If you’ve never heard of TMS, you’ve probably had it—Tired Mom Syndrome. I coined the phrase after laughing with my children about my late evening fatigue that sets in after long days of running around and doing the things mothers do. The symptoms? A higher level of irritability. The desire to sequester one’s self from the noise of loud children. And the slower movement associated with a tired body and mind!
I started joking about TMS because I wanted to help my children understand that even moms have limits. I explained to them that I love them very much, but that by the end of the day I don’t have quite as much patience. I let them know that I can’t handle a lot of craziness at this point in my day, and I ask them to please tone it down just a bit. I tried to help them relate by pointing out that neither one of them likes to be awakened in a loud, forceful way. I told them that’s how I feel in the evening; I need a gentle approach too.
Here’s how to handle tired mom syndrome.
1. Pause before you lose it.
My children were in rare form on the way home from school the other day. They were loud, antsy, and were pretty much just letting off steam from a long day of studies. We were about a block from home when I felt myself near the point of losing it. I did not want to say something I would regret later. So I asked them to get out of the car and walk home. Well actually, I firmly told them to please get out of the car… now.
That little bit of alone time helped me pull it back together, and we laughed about the situation. A better outcome than if I had lost it in the car. (And don’t worry, they were on the sidewalk and I was keeping an eye on them in the rearview mirror.)
2. Act like a baby.
While I was on a walk with a good friend the other morning, we started talking about naps. We both observed that TMS is much more likely to strike when we’re tired. Enter the nap. It can be as short as 10 minutes, but if you can get in a good half hour every now and then, do it. You’ll think better. You’ll have more patience. You’ll be nicer to your children. My friend told me that she’s stolen a quick nap in the school pickup line!
If you can’t slip a nap into your day, try to get enough sleep at night. I know, it’s tough. There is always one more thing to do at night that keeps us from hitting the hay. But try not to go too many nights without getting good rest.
3. Cut back.
I woke up this morning at 3:30 and could not go back to sleep. My mind was spinning with the appointments I needed to schedule, the bills I needed to pay, and the clothes—lots of clothes—I needed to fold. To beat TMS, you have to cutback on worry. Worry compounds TMS. But cutting back on worrying is easier said than done.
Still, here’s what helps: Pray. Ask God to help you realize that there is only so much you can do. A lot of things are out of your control. Those are the things that worry is wasted on. Cut out some of your responsibilities, if you can. I went through my duties and jettisoned the ones that were taking up too much of my energy and gave little reward.
So the next time you get TMS, try the steps above for relief, and let me know if they help!
How do you handle Tired Mom Syndrome?