Tips for Maintaining Energy with a Large Family: 4 Moms

Being tired is part of being a mom. It’s part of learning to put others first and die to self. It’s an even bigger part of your life if you are a mom of a large family.moms of many manage Nursing a baby, multiple pregnancies, interrupted sleep, busy daytime schedules, all of these can lead to tiredness and lack of energy and moms of many deal with all this and more on a daily basis.

While learning to do what needs to be done in the midst of being tired exhausted is often necessary, there are some things  that can help you feel better and have more energy.

Regular Exercise

I know that it’s hard to find the time, especially with all little ones, but making an effort to regularly exercise really pays off in energy.

Currently I’m doing peak 8′s. This requires maximum effort (I sprint up and down our stairs) for 20-30 seconds and then a 90 second rest period. You repeat this 8 times and your done. This shouldn’t be done everyday as giving your body a recovery period is also important. So 20 minutes, 3 times a week is easy to fit in.

I generally do this mid-day while the children are up and about. I can (and do) start laundry, pick up toys or tend to children during the ‘rest’ periods, so even if you have all little ones this is an easy way to fit in exercise. (Yes, I’ve been doing it throughout this pregnancy.)

For years our family has participated in running. It’s an activity that all ages can participate in together.

I’ve been known to strap a little one into a baby carrier and put another one in the stroller and run/jog  alongside the 3-5 year crowd while the big ones get in a few miles. Mark and I also spend time taking turns with the younger set so that the other one can get in some time running unburdened. :)

Our family has enjoyed training for and competing in an occasional 5K. As a matter of fact, the children have been scheming about how it will be possible for me to participate (with the rest of the family) in  a 5K mud-run less than a month after giving birth via c-section. If I don’t ‘run’ the race, there isn’t someone to help some of the little guys over the obstacles, but I’m pretty certain that I will be holding a baby and recovering from surgery rather than participating, at least for this year.

I can’t see doing this 4 weeks after giving birth via c-section…

Regular Sleep

Go ahead and laugh. Trust me, I understand, sometimes this is impossible, but there are some things that we can control.  A schedule or routine can help immensely with getting enough sleep.

Whether your a morning or an evening person, try to decide what time you will go to bed and and what time you will get up in the morning and then stick with that as much as possible.

Also, when pregnant or when your night time sleep is very interrupted consider fitting in a regular nap during the day. In order to do this you’ll have to have an established rest time for your children.

I prefer a short half hour of sleep in the afternoon, but when I’m really concerned about the quantity of my sleep, I’ll rest longer than that. Sometimes simply laying down and resting can be just as effective as actual sleep.

Don’t overdo it

You, your husband and your children all need time to just be at home together without running here and there and without a houseful of people. As homeschoolers I think we tend to over-commit and over-schedule our families.

For our family, we have dinner at home nearly every evening and try to limit company to 1-2 nights a week. We also limit daytime outings to one day a week (except for during our 8 week cross country season).

Eat real food

What we eat does effect how we feel. For increased energy, cut out the junk, the food that doesn’t provide the nutrition that God intended food to provide.

Foods to avoid:

  • white sugar
  • white flour
  • processed foods and drinks (including low-fat versions of real foods)
  • soda

In addition eat a variety of healthy foods that do give your body the nutrition that it needs; healthy fats, quality proteins, fruits and veggies.

Supplement

I would have ignored this advice until several months ago, but I honestly notice a huge difference in energy when I forget to take my vitamins in the morning.

The one supplement that our whole family takes daily is fermented cod liver oil (I know it sounds horrid and it doesn’t taste much better).

I also take Supermom multi-vitamins (I use these in place of  prenatals) and vitamin B-12 in liquid form.

Stay hydrated

I notice a difference in energy and how I feel, especially during nursing and pregnancy, if I’m deliberate about getting enough to drink. I don’t think that I’m the only mom who gets too busy to remember to drink.

No matter what we do to keep up our energy, there are going to be times when we will struggle with being tired and that’s fine. Our responsibility is to be faithful to what God has called us to do to the best of our ability even when we just feel like crawling back into bed.

What helps you to maintain your energy?

You may also be interested in:

Also visit the other moms of many to read their thoughts and ideas:
Smockity Frocks
Life in a Shoe
The Common Room

 

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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13 Responses to Tips for Maintaining Energy with a Large Family: 4 Moms
  1. Annie
    June 21, 2012 | 8:48 am

    I am naturally a morning person and it’s nothing for me to wake up ridiculously early and get my day started. But when it’s around 1 or 2 pm, I hit that afternoon slump and more times than not, I can’t lay down with the younger kids at quiet time. That’s when I will go outside and poke around in the garden or sit on the front porch or walk out the mail box to check the mail. I find that when I get outside in the sunshine and fresh air it really revives me.
    Also, when I an nap I take what our family calls “snaps” short for “short naps”. Ten minute snaps are so fleshing. Any longer and I am groggy and cranky.

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  2. Kristin
    June 21, 2012 | 9:52 am

    I also take Supermom vitamins. They are incredible! I have had post-partum hemorrhaging after three births. Following the third, my midwife checked my iron levels and they were absolutely phenomenal for a mom who has anemia and had suffered such blood loss!

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  3. Sheila Wray Gregoire
    June 21, 2012 | 10:08 am

    Great tips! It’s funny how you KNOW the one about keeping hydrated, but you don’t always do it. My daughter has started filling up a huge water bottle every morning with water and ice and drinking it throughout the day. I need to start doing that, too!

    I’d also add one more, though I may get some tired moms disagreeing with me! Keep up a healthy sex life with your husband. When you realize that sex is for you, too, and not just for your husband, it can actually give you a lot more energy and help you to sleep better.

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  4. Natalie
    June 21, 2012 | 10:08 am

    For energy, I drink coffee and take my BabyAndMe MegaFood vitamin in the morning (I’m still b’feeding). I started drinking Xing Green Tea w/ Blueberry at lunch. I’d really like to take a nap in the afternoon, but the baby is teething & that means naps of about 30 mins. at a time LOL. Drinking enough water is something I always forget, and it’s crazy how dehydration can affect all parts of your body including your mental wellbeing! I also do the walk to the mailbox during the baby’s 30 mins. nap, and I also have the slump around 2-4 pm. I want to start a 30 minute walk pattern again–that and losing the last 50 pounds of weight will help greatly with energy!! I love the “running up & down stairs” idea!! I just have to remember to do Kegels when I’m doing that–I’ve got a prolapsed uterus and I’m trying to strengthen the muscles to hold it up. (It happened after being on bedrest with #5…pregnancy with #6 actually pushed it back up, but after delivery 6 months ago, I have to remember to keep tightening the muscles.) Thanks for all of your encouraging blogs!!!

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  5. tessa w
    June 21, 2012 | 2:35 pm

    Such a good reminder. After a very crazy first year with my second son, the last six months have been spent working back into a rhythm and taking better care of myself. One this I would like to add is remembering your own heart. Taking time to read a good book/blog/article or chunk of scripture can do wonders for rejuvenating a mom. I nurse my littlest (now 18 months old) down for his nap (or attempted nap) and I tale that time to read ly Bible on my smartphone. Even if he decides that he doesn’t want to nap at that point, I feel much more refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

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  6. Kathryn
    June 21, 2012 | 3:26 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I only have one child so far, but these were some great tips! :)

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  7. Mom as Doctor
    June 21, 2012 | 5:28 pm

    It is so important to take care of the momma!! Doesn’t everything truly hang on how we are doing.

    Now that I am nearing the end of my pregnancy (baby #7) I see all the more how important it is.

    Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils are my secret in not only keeping me healthy and well physically but emotionally. This is the first pregnancy I have used them regularly and what a difference! No mood swings, my husband can do no wrong instead of feeling like he can do nothing right. :)

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    joyfulmamma Reply:

    Would you be willing to provide the namebrand and what kinds you take?
    Thanks!

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  8. Sara
    June 25, 2012 | 12:23 am

    I’ve continued to have rest time for all 5 of my children in the early afternoon. I usually have everyone reading or sleeping for at least an hour and a half. It has definitely been worth the effort to be consistent with training in that area. It’s one of the best things I have done to give myself a break during the day, especially when my husband is deployed. We also eat very little processed food and find we are much more energetic when we are juicing as well. I have been inconsistent taking my vitamins and supplements since the last birth, but I can feel that my body is missing it. Thanks for the reminder!

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  9. MomOnAMission
    June 26, 2012 | 7:53 am

    I love your site! I just wanted to say thank you so much for the encouragement and wisdom you provide.

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  10. Brandy
    June 26, 2012 | 6:28 pm

    Amen! :)

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  11. Robin
    June 26, 2012 | 9:41 pm

    It’s so encouraging to read this! Today has been one of those days! Ugh!! Our AC froze over so it was super hot last night and I had a hard time sleeping. I than had to get up super early to take my mom to the Dr so I was trying to drive on min. sleep and on top of that my two toddlers seemed to have an excessive amount of energy! Why is it they seem to be more energized when I’m tired?! :P and go on and add the fact that I’m 38 weeks pregnant and suffering from sciatic nerve being pinched! Sigh…I was pretty tempted to talk to my Dr about having my tubes tied because I just feel inadequate to do the next task at hand. It’s a relief to see that moms of many are human and get tired too ;)

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    Sara Reply:

    God always provides grace and rest right when you need it! You can trust he will give you the strength that you need for your birth and after and for any other children he will bless you with!

    “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9

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