If You’re Exhausted and Cranky, Do This

Hey, mom friend. Are you tired? Spent? Scratching your stinging eyeballs while you chase little ones, run the school kids from activity to activity, or stay up late waiting for your teens to get home?

Motherhood can prove exhausting at any stage. And exhaustion leads to crankiness.

I know it. I’m right there with you.

What’s a crabby zombie mom to do?

From experience, I’d like to offer you my three best coping mechanisms for motherhood-induced exhaustion. And no, “nap when the baby naps” is not one of them. It never worked for me—so I’ll give you something better.

1. Pray for supernatural energy. God knows what you’re expected to manage in a day. He sees your fatigue. Yet remember, nothing is impossible with God. When my babies were little and sleep became a luxury and I had no choice but to plow through the hours without physical refueling, I prayed for a spiritual refueling instead.

“Lord,” I asked, “please give me a supernatural degree of energy to get through this day.” And I tell you the truth—He did. Every time. Looking back I still don’t know how I managed to muddle through some afternoons without collapsing, but God shored me up, and I reached the end of each exhausting day with just enough energy to spare. All praise and glory to God.

2. Accept God’s grace. I’d like to say “give yourself grace,” but really you need to accept it from God first. Realize He is not condemning you for being tired and cranky. He knows exactly where you are right now and what you’re going through. He is your Father, not your prison warden. God wants you to draw near to Him and find rest in His love—no matter what’s going on in your daily and hourly circumstances.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

3. Take care of yourself. Yes—you. Good moms take care of their children. Great moms take care of themselves, too. Because when we get worn out, we have only leftovers to share. When we take the time to recharge, though, we can better serve our families.

How? I know it seems out of the question during certain busy seasons. Here are three suggestions that worked for me.

  • Talk with your husband about your needs. Come to an agreement about ways you can help each other get the refueling you need. Remember you’re a team, and teammates work together so everybody wins. If you’re a single mom, find time for yourself if at all possible by trading babysitting with a friend.

  • Make your health a priority. You may not have time to go to a gym, but you can make a moment by moment choice—to grab yourself an apple instead of eating the kids’ leftover pudding cups, for example. {Unless you really love pudding cups, in which case, go for it.} Do you feed your kids vitamins? You deserve vitamins, too. Do you take them to the doctor when they’re sick? Then take yourself there, too. Your physical and mental health is vital to keeping the family running strong.

  • Find what fuels you. We all need an outlet. For me it was writing. The day I discovered blogging, my soul blossomed in new and beautiful ways. Maybe for you it’s scrapbooking, reading, running, photography, whatever. Discover what makes you come alive, and schedule time to do it.

The best part about these habits is they won’t just help us survive an exhausting phase; they can actually prevent the next one from happening. Because a mom who’s in tune to her need for rest—also known as her need for Jesus—will discover the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:29)