Mum Life Fatigue: Causes and Symptoms

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An old post for a new audience.

Mum Life Fatigue: What is it?

Let’s face it, everyone gets ‘fatigued’. You had a late night, a physically demanding day, the guy down the street had a party and no respect for your slumber, you didn’t get the z’s you needed to be a fully functioning human being. Every person in the world has at some point in their lives been fatigued!

But there is one type of fatigue that only mums understand, one type of fatigue that makes you want to crawl into a deep, dark crater and observe the world go by. One type of fatigue that makes you lose your care factor concerning just about everything and be enraged enough to commit murder at the same time. One type of fatigue that makes you weep over every tiny little thing and earns you the negative version of the nickname ‘Mumma Bear’.  This type of fatigue is what I call ‘Mum Life Fatigue’.

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Causes:

Mum Life Fatigue is more than your average ‘fatigue’. It’s what happens when you haven’t slept through a single night in 4 years. When your entire day seems to consist of changing nappies, bed sheets and outfits (your babies and your own. Wait…correction, you don’t get time to change your own). When you’ve rocked, bounced, cuddled and sang to your infant for hours on end and they still resist the slumber. When you’ve multi-tasked to the point of feeding a baby, reading to the toddler and hanging the washing on the line at the same time. When you’ve fed, dressed and bathed the kids, done 2 truckloads of washing, vacuumed the floor 3 times, washed the dishes, cleaned poo and crayon off the walls, picked up all the toys and the house still looks like a frat party hit it. When no matter how much time you spend on your feet, there still seems to be 10 more hours of it just around the corner.  When your afternoons and weekends are full of taxiing kids to various sports, activities, play dates, school disco’s, job interviews, shopping trips, hospital visits to remove various tiny objects from body orifices, etc, etc, etc and when your only “me time” consists of sitting on the toilet for 2 minutes with the door locked and ten little fingers wiggling underneath it.

All these things and then some, are the major cause of ‘Mum Life Fatigue’.

Symptoms:

Below is a list of 10 symptoms you may experience while suffering ‘Mum Life Fatigue’.

  1. Your brain no longer functions at a low capacity let-alone an average one (i.e. you can’t remember the names of anything anymore, most objects become ‘things’, ‘thingies’ or collectively ‘stuff’ and nobody’s name can be recalled if it has more than one syllable.)
  2. Your always late for everything including your own bedtime, but that’s because you stay up till midnight in the attempt to get just a little bit of time to yourself without having to answer a thousand questions about why apples aren’t called ‘reds’ or ‘greens’ since oranges are called ‘oranges’.
  3. You spend the whole day using every ounce of strength to stay upright and conscious only to finally get into bed and be wide awake for the next three hours thinking about everything you did that day and need to do the next. Not to mention worrying about whether you mummy’d well enough that day.
  4. You constantly misplace your sunglasses, bank cards, and car keys and have to waste hours searching for them only to find them right where they belong in your handbag, purse or hanging by the front door.
  5. You forget what the outdoors look and feel like and the view of your lounge room and or kitchen is permanently burned into the back of your eyelids, so even when you close your eyes it’s like your still there.
  6. Your hair and face take on a permanent greasy appearance and the clothes you wear during the day double as pajamas because let’s be honest, it takes too much damn energy to get changed anyway.
  7. You have repetitive thoughts of killing, maiming and otherwise making suffer (and I’m sure we’ve all been here) your snoring partner in the bed next to you while you’re up for the 28th time that night.
  8. You break down crying in the grocery store because some old guy who smells like he hasn’t had a shower in a month, snatches the last bunch of spring onions out from under your nose, right after you discover they are ‘clean-out’ of your favorite chocolate.
  9. You keep calling your kids the wrong names and eventually give up and just shout ‘hey you’.
  10. You swear if your partner tells you one more time that they are tired, you will sneak off in the middle of the night, hop a plane and spend the next ten years picking fruit at various orchards around the world.

If you are suffering any or all of the above symptoms, you more than likely have ‘Mum Life Fatigue’ and should consider treatment.


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Treatment:

There are various treatments you can consider if you are diagnosed with ‘Mum Life Fatigue’, one of them being sleep (this can be expensive however since you may need to hire a full-time nanny) but the cheapest and most effective option is to wait until your children reach the age of 18 and go off to live their own lives.

‘Mum Life Fatigue’ is a temporary condition that can vary in length (depending on how many children you are foolish enough or brave enough to have) and eventually goes away on its own. It is however hereditary (if you have any female children), and it can return later in life under the redefined condition known as ‘Grandparent Fatigue’.

  Related articles:

Mum Life Burnout: 5 ways it can affect you and your family

Mum Life Burnout: 10 ways to cool down

How To Find Balance: Is it even possible?

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25 MumLife Quotes

An oldy but a goodie! I’m reposting this post, to remind everyone how awesome mothers and motherhood truly is!

There are so many things to be said about Mums and Motherhood, so many stories and fun anecdotes about the highs and lows of life with and as Mothers. Words alone could not express the depth of Love Mothers have for their children and vice versa but there are many who have tried to do just that. We thought it would be fun to gather 25 quotes on Mothers and Motherhood to share with you, so we can all appreciate together, the fantastic contribution that these women make in all our lives.

 

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins.” ~ Mitch Albom (For one more day)

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ~ Theodore Hesburgh

“The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.” ~ Jessica Lange

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” ~ Honore de Balzac

“The influence of a mother upon the lives of her children cannot be measured. They know and absorb her example and attitudes when it comes to questions of honesty, temperance, kindness, and industry.” ~ Billy Graham

“No man succeeds without a good woman behind him. Wife or mother, if it is both, he is twice blessed indeed.” ~ Godfrey Winn

“The fastest way to break the cycle of perfectionism and become a fearless mother is to give up the idea of doing it perfectly – indeed to embrace uncertainty and imperfection.” ~ Arianna Huffington

“To be a mother you must be strong. Even if you don’t feel it, you have to pretend.” ~ Sade Adu

“When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the Pope.’ Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.” ~ Pablo Picasso

“A mother is a woman who shows you the light when you just see the dark.” ~ Grimaldos Robin

“Mothers never retire, no matter how old her children are she is always a Mom, always willing to encourage and help her children in any way she can!” ~ Catherine Pulsifer

“Mother-love is the great, surging, divine current that plays forever through humanity.” ~ Elbert Hubbard 

 


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“Many of us who are mothers already know that being a mother is the toughest job there is. In a single day you can travel from the depths of frustration to the pinnacle of elation!” ~ June Cotner

“Giving grace to yourself is never more important than when you become a mother.” ~ Whitney Meade, The Balance Beam

“The truth is that no matter how old we are, as long as our mothers are alive, we want our mother. And it’s a very powerful relationship if it’s healthy.” ~ Goldie Hawn

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

“In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.” ~ N.K. Jemisin

“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ~ Washington Irving

“Behind every famous and influential person there is a driving force and in many cases this driving force is the unfailing love and support of their mothers.” ~ Lisa Valentine 

“The truth is, every son raised by a single mom is pretty much born married. I don’t know, but until your mom dies it seems like all the other women in your life can never be more than just your mistress.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk

“Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein, Have Space Suit—Will Travel

 “Mother’s love is bliss, is peace, it need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. If it is there, it is like a blessing; if it is not there it is as if all the beauty had gone out of life.” ~ Erich Fromm

“He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark.” 
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

 “Because I feel that, in the Heavens above / The angels, whispering to one another, / Can find, among their burning terms of love / None so devotional as that of ‘Mother’” ~ Edgar Allan Poe


 

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With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

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Are we too dependant on technology?

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I used to pride myself on the fact that I was ‘not’ a cliche or a statistic. As a teen I would avoid famous people if they happened to be somewhere I was going because I didn’t want to be seen as a ‘groupie’, drooling over someone just because they occasionally appeared on the little box in my lounge room and I’d roll my eyes at screaming teenage girls mobbing the music concerts, happy not to be so ‘superficial’ or ‘shallow’. Yes, I judged harshly, don’t judge me!

I wanted to be seen as mature, deep and unimpressed by fame, money or status. I was never into the latest fad or fashion (probably because I couldn’t afford to be) and was very modest and conservative (being shy and self conscious may have played a part but I’ll claim high moral ground for the purposes of this article). All in all I was not vain or materialistic and so thought I’d escaped the stereotypical western mindset of ‘more is better’ and the addiction to technology that seems to go hand in hand. I ‘thought’ I had remained unsuccomed (if that’s a word) to the pressure’s of society and refused to surrender my brain to the techno Gods known as Apple & Android, but an incident last week had me reassessing the situation.


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Easy like a Sunday morning

It all began one Sunday morning. With hubby and the two year old away in another state, I was down to 4 kids in the house. Two of those kids had secured themselves sleepovers the night before, in a town half an hour away, which was conveniently the same town we attended church in. So one of them (let’s call him the 15-year-old) had agreed to meet us at church at 10am and the other (let’s call her the 13-year-old) was to be picked up by me on the way to church. Now the 13-year-old had sent the address and phone number to my mobile (which I always took with me when I left the house) but it occurred to me halfway there, that I’d forgotten it on this rare occasion. It was still resting on the couch with my bottle of water where I’d put them both in order to pick up the baby, the nappy bag and my handbag before leaving the house.

Upon said realization, I thought momentarily about turning the car around and driving ten minutes back to get my phone, but I was concerned about being late. Besides, my other 15-year-old son was sitting right next to me, head buried in his phone which we could obviously use to contact the 13-year-old to retrieve pick up details right? Wrong! We drove into town and became suddenly aware that his last credit recharge was just that, credit and no data and he had not yet saved to his phone, his sister’s number, nor his brothers for that matter.

So off to the church car park we went, to wait for the 15-year-old (who had promised to meet us at church at 10am) and whom also had a phone with both credit and data. By this time we were 15 minutes late to pick up the 13-year-old and the humour of the situation was starting to wane. After sending the ‘no data’ 15-year-old into the building on a twin finding expedition which bore no results, we waited for another 5 minutes before frustration and panic started to make an appearance. It was then that the ‘no data’ 15-year-old realized he had his brothers last known location via Facebook’s ‘find a friend’, downloaded via the Wifi at home the night before. A ray of hope pierced through my diminishing faith in the communication capabilities of modern technology and we set off for the location.

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House Stalking

So began the stalking of the random house as we waited outside said location for a sign of the ‘unpunctual’ (not a word, I know) 15-year-old. The little map with my son’s short-legged avatar was not very detailed so it was very difficult to tell the exact house he was in, hence I was reluctant to go door-knocking and explaining the complicated situation to a dozen strange sleepy faces, probably judging me for ‘losing’ my two teenagers. So, we waited. We waited for 10 minutes with no luck, just curious looks from an elderly gentleman walking his dog past our car. The 9-month-old in the back was now starting to stir from his morning nap and the calm can-do attitude I’d forced myself to adopt was quickly sinking in a pool of anxiety. I had no idea if these houses had rear access points that exited onto back streets, alleyways or paths through parks, etc and if my ‘unpunctual’ 15-year-old had already slipped out the back and taken a shortcut to church.

It was at this point that I marveled at how reliant I was on my mobile phone. I’d barely even glanced at the address my daughter had sent me before allowing her to go with people I’d never even met. I simply planned to look at it when I got to town, input it into my GPS and let the lady tell me where to go. Easy! It never even occurred to me that I might forget my phone and have no other way of contacting her. I couldn’t believe how much chaos could ensue from one forgetful moment, from leaving one little piece of technology at home. What could I do now?

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Enlisting Help

“Ok” I said to the ‘no data’ 15-year-old “we need to find someone else with a phone and contact details”. We had friends at church with teenage sons who were friends with our kids on social media and so returned to the church in search of help. I waited in the car with the now grizzly 9-month-old while the ‘no data’ 15-year-old ran inside, returning a few minutes later with our friends 13-year-old in tow. Apparently he was connected with ‘our’ 13-year-old through SnapChat but he ‘low and behold’ also had no data and his 15-year-old brother who did have data was feeling unwell and was therefore at home in bed. The ‘unpunctual’ 15-year-old was still a no-show at this point.

Soooooo, we all drove down the street and around the corner to their home where the ‘helpful’ 13-year-old was finally able to use his parents wi-fi to contact our ‘unlocatable’ (I know, I know, not a word) 13-year-old and obtain an address. We dropped the ‘helpful’ 13-year-old back at church and discovered the ‘unpunctual’ 15-year-old had finally turned up (lateness being his only excuse for his lateness) and all piled into the car to finally set a course for the now ‘locatable’ (please tell me that’s a word) 13-year-old’s location.

That’s the bare bones of the story anyhow. There are many more little details that made up the comedy of errors that was our Sunday morning but no-one has time to read the ‘novel’ that would be. We ended up missing church all together because by the time we picked up the 13-year-old, the service was half over and we needed to be home soon for visitors anyway. Ironically enough, we had actually been running on time that morning for the first time in a long time.

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Technologically Dependent

I’ve been very careful since then, not to leave the house without making sure I have my mobile phone, but more importantly I’ve had to take stock of how much dependency I place on it. I’ve been inspired to think about all those times over the last few years when I’ve been unable to remember someone’s name, even people I have known for months or when I’ve missed an appointment that I booked the day before and blamed it on ‘placenta brain’ or ‘baby brain or ‘getting old’. I’ve reflected back to before mobile phones were so ‘smart’ and were used simply to make phone calls and take really bad photos.

In those days I never missed an appointment, even if I hadn’t written it down or signed up for an sms reminder. I could memorize phone numbers and directions, becoming familiar with new areas after driving through only a couple of times. Was it because I was younger then and between pregnancies or was it because I was exercising my brain and memory more often because I had to? Because there was nothing else to do the thinking for me?

I think it is the latter. Am I crazy to believe the advancement in technology is creating people who can’t think for themselves? Will we soon have a generation where the phones, computers, etc are smarter than we are? Sure, we have access to so much more information and knowledge now, but can we retain it without saving it to a digital hard drive? Can we problem solve, create & improvise without turning to Google, Pinterest & YouTube? Am I the first to come to this realization? I don’t think so, and will this realization force me to throw away my mobile phone, my laptop, my ipad? Probably not!

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Bittersweet

I admit, I love the convenience that mobile phones afford us and the way they make life easier. I remember only being able to do online banking on my laptop at home and wishing they would come up with a way to do it on the mobile so I could transfer money on the run, and hello ANZ GoMoney! I remember wishing they would combine mobiles with the GPS Navman because I couldn’t afford a Navman and I hated reading the street directory because I could never figure out where I was, due to really bad signage in my local town. I love having a calendar right there on my phone, even though I forget to look at it most of the time. I love having everything in the one spot and not spread across a thousand different platforms but I hate how chaotic life suddenly gets when that spot goes missing or gets misplaced or broken etc.

I hate how my life is wrapped up in something that’s not even real. Because everything is condensed into that one thing, I’m constantly holding it, like it’s an extension of who I am. I touch my phone more than I talk to my friends, more than I hug my kids, more than I spend time with my spouse, more than I sleep, think or pray. It’s a never ending bittersweet cycle of Love and Hate.

Balance

These realizations may not make me ditch the phone in favour of a more primal way of life but they do make me more aware of the time I spend on my phone, or the ways in which I use it. Instead of reaching for my phone now, I’m sometimes reaching for the paper and pen instead or practicing memorizing numbers, names and addresses. I don’t want to be senile before I’m 50 so I’m exercising and utilizing my brain while I still have it. I refuse to let technology be smarter than I am. I’m probably fighting a losing battle there, but the benefit is in the trying right?

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The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

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Christmas Atonement: A Flash Fiction Story

We’d like to thank Geraldine Nicole from Minnesota, USA for her Flash Fiction submission ‘Christmas Atonement’. A dramatic micro tale about a tragedy that inspires a generous new holiday tradition. Keep the stories coming guys, we are feeling blessed by your contributions!

Read the story below or click here to go to the story page! 😊

 

Christmas Atonement

If it wasn’t for the little porcelain statue of Mary and Joseph cradling their infant son, taking up a place in the middle of the mantle, one wouldn’t even know that it was Christmas day in our house.

The excited squeals and pounding of little feet on the wooden floorboards early Christmas morning were long since over and not for the same reasons as most households. Our two bright, happy little blessings, one with a crew cut and one in pigtails, had not grown up big and tall one day and left the nest in search of their own adventures, they had not met their soul mates and moved on to start their own families. No, our children, our reasons for living, had dragged our sleepy heads out of bed at an ungodly hour for the last time, 7 christmas’ ago.

We had no idea that morning, as we watched the tearing open of gifts contentedly from the couch, sipping our mugs of coffee, that by midnight that night, it would be just the two of us again. We were oblivious to the gale force of devastation heading our way. It was a perfect day, gifts were exchanged, gratitude expressed, food indulged in, family reacquainted, including our children with their 14 yr old cousin, who would later stay to babysit while we parents and grandparents attended a Christmas party at the bar 6 blocks away.

Nothing in this world could ever wipe away the incredible guilt we felt for leaving them all alone that night. What kind of parents were we to go out drinking on Christmas night, while our children were at home suffocating from the thick cloud of smoke that filled the house after they’d fallen asleep?

My husband, beat himself up for years because he wasn’t there to protect them and I, consumed by my guilt, could no longer call myself a Mother, for in my eyes a Mother (if she was paying attention) should always have a kind of intuition about disastrous events on the horizon and do everything she can to keep her babies safe.

It didn’t matter how many people tried to console us that it wasn’t our fault, how could we know the 12 year old tree lights we’d picked up at a yard sale would short out that night, turning our 7 foot Christmas tree into a towering inferno. How could we know that by the time the kids were woken from their sleep by the fire alarm downstairs, the entire ground floor of the house would be engulfed and their bedrooms upstairs full of deadly lung collapsing smoke. No, it didn’t matter how many people told us we weren’t to blame, we blamed ourselves every single day since.

Our Christmas’ were no longer full of excited laughter and family get togethers. We no longer stayed up late on Christmas eve drinking eggnog while putting together toy kitchens or bicycles with a hundred parts, reminiscing about Christmas eve’s gone by. Christmas had a whole new meaning for us now. The first few years were hard and dark and we spent the majority of Christmas day in mourning for what we’d lost but we soon tired of this painful tradition and recognised it’s unproductiveness in our lives.

We now have a new tradition. See we have two houses now. We rent a small apartment where the two of us live with our 2 dashhounds, Mary and Joseph residing on the mantle, and we have another large home that we purchased with our insurance money, were we provide shelter to families who’ve lost their homes to fires or flooding.

Every Christmas we decorate the stately home and put on a lavish feast for our residents. Although not a replacement for our lost children, it provides us with a welcome distraction and an atonement of sorts for our tormented souls.

Separation Anxiety: A Parent’s guide to surviving time away from the kids.

A 5-Step Formula for reducing the severity of separation anxiety.

Surely the majority of parents in the world have at some point had to deal with Separation Anxiety. The screaming and the crying, the clinging and the tugging, the desperate cries and the begging to ‘Please stay’ and thats just the parents! Imagine how much harder it is when you add in the separation anxiety of the children. But that’s a whole other blog article (most likely someone elses). I want to talk to you about Parental Separation Anxiety, an all too often overlooked issue.

Have you ever just been so desperate for ‘time away’, for a ‘break’ from your kids, for ‘me time’, only to be smacked down with separation anxiety? You long for just an hour or two to sit in a chair without jumping up to rescue a toddler who thinks he can fly, or to clean up the babies spew before he decides to eat it again. You hunger for a meal that you get to eat while it’s still warm or for some long overdue romantic time with the other half but even the thought of leaving your little ones for a short time, causes your heart rate to increase and your palms to start perspiring.

What is it that makes us crave space yet fear it at the same time? Love, lets just call it Love. We love our children too much. They drive us crazy but we can’t get enough of their adorable little personalities that remind us so much of ourselves and our partners. We need separation but at the same time we struggle to be away from them, worrying if they are okay without us, if they are lonely, scared or anxious or if the person/s looking after them are as capable as we are. It’s an all too common dilemma facing many parents and it only increases, the more kids you have.

So how can this problem be overcome? How can we gain the rest and space from our kids that we need without creating more anxiety within us which can lead to long-term issues such as the ‘overbearing parent syndrome’ and the condition known as the ’embarrassing grandparent’? After having 5 children, three of which are now teenagers, I have learnt a few things about how to reduce the stress of separation anxiety when spending time away from my precious offspring. Here are 5 helpful steps you can take to lessen the strain on yourself and your children.

  1. Don’t go out for too long. If the idea of spending long periods of time away from your children is enough to send you sprinting into a corner and taking up the fetal position then start with short breaks. 10 minutes here and there, stretching it out to 20 minutes after a few weeks and working your way up to a couple of hours. This should only take you 6 months or so and make the transition that much easier.
  2. Spend half an hour saying goodbye. Nothing says “I love you” more than a long goodbye. Your child will be well and truly confident in your devotion to them if you spend a large amount of time fussing over them and making sure they know you really don’t want to leave them but have to for your sanity’s sake. They will be all the more excited about your return also.
  3. Call incessantly. Everyone has a phone these days, use it! Call or text at least every 10-20 minutes to check in and make sure everyone is still alive, babysitters and grandparents love this and your mind will be put at ease.
  4. Don’t have too many children. One surefire way to reduce the amount of separation anxiety you suffer is to have less children. Stop after 2 or 3, the risk of separation anxiety increases with the amount of offspring, so less is best.
  5. Never let your children leave the house without you. Separation anxiety can strike at anytime, not just when you leave them but when they leave you. Whether they are simply hanging with friends after school or starting their first job, just say no! The more independence they have, the more time they will want to spend outside of your company. This will only lead to greater anxiety and what’s known as the ’empty nest syndrome’. Avoid this at all costs, even if you have to home school them and restrict their access to driving lessons, bicycles and public transport.

You may never eradicate separation anxiety from your home completely but it’s quite easy to reduce it if you know how. This 5 step formula will have you relaxing and enjoying limited amounts of time away from your kids without putting undue stress on you or your children. For more helpful tips and entertaining articles, follow our blog at http://www.mumlifestories.com or send us a story of your own to mumlifestories@gmail.com

~ Jo Stewart