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13 Struggles Every Mother Just Keeps to Herself

13 Struggles Every Mother Just Keeps to Herself

An overwhelming majority of people out there have had a privilege to grow up with a loving mother, myself included, and we tend to quickly get used to seeing our mom perform her role admirably. The things a mom does shape our world as we are growing up, yet we just sort of assume that that’s how things are supposed to be, and never give it much thought. It’s easy to miss all the hard work that goes into raising a family when you are focused on other things like running around with other kids, going to school and playing video games.

Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that a lot of moms don’t really make a big deal out of it, but they definitely have plenty of struggles that they keep to themselves. Here are some of the things I learned from my mom, as well as my wife, once I had already grown up and started a family of my own.

1. She had to walk the tight line between parent and friend

A mother wants nothing more than to see the warm smiles on her children’s faces, have fun with them and talk about all kinds of things. They can be your best friend in the whole wide world at times, but they also know that as you grow up you will only trust your close friends with certain things and go to them to vent about problems.

A moms job is, first and foremost, to make sure you develop into a good human being, with a decent value system, healthy habits and a skill base that will help you succeed in life – this sometimes requires her to pull rank on you, focusing on disciplining and teaching rather than taking your side and encouraging bad behavior.

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2. She shed thousands of tears for you in joy, sadness and anger

Since the day she found out she was pregnant your mom was on an emotional rollercoaster ride. She was in tears, all confused and excited at first, she went through mood swings and cried because she couldn’t find her phone when she was pregnant, she went through hell to bring you into this world and she spent many sleepless nights when you were sick or injured. They may occasionally bring up some of these points, but you don’t know half of it, and it’s only when you become a mother or see what your partner has to go through, that you begin to truly appreciate her sacrifices.

3. She went from a regular woman to superheroine protector once you were born

You see, most moms start out like any average woman, minding their own business and generally not looking at the world with the eyes of an ex CIA agent. However, once their first child is born, they go into full superheroine mode. Moms will scan the perimeter for any sign of danger, from suspicious strangers to bumps in the road someone might trip on, check to see if all the doors and windows are locked, and make sure that both their and the other kids on the playground aren’t misbehaving. It’s not really something they train for or learn in books or see in videos, the mental shift just kind of happens naturally.

4. She knows that you’ll hear most of her advice as nagging, and she’s OK with that

It is important to impart some serious life lessons to your children. All the knowledge and wisdom you have picked up through experience, along with advice based on the kind of common sense that kids have yet to develop, is not always welcomed with open arms. Kids will moan, fuss and generally make the whole process difficult, but mothers soldier on and keep up their “nagging” until the lesson has been fully understood and we develop good habits. They have no problem playing the bad guy, as long as it helps us reach our full potential and grow up to be decent people.

5. She watched the same cartoons over and over again until she learned the lines by heart

One of the greatest joys as a child is discovering a cartoon that is virtually perfect in every way as far as you are concerned. These days it’s easy for kids to get hooked on all kinds of videos, cartoons, TV or YouTube shows and songs, which they will proceed to watch or listen to all day long. It can get incredibly frustrating for a grown woman to listen to the same thing all day long, but moms bare this burden gracefully, and even sing along cheerfully with their little ones.

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6. She had to make tough calls behind the scenes to ensure that you were safe and comfortable

Remember how you got that cool new toy, or had some sweets and got a new jacket, even though times were tough? Chances are your mom had to do some juggling in order to balance out the home budget, which often meant cutting any corner she could winter, spring, summer or fall, so that there was always enough money left to keep you well-fed and well-dressed. Moms are always on the lookout for good deals and innovative cost-cutting tactics, and they will never let you see the hard work that goes into keeping everyone as comfortable as possible.

7. She struggled to understand all the things that “kids are up to these days”

Being your go-to confidant is a task your mom gladly accepts, but it also means that she has to work hard if she wants to keep up with the younger generations. When she talks to you she needs some sort of context and at least a rudimentary understanding of youth culture if she wants to relate, and it can be confusing and tiring for her at times. Being the cool and understanding mom requires patience and quite a bit of research on the side.

8. She tried hard to keep you away from old family secrets and feuds

If you have had a relatively fun and relaxed childhood, all things considered, then you probably owe your mom a huge gift. All families will have some traction, all kinds of small feuds and issues, and perhaps a few skeletons in the closet. It’s up to moms to act as a buffer between their children and the turbulent relations within the family, always keeping their chin up and a smile on their face.

9. She often turned a blind eye when you messed up or did something wrong

While most of us like to think that we were pretty good as children, the truth is that kids can be quite the handful at times. It takes a lot of time to develop a strong sense of right and wrong, and learn how to behave, and our moms tend to be incredibly patient throughout our different developmental stages. We would break things and lie about it, even though it was obvious we did it, or we’d make the very mistakes our mother told us how to avoid; yet mom would sometimes skip the stern talk and let one slide if she felt that we felt very bad about it.

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10. She did her best to provide support and keep you motivated

There are many different ways your mom tries to lift your spirits. For me it used to be the fun colorful lunch boxes, with little notes inside that made me smile and push through a tough day at school. Nowadays, my wife looks for wise and uplifting quotes and puts motivational stickers on our daughter’s backpack and on the covers of notebooks. It’s little things like this, as well as all the pep talks and pats on the shoulder that keep you motivated. Although moms may seem overbearing at times, they are actually constantly gauging our mood, always ready to give us the support that we need.

11. She worked hard to keep you clean and presentable

Most kids just grab a t-shirt and a pair of pants, pout on their shoes and run off to play. Every day there is a fresh, well-ironed outfit ready for you – it always smells nice and looks good on you. Until you grow up you never stop to wonder just how it is that no matter how much you satin and mess up your clothes, they keep coming back fresh and neat. Moms will drag you along to shop for clothes, wash and iron them all the time, straighten your collar and tuck your shirt in, and they even have to remind you to bring a jacket along.

12. She’d set aside her problems and obligations to hear about your trivial issues

Moms have to work hard, be they working or stay at home moms, to provide for their family and take good care of their kids. And at the end of the day, even though they might have been frustrated out of their mind at work, got tired from doing all the chores or discussed some serious issues with their partner, they still take the time to listen to your problems. As naïve and trivial your issues might be when compared to the real-world problems a mom faces, a mom will give her full attention and try to help you work things out.

13. She patiently weathered your tantrums and tried to make you see the right path

A lot of good sound advice is met with resistance, and before most serious problems can be addressed there has to be a time of adjustment where it’s not uncommon for a child to go through a few tantrums. Moms know when to lay down the law, and when to sit back and allow you to let out your frustrations and expel all the pent up energy that was building up for quite some time. It’s good to have a good cry every now and then, and your mother knows it, so she’ll weather a few emotional storms, give you a shoulder to cry on and push you in the right direction once you have calmed down.

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A mother struggles to ensure that her children can have a good life. Apart from making sure that they are safe, and have enough to eat and wear, a mother will face a thousand and one little challenge while trying to raise her kids right. It is important to acknowledge the effort and sacrifices of our mothers, and just once in a while, cut them some slack and do something nice for them.

Featured photo credit: Theresa Martell via flickr.com

More by this author

Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

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Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

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I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

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Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

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Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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