaving less. I’m really enjoying just seeing all the days on the calendar with nowhere to go–it leaves room for creative play here on the farm. And it saves gas money–another bonus!
5. Lowering expectations of myself
This is the hardest one for me. I feel like I need to continue to get it all done. But the Lord has pointed out that those feelings are just my pride. Busted!
Carrying this new little one and spending time with the family are way more important at this stage in my life than mopping the floors. And scrubbing cupboards.
So I’m leaning on the Lord and learning that I can’t do it all. And that’s ok. We do what we can each day, and ensure that essentials get done (kitchen and bathroom cleaning for instance), and then I don’t stress.
Well, rather I’m learning not to stress! And I’m enjoying more snuggles and books with kids than ever before.
What strategies have you used to survive exhaustion?