When does Parenting get less Exhausting?

Before having kids we knew being a mom was tiring.  It’s not like it was some kind of secret that you only discovered once you became new parents and you had a child.  However, many of us didn’t quite understand just HOW tiring motherhood would be, and we started asking ourselves, “when does parenting get less exhausting?” 

mom burnout

To the mom who is exhausted and is asking, “when does parenting get easier?” Today’s post is for you.  I’ve been there, but the good news is, there are brighter days, easier times, and so much joy mixed in parenting too.  

Parenting is a full-time job, there’s no question about it.  It doesn’t matter what stage you are in, whether it’s the baby years or the teen years, there are various challenges for different ages and stages. 

And bottom line, while there are times and seasons where parenting is less tiring than others, I’m convinced that while our children are in the house, if we are taking an active role in our child’s life, there will always be times of parenting exhaustion.

New mothers and seasoned mothers all have times they are experiencing mental and physical exhaustion.  There’s no magical age in your child’s life where all your days are full of energy.  

I know that doesn’t sound very hopeful, but I want to tell you that you can find joy in motherhood in the middle of exhaustion.  The parenting journey does get better.

A little background for you.  I’m at the teen and pre-teen stage.  I have a 15 year old, a 13 year old, and a 10 year old.  I remember those early years where I never thought I’d survive.  

I didn’t have much of a support system when my kids were babies and toddlers, and many days I felt like I was drowning.  There were endless diapers, and a lot of crying ( from both me AND the babies), sleepless nights with sick toddlers, and constant chasing of little ones when we were out.  

There were times of sleep regression, and baby blues, and potty training difficulties. I was in a perpetual state of tiredness and dealing with emotional stress.  

It felt like the most difficult stage of parenting in not only the first year and early days, but also the toddler years, the young children stage,  and even when I had older kids at times.  For many years all I wanted was a deep sleep for once.

But here’s the thing.  I bought into the lie that once my kids were a little older I’d be less tired.  After all, they are more independent, right?  They don’t need me for every little thing, and we are definitely past the tantrum stage, so I’m going to feel well-rested, right?

Lies, I tell you.  And I believed them all.

(I promise, I’m going to offer some hope in this post, so please hang in there and keep reading!)

When does parenting get less exhausting?

While it’s true the older our kids get the more capable they become, I’m not convinced they need us less.  Actually, I’d say they might even need us more.  It’s just a different kind of need.  I still don’t get as many hours of sleep as I should because I’m no longer in the baby stage.

No longer am I handing out fishy crackers all day, and consoling crying kids who are mad that their toy didn’t work the way they wanted, but instead I’m having late night talks with my teenagers to work out things they are going through, driving them to countless activities, and opening my door to a steady stream of neighborhood kids. 

I’m baking and cooking to keep up with the bottomless pits in my house, and trying to squeeze in all the memories I want to make with them before they head off to college in just a handful of years.  

Oh, and I’m up at night thinking about all the things I haven’t taught them yet before they do move on in their own lives, because I’m far from a perfect parent (if there ever was such thing to exist anyways).  Speaking of which, at this stage you start to realize how little time you have left with them and so there’s this constant pressure to not waste this time.

No longer do I wake up at 2 in the morning because a baby is crying, but now I may not have fallen asleep until 2 a.m. because I’m worried about my child for a variety of reasons.

Motherhood doesn’t necessarily get less tiring.  However, I think it does get more manageable.  There’s longer stretches without tears and meltdowns (though, they still happen from time to time, they just look a little different now. )We come to a point where we discover we can find joy in the middle of the exhaustion.

Different Stages of Parenting 

Pregnancy stage of parenting


Exhaustion doesn’t always begin once the baby is here.  At different stages of pregnancy, even before we are holding that baby in our arms, we will find that we are more tired than normal.  We are, afterall, growing a human.

What’s nice about this stage, if it’s your first baby, is that you will find more opportunities to nap when you need to.


The baby is fresh and cute and completely reliant on you for everything.  They wake up in the middle of the night, multiple times at first, to feed.  This stage is tiring because you need to be available pretty much all the time.  The good news is, things like night time feedings don’t last too long.


Finally those night time feedings are gone, but the baby is still so small and requires a lot of attention.  You are probably still feeding quite a bit in the day, and tending to diaper changes, and holding and rocking your little one while they are crying.  Of course, even though you are tired, the baby is SO sweet that you can’t help but smile I’m sure.


This stage is tiring because suddenly that little one can walk and get into EVERYTHING.  You will be on your toes keeping up with them.  Going out will be tiring because have you ever watched a toddler who has total freedom of space?  The good news? You’ll get your exercise, for sure!  Also, toddlers say the funniest things when they start talking.  It’s so cute.

Preschool age:

No longer a toddler, but still requiring a lot of help to do things like tie their shoes, help them ride a bike, and cut their food, this is the stage you’ll hear the word “mom” repeatedly.  

School age stage of parenting


Congratulations, your child is starting to become independent.  However, you may be driving them to all the extra-curricular activities such as soccer and piano lessons.  You might be making 100 cupcakes for a school event. 

Oh, and they need help with their math homework which, by the way, why can’t you remember how to do grade 5 math anymore?  Good thing there’s google!  This is the stage your brain starts to get tired in my opinion.


This stage is a whole new kind of tiring.  On top of all the school-age things that make parenting tiring, now we’ve got hormones in there too.  Your child might feel sad or upset and not sure why.  So, this is where some late night talks will probably begin.

teenage stage of parenting


Teenagers have a lot of independence.  But the exhausting part will be trying to balance between letting go and keeping them safe.  And, there’s plenty of late night talks, or talking about what’s out there in the world to help them making decisions they will soon be making on their own. 

If they come are out with friends late at night you can bet you aren’t falling asleep until you know they are safe in their bed.


This is when they “fly the coop” so to speak.  I’m not at this stage yet, but I imagine it’s tiring in it’s own way, even when they aren’t at home.  It’ll be the time I worry about them, and maybe drive to who knows where at any given time if they need me.  I do think I may get more sleep finally at this stage, but that’s yet to be determined!


There are days where you will anxiously be awaiting bed time because your body is tired from lack of sleep while taking care of your baby, and the to-do list is insanely long and you just feel so overwhelmed by motherhood. First-time parents might also feel the weight of unrealistic expectations they may put on themselves.

There are little things you can do when you feel like that.

Have a slow morning

If you are a homeschooling family like ours is, take the morning slow.  Start a half hour later than usual on school work.  Make your coffee, sit on the couch, and rest another half hour before your day turns into a whirlwind.  This is one of the easiest ways to savor my morning and be thankful for what I have.

Have morning or afternoon tea time with the kids

Kids actually really enjoy when you have a time of drinking tea/hot chocolate/juice and eating a snack together.  Light a candle, put on some soft music, and set the tone.  

A peaceful atmosphere does wonders for an exhausted mom. School-age kids and toddlers alike love afternoon tea time.  Sometimes if you are dealing with a difficult child it can reset the whole day for them and you may just see a decrease in temper tantrums in little ones.

Read books and cuddle

If your kids are young consider spending some quality time reading to them while they cuddle in your lap.  It’s hard not to feel joyful when you get to hold your little one.  

Children have a constant need for attention, and sometimes we struggle to make space for some quality time for them.  But usually a book only takes 15 or so minutes to read.

You will be able to get back to your long list of to-dos in no time, yet your child will feel important that you were able to stop and take some time reading with them.

Lower your expectations

Sometimes we have super high expectations on ourselves as mothers.  We want to give our kids healthy foods, sign them up for all the extra-curriculars, and never allow any screen time – because that’s what all the experts tell us to do. 

But we are only one person and sometimes you can’t do all the things.  Your kids are going to be alright if you feed them some boxed macaroni and cheese.  They aren’t going to grow up to be delinquents if you can’t put them in all the sports and music lessons.  

Give yourself some grace, and don’t try to do all the things.  Kids need love and stability.  If you can offer them that you are offering them exactly what they need.

Ignore the housework, at least for a short while

Housework never ends, am I right?  And when our kids are young it seems like as soon as we get the house cleaned the preschooler is dumping the toys and the baby is spitting up on her new outfit you just put on her.  

It’s hard work, no doubt about it.  If you have a day job on top of the housework, you can feel like you are drowning in laundry and dishes.

If you are feeling utterly exhausted, ignore the toys all over the floor, and do something you enjoy with your kids.  Get down on the ground and play with them, of if that’s not what brings you joy, take them outside to enjoy nature.  

I find it hard to be sad when I’m outside enjoying the trees and fresh air.  Also, if you need help with the housework, there’s no shame in it.  I know people who invest in a weekly house cleaning service. 

Single parents especially can benefit from some hired help since they are doing ALL OF THE THINGS.  That will allow you to enjoy some extra leisure time with your children.


If you are not enjoying being a parent, and feeling like parenthood is miserable, I encourage you to take a step back, and take a deep breath.  

Sometimes parenting can be miserable because we are looking at what we are missing out on.  We love our kids, but it was easier when we could do what we wanted, when we wanted.  

But, you know, we only have our children in our homes for an average of 18 years, give or take.  My oldest child and my youngest are 5 years apart.  That means, I have probably 23 years or so that my children will live in my home.  

While that feels like a lot when you are starting out, I can tell you, when you are 15 years in like I am, you realize you are 2/3rds of the way done.  And there is a sadness that comes with seeing how close you are to that time.

What if, instead of focusing on what we were missing out on (like, for instance, a peaceful sleep and days where we can rest whenever we feel like it) we embraced motherhood?  What if we put all our energy into being mothers and wives?  

I know, I know – the world tells us that’s archaic, old-fashioned, and diminishes our role as women, but I don’t believe that.  

Imagine in ten, fifteen, or twenty years from now you’ve raised your children, and they are adults, doing their own thing – and they are great people too!  Productive, loving, and kind, full of faith, positive in nature, and more, and they say to you, “I couldn’t have gotten here without you, Mom.  I appreciate all those times you were there for me.”  

Wouldn’t that make the exhaustion worth it?  Wouldn’t you look back at those days you were just so tired and be so thankful you pressed on?

That’s what matters in the end.  Being faithful in our role as mothers is something I believe we won’t regret.  But – before I end this blog, I do want to recognize that sometimes we are just beyond exhausted, and we really need to do a few things to take care of ourselves.  

We can’t be pouring from an empty cup and while sometimes we can push on through tiredness, other times we need to actively improve the exhaustion we are struggling with. Moms need a support network.  

Ask for help from those you love, like close friends and family. We need emotional support to get through the negative feelings that are sometimes associated with the hard parts of parenting.


Go to bed Early

I don’t know about you, but I have a habit of self-sabotaging my bedtime.  I get it – we’ve had no time to ourselves ALL DAY and now that the kids are in bed we just want to have some time to ourselves.  That’s okay.  Take 30 minutes to yourself.  

But when 30 minutes turns into 3 hours and it’s way too late, we’re doing more damage than good.  Put a timer on to help you with this.  Especially if you have a new baby because you are going to need your rest during that newborn stage.

Leave your phone out of your bedroom

This is a new thing I’ve been doing.  Keep your phone out of your bedroom to resist the urge to scroll or look at it in the middle of the night if you wake up.  It’ll help you get more sleep.

Have someone watch your kids so you can take a nap

If you are utterly exhausted, you may really just need a nap.  Sleep deprivation will make you miserable so you’ll want to figure out a way to overcome this. You have a couple options with this one.  

If your kids are young enough to nap, you can nap while they are napping.  However, if they aren’t still napping, consider having someone watch your kids for an hour or two so you can get in a much needed nap.  

Finding a kid in the teenage years who would appreciate some extra spending money can be the perfect babysitter setup.

Improve your diet

While eating healthy won’t completely take exhaustion away, it can greatly improve it and can also help your mental health.  

I am always way more tired when I eat a lot of sugar or junk.  Clean up your diet so you can feel your best.  This isn’t meant to be stressful though.  

You don’t need to do some specialized diet plan.  Just increase your intake of veggies and fruit, drink lots of water, and cut back on sugar, caffeine, and greasy foods.

Get moving

The last thing we want to do when we are tired is to, well…move.  But sometimes that’s just what our bodies need for more energy.  If you are super insanely tired, consider going for a walk.  It’s a great way to spend some time with your kids and you can tire them out at the same time so they will be good and ready for bedtime!

Slow down the Hustle

The world continues to tell us moms to “hustle, hustle, hustle.”  They tell us that we should be able to build our 6 figure business on the side, or climb the corporate ladder, all while juggling motherhood and keeping up the duties at home.  

Between diaper changes, holding a newborn baby,  and dealing with the different stages of parenting like the preteen years, it’s just too much and we will experience parental burnout. We can’t do everything – or at least we can’t do everything at the same time well.  

Tune out what social media and the world is saying, and give yourself some rest, especially if you feel like there is never enough time to get everything done.  

There will be time one day where we can give more energy to other things, but for now, it’s okay to leave some things on the backburner while we embrace motherhood.  It’s okay to say no to things. 

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