Confession: I Need a New Plan

by Heligirl on September 11, 2010

in Confessions,Daily Ramblings

I feel like there isn’t enough time in the day and despite my every effort to keep up with family, work and the daily chores, I’m forever feeling I’m behind and my energy level is in the pits. As a result I start to talk down to myself and eventually feel inadequate and slightly depressed. To top it off, things seem to hurt more than they ever did – creaky bones, bumps and bruises, and the ever increasing foot cramps thanks to my second pregnancy that collapsed my arches.

This week it all caught up to me when my body told me in its unmistakable way that I needed to change a few things or suffer the consequence. I got sick. Not bedridden asking my children to come closer so I can touch them before I pass into the light sick. But sick none the less with a sore throat, cough, runny nose and sinus headache. Add that to still having to do the daily grind and it feels like the former kind of sick (in fact, it makes me long for it in a way as at least then I could lay down).

Hubby took Sweetness shopping today so I could have a couple of hours of reduced work with Mr. Man as he napped, ate then played. I sat on the couch with my trusty laptop and started looking at what I’d been doing daily and trying to see if there were some changes I could make to be more efficient, less tired and more energetic. I did some careful research on WebMD and a few other reputable sites then took quick evaluation of my life regarding sleep, diet, exercise and stressors.

Since about April I’ve been able to get back to 7-8 hours of sleep as that’s when Mr. Man figured out how to do the same. While I wish I could some days, I rarely have the time to nap.

For diet, I have been taking my vitamins. A multivitamin, Vitamin E, fish oil, iron and calcium (with Vit. K) are a part of the morning routine. So is whole grain breakfast, fruit, and at least two cups of black tea with lemon and two heaping spoonfuls of sugar. I’ve recently started having coffee at work (two creams and four sugars). Lunch is sometimes leftovers, sometimes a frozen meal popped in the microwave, or even skipped in favor of snacks with the kids when I get off work. Maybe I’ll drink 6 oz of water at work. Dinner is almost always fully rounded and healthy, usually with milk. I used to have ice cream most evenings, but cut that back quite a bit once Mr. Man stopped nursing in June. The extra calories were showing up. More nights than I’d like to admit I’ll have a glass of wine, beer or a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, often out of the need to unwind than any urge for the taste.

Exercise consists of chasing the kids around. Pretty lame.

As for stress, what isn’t stressing me out? Sweetness has taken to some very impressive tantrums and power plays which consist of very loud and constant screaming (a talent she’s had since birth). That stresses me out after a while. Work is a little uncertain as lots of changes are taking place. My boss has even shared that there will be no need for my position should a consolidation decision be made in coming weeks. Loving life there. My freelance gig is always uncertain and at the whim of the board, so that’s nerve wracking. The constant flux of my childcare arrangements is getting really old. Football season is upon us, thus Hubby will be gone half the Saturdays until Christmas so I get to single parent (usually not a problem unless Sweetness is in one of her moods, then really stressful). Crazy schedules start next week with both kids in preschool. And that’s all off the top of my head. I could come up with more if I really thought about it.

After that little exercise it’s rather clear that there are a few things I can do to see if I can get some energy and balance back. One is work a little harder on eating better (sugar, alcohol, caffeine, high carbs reduce energy and I so need to drink more water). The second is to reduce stress either by eliminating stressors or managing the stress they create.

So here is my plan in a nutshell:


  • Reduce sugar and caffeine (no more than one teaspoon of sugar per cup of tea, to be worked down to none), and one cup of caffeinated beverage a day. Urges for tea the rest of the day can be met with decaffeinated, but without sugar.
  • Reduce alcohol to two nights a week, max. One drink a night. Replace this with herbal tea, no sugar, to boost my hydration.
  • Pack a high protein lunch every day for work and be sure to eat the same on the days I’m home for lunch. High protein will keep the energy going. Almonds and brazil nuts also help.
  • Continue to assure I’m eating healthy, whole foods rather than opting for the fast food alternative. No more than one fast food meal a week.


  • Strive to get 15 minutes of increased heart rate exercise a day. Just walking around the block pushing the stroller or Wii fit aerobics will do this. If I need a break at work, walk around the parking lot or up and down the stairwell. This will also help with stress reduction.


  • Continue to keep up with my daily special time with Sweetness. Spending time with just her each day helps keep the tantrums and power struggles at bay. Skipping this may give me time to get something done, but she’ll make me pay for it down the road.
  • Work on accepting I have no control over some things. Rather than stress out about my job, just do the best I can every day, treat everyone respectfully and keep my cool. I have complete control over the level and quality of work I perform, and stressing only subtracts from that.
  • Take time at the end of each day to review the schedule for the next day. Organize anything needed (checks for school, diaper bags, paperwork, lunches) so I can hit the ground running the next morning. On Sunday evenings, also quickly review the upcoming week so nothing is a surprise the night before.
  • Don’t put off any chores. If laundry needs to be done, just do it. One chore like that a day will keep me from feeling I need to get all the chores done on Saturday, especially hard when Hubby is out of town.

Wow, this has been a really valuable exercise. I feel motivated now. I’m off to put these things in action. I’ll report back how it goes.

In the meantime, I’d sure love to hear your advice on how you boost energy. I might just give it a whirl!


Twitter: rachael1013
September 12, 2010 at 1:38 am

I’m working on building exercise into my schedule where I can. I am walking the 1/4 mile to take my 4 year old down our driveway to the bus, and teh other day I had a doctor appointment and since I had time I parked a brisk 30 min walk away and got my exercise for the day.

I also struggle with not putting off the chores, but when I get caught up and keep on top of it, it makes things SO much easier.

Twitter: Heligirl
September 12, 2010 at 7:11 am

Way to go Rachael. I was a good girl and took the kids and dogs for a walk last night after dinner, despite this cold. I hear you on getting on top of the chores. It feels so great when you get there. Oh the energy it takes with two tornadoes following you around messing things up as soon as you get them cleaned up.

Wenmei September 12, 2010 at 9:18 am

Kudos to you for taking the time to think through this and putting a plan in action! I’m still in the “I’m too stressed/tired/hungry” phase and I’m not doing a great job of correcting it, but you have inspired me. I did recently have an “a-ha” moment when I realized my son is an introvert and that reminded me that I’M an introvert — thus needing alone/quiet time to recharge my batteries. As you know, being a stay-at-home mom with a nearly 3-year old and a 1-year old (who appears to be a total extrovert, like her dad) does not afford me much alone OR quiet time. I still haven’t figured out how to carve out that much-needed recharging time for myself, but recognizing what I’m missing has helped me at least get started in the right direction.

Twitter: Heligirl
September 12, 2010 at 10:38 am

Way to go Wenmei in figuring out the introvert piece. I bet knowing that helps you provide him with what he needs based of what you know you’d appreciate. One thing I’ve done to keep my sanity is in the afternoons when Mr. Man takes his nap, Sweetness goes off in her room for “rest time.” Her daycare that she goes to twice a week requires that for all kids under 5 so she doesn’t even question it. She uses it to quietly read books in her bed or play quietly for an hour if she’s not inclined to nap. Mommy gets to put her feet up for an hour. Do you think something like that would work for you guys?
Heligirl recently posted: Confession- I Need a New Plan

Booyah's Momma September 13, 2010 at 8:44 pm

These are great tips. I’ve been lacking in the sleep department lately, and it’s been really taking a toll on my energy level. And I wish I could be good like you and lay off the caffeine and alcohol more, because I think that would help also. Sigh… the latter’s easier said than done, though. Beer and I are just too good of friends.
Booyah’s Momma recently posted: Lifes not always bright copper kettles

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