Feeling Drained After Long Mom Days? You’re Not the Energizer Bunny, Mama. Here’s What to Do When You’re Running on Empty.

The last month has been one of giving, giving, giving, and I think I’m all out. My heart is there, but my mind and body are curled up in bed under the covers. Three weeks ago my son had surgery, and all he wanted was his mama. Seven nights straight of being up all night, administering medications, staying indoors and dealing with a LOT of crying just does something to a person. A week after he recovered, school started. It should be easy by now, but it is still hard letting go, watching your kids go into the care of another woman for six hours a day, and helping your child navigate through the social aspect of school when they’re nervous. Of course, when I pick them up, I want to hear ALL about their day (being the detail-oriented person I am), only to hear, “It was fine, mom.” That’s it? That’s all I get?

In the midst of this I have been preparing for some speaking engagements, working and trying to get some semblance of the house together. But truth be told, I feel like I’m sinking.

Your situation may be different, but I’m sure you can relate. When you give and give and give, and don’t get much in return, you start to feel alone. And angry. And sad. And crazy.

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize the signs that you are running on empty—we don’t have a warning light like in our car—so we keep going, and going, and going. But here are some warning signs I have come to recognize in my own life:

—I get anxious. I start worrying about things that normally wouldn’t bother me on a good day.

—I get frustrated easily—mainly with people I love, feeling that they are not doing enough for me, not helping me or not reaching out to me.

—I get angry—angry at drivers, angry at grocery store workers, angry at anyone who crosses my path on a bad day.

—I get very, very tired. A tired that sleep cannot remedy, a tired that no coffee can reach. It is a soul-tired.

—I self-medicate—whether it is with food, with caffeine, with television or going online too much, I attempt to medicate my soul in hope that it will help, but it does not.

The crazy thing is, I know the remedy. I know that these things mean that I am not going to the Source. I am digging deeper within myself to drudge up some kind of emotional reserve that is just not there. I ask God for help, I whisper hurried prayers like, “help me,” but I don’t sit at his feet. There is just too much to be done, so I feel. A friend reminded me today that rather than adding “devotions” to my long list of things to do, and feeling like I have a timed-quota to fill each day, I should simply sit before Him and listen. That might mean in silence, or it might mean that I turn on  some worship music and listen to each word, soaking it in.

A professor in college once told me that I needed to allow “my soul to catch up with my body.” This is one of those times. Today I am doing some “soul care.” I am getting my pumpkin spiced latte, going to the beach to look for dolphins and spending some time with God.

Something tells me that you might need a little soul care today too. What is something you can do to take care of yourself? Whatever you do, remember to run back to the Source.

If you need a place to start, be encouraged by the words of this song by Meredith Andrews.

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Jaimie Bowman
Jaimie Bowman is a youth pastor's wife and mom of 2 boys from sunny Southern California. She loves speaking to moms about serving God through motherhood and is the author of the book Breathe: 31 Moments with God {for Moms}. You can find more of Jaimie's writing at JaimieBowman.com.