How to Preserve Your Brain Power When Parenting Mentally Exhausts You

She's still full of energy compared to mom

Summer break. Winter break. Weekends. Long weekends. What do these all have in common? When you have children, it’s the exhaustion you feel at the end of those breaks.

Kids are work, this we know. We also know that kids are joy. We love them. We want the best for them. We want them to feel safe and loved. But sometimes? Sometimes we just need them to be quiet. Just for five minutes. Please.

No questions. No arguments. No telling us something “real quick” about “Odd Squad” or Pottermore. Just: SHHHH. Shhhhh…

We often feel this need for quiet at the end of a long day, and especially at the end of several long days. On top of all our regular adult responsibilities – work, laundry, meal prep, paying bills, making appointments – must we also be faced with, “Can I have a snack?” “Can I watch TV?” “Can I have a friend over?” “Can we dye my hair?”

Some days it feels like too much for our brains to handle because it actually is too much, according to science. It’s why at nine am your answer to “Can I have a piece of candy?” is “No,” but at five pm your answer is “I don’t care.”

All the decisions we have to make on a daily basis take a toll on our mental discipline. When our kids are present, the number of decisions we’re required to make is multiplied. This is especially true on days that you take your kids with you to do an errand, like shopping. While you’re trying to decide which toilet paper is the better deal, you’re also reminding your kid not to dance in the middle of the aisle when people are passing by (dancing on one side of the aisle is acceptable, or course).

The result is that you’re eventually exhausted to the point of brain numbness, so much so that when the cashier asks you if you found everything okay, your answer is, “Huh?”

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