To see the doctor about this?(64 Posts)
I'm tired. I mean really, really tired. I work hard, and am busy, and have been tired pretty much since I had the children to some degree or another, but in the last few weeks it's got far worse and I've started embarrassingly falling asleep all the time. On the train to work, on the train back from work, during my lunchbreak at work, really any time I stop for a moment, I seem to drop off. It's sleeping through exhaustion, not narcolepsy or similar, I'm just bone tired.
I'm mid 40s and bar a bit of mild asthma, no known health issues.
My life is stupidly busy. I commute into London to work, which is about 1.5 hours each way, as does DH. I get up around 6.15 to leave the house for 7.15. Can't leave any later - DH actually works slightly further across London and has to leave before 7. Children are (younger end) Secondary age, and walk to school, leaving at 7.30, so DH and I between us need to make sure they're up, breakfasted and ready before we leave. Generally all goes OK, kids pretty much self manage, but it's a fairly hectic hour before I even leave the house.
I like my job, it's OK, busy but manageable. My job is not the problem.
I get home about 7pm, from then til the children go to bed at 9ish, its dinner then engaging with the children, homework, music practice, generally chatting and spending the precious small amount of time I have with them.
After they've gone to bed, DH and I clear up from dinner, do any bits of admin, maybe chuck in a load of washing, sort out any school bits that need dealing with, have showers etc. We head up to bed around 10.30ish, having not stopped, and we do tend to chat, cuddle, whatever in bed, meaning that we're probably not actually asleep til close to 11.30.
Weekends - both kids have sports fixtures most Saturdays, so DH and I are both up usually by 7.00 ish to ferry them around to their various matches. Then we have to do the supermarket shop, the housework, change the bedding, washing the uniforms and sports kit etc. Weekends are more relaxed than the week, but we're still busy fitting everything in We try to socialise most Saturday nights - nothing manic, but out to dinner with friends or hosting a dinner, or maybe a cinema trip or bowling, or popping out for drinks. Sundays we get a lay in til around 9.00, and then visit (local) elderly parents on both sides, plus the whole back to school/work routine - ironing, homework, shoe cleaning, plus trying to organise for the week ahead - batch cooking/meal planning etc. It feels a bit like we never really stop.
So I'm tired, and keep falling asleep. Is this a medical thing? Or a lifestyle thing? For sure I don't get enough sleep, but neither does DH, and he seems to cope much better than me (and he definitely does pull his weight and does (possibly more than) his fair share at home).
If it's a lifestyle thing, then I'm pretty snookered, as I can't see how we can cut back on what we do. We keep on top of day to day stuff just about, but we have piles of decorating/gardening etc that we just never get round to doing. We can't afford to buy in help, or to work any less hours.
So should I go see a doctor, or is this just how it is for families with two full time (commuting) workers and family commitments nowadays.
Errr..... its a lifestyle thing. Why don't you try changing a few things for a couple of weeks....and see if it helps. That will soon give you the answer.
Spend 5 mins on a Sun night planning your week.
Batch cook at weekends
Online shopping (massive time saver for me)
Have a rest from entertaining
Cut out alcohol
Take a multivitamin everyday
No phones/screens in bed
Divide and conquer in the evenings (washing homework cooking etc)
Go to bed at half nine to ensure asleep by half ten.
If all that still doesn't work consider GP
Sadly I don't think the Dr can write a prescription for more hours in the day.
Is there anything you could do so you do less? Cleaner? Reduce your hours? Work from home one day a week?
I do most of those things tbh.
If I went to bed at 9.30, I wouldn't be able to clear up after dinner, have a shower, do any clothes washing, answer any school (or other) emails etc.
If I stop socialising, my life would be almost entirely joyless! Do we really have to forgo any social life for the foreseeable future? I know this is one thing we could cut out, but I feel it's important to have some "fun" time rather than all work and chores.
The other stuff on your list, we already do.
I can't really see anything that we do extra, that most families in our situation wouldn't have to do? In fact, housework wise, we're probably quite remiss compared to some (hoover 1x a week, bedding changed sometimes not for 2 weeks, not everything cooked from scratch etc).
Just to re-iterate, we definitely can't afford to work less hours, or buy in any help (cleaners/gardeners etc).
I'm sorry to say but your life doesn't seem too much different to the average working family. I'd love to sleep 11.30 till 6.15 every night but unfortunately my young children have other ideas. I would look at your diet, lots of fruit and veg. Less alcohol. Get the kids to do some chores to help out. Take it in turns to have lie ins on the weekend (one on Saturday and one on Sunday)
How much are the kids doing around the house? They can do their sheets and polish their own shoes and help with the housework. Get non iron school shirts, I don't iron anything for the kids (or myself)
Can you share the Saturday morning lifts with any local families so you can go back to bed some weeks?
Most likely it's a lifestyle thing. You're essentially working 112 hours a week. I can't tell you what needs to give, but something does.
Sounds like your DC could do with doing a bit more - get their homework done before you get back, help clear up after dinner, put a load of washing on/out, do some bed changing and cleaning at the weekend.
Stop running round so much at the weekend! Organise car shares with other parents for the matches, or see if dc can take themselves. Then they can wash their own sports kit and shine their own shoes!
Similarly, you don't need to be seeing your parents every Sunday - make at least 2 weekends a month that you don't have to do anything fixed.
DH and I both work FT, and your schedule makes me feel exhausted - you seem to have a lot of pressure to be out doing things, and having to be out every Saturday night takes out a lot of time
I'm going to go against the grain here and say that it probably IS worth seeing the GP. You've obviously been keeping up a fairly frantic lifestyle for a while (and I agree with other posters who suggest modifying this if you can) but a sudden change probably does warrant at least a simple set of blood tests to check that you aren't anaemic for instance. If you've managed to cope for a long time and then you suddenly feel different, then it suggests that something has changed. It's also entirely possible that you are just truly exhausted and this is the wake-up call (groan) that you need as a family?
lightcola I agree, I don't think our lifestyle is much different to an average (busy) family. But I don't see everyone else falling asleep multiple times a day, or looking as tired as I feel. Maybe they are, but I just don't see it. And I paid my dues with broken nights when the children were younger - but I was far, far less tired then than I feel now - which is why I'm wondering if there's something actually wrong.
LadyLoveYourWhat Kids do what they can. Remember, they also have long days, and have the homework, sports commitments, musical instruments etc to do. They are only 11 and 12. I actually have no complaints at all about what they, or indeed my DH does, everyone does pitch in, we're generally a pretty co-operative family. School uniform (including shirts/blouses) is from one outfitter, so no "non-iron" options, sadly.
You're children need to help out more, at their age they are more than capable of starting homework alone, washing up after dinner, helping prep some of the dinner before you get home, doing a load of washing etc.
You and your husband should alternat the Saturday sports so one of you gets a lie in and some lame time. If you have a long commute do things like meal plans and admin on the train.
If you can afford it get a cleaner and definitely do online shopping (again on the train). Can elderly parents visit you for Sunday lunch or brunch? You're making like harder than it needs to be.
Honestly if your children helped out on week day evenings you could potentially get an hour extra
I agree with Couchpotato. I think you should get yourself checked out just to be on the safe side. You should never be too busy that you neglect your health.
Oh and seeing parents at the weekend is non negotiable. Parents are elderly and ill. I want to make the most of them while they are still here, which is sadly likely to be for quite a short time.
I guess I need to have a think about ways to try to make life a bit easier. Cutting down on the social life is the obvious, or spending less time engaging with the children, I guess. But those are the things that are important to me, and that I don't want to cut back on.
Maybe I'm just getting old, and finding it hard to cope so well. Or even possibly hitting the beginning of the menopause? I'm 44.
I'd see the GP. Could be menopausal symptoms?
If you'd previously managed this amount of "busy-ness" and the falling asleep stuff is new, there cant be any harm getting checked out for things like anaemia...
Any other symptoms (heavy periods, early menopause signs, under active thyroid etc)
If not, then more likely lifestyle/stress/burn out? Maybe look at small changes you could make to make life a bit easier.
Sorry, just noticed I said exactly same as couch potato3 but less articulately
Kids definitely can't do more. They have a full day at school followed by extra curriculars (music, sports practice/orchestra/drama club etc) until 6pm, then walk home or are collected by us (depending on day/activity) and are never home until 6.30- 7pm (having left at 7.30 am), and still have to eat dinner, do homework (lots, selective school with high expectations), do music practice, bath/shower, be kids, and be in bed by 9sih). They generally help out, keep rooms tidy, put washing away etc, but really can't be expected to find the time to run a household. I expect them to pitch in when asked and act reasonably and responsibly, but not cook dinner/ do the washing on a regular basis.
OP, you and PPs are right in that this is a fairly average lifestyle for a busy family and that it's natural to feel tired, but it's NOT normal to be falling asleep in the middle of the day. Given this is a new thing, you absolutely should see your GP.
A sudden change is worth investigating but it probably is just a lifestyle thing that's built up over time. You need to cut back on some parts of what you're doing, and only you can decide what that is. I'd suggest reducing the socialising would have the least impact. You need to accept that you can't do everything, there just aren't enough hours in the day.
I would say book a GP appt, for this its going to be a 2 to 3 week if not longer wait
In the mean time STOP saying "it won't work" and give things a go - if you always do what you always did you will always get what you always got.
I think the parent visiting could be dropped one weekend, a sat night in wouldn't hurt, looking at diet and maybe reducing drinking or sugar could also help, getting kids to do more takes time but will be worth it, online shop - even if basics and you top up just takes some of the mental strain. Reduce ironing, tumble and hang or dry on hangers for kids shirts, skirts and trousers. Consider short term help or occasional catch up help e.g. once a month ironing goes out or cleaner comes in. Check out some vitamins that could help - vit d, vit b12, vit c & zinc etc..
It could well be something else - menopause, diabetes just getting older, vit d defficiency etc but there is certainly plenty you can do to help yourself - start small and build it up then its not such a big change in life.
Some exercise for yourself could help as it builds immune system, gives you more energy, blows the cobwebs away.
Yes you should see the doctor. Do you have any other symptoms? Could be iron or vitamin deficiency, could be thyroid, could be something like ME and genuinely people don't grasp how debilitating that is until they have it. I'm assuming your activity levels haven't suddenly gone up or your sleep gone down so it seems something has changed somewhere.
I don't think it's a lifestyle thing. Being busy per se should not make you tired. I used to do as much as you (2 hr commute, demanding job, 2 feral children and a useless husband) but I felt fine. Full of beans in fact.
However, before this, as a SHAM with only one child, I felt awful. Tired all the time. I had to have a nap during the day I felt so tried.
Are you happy? Are you eating well? Do you take vitamins? Can you fit in a yoga session or some running? These would be my suggestions.
Do you have to work in London? Have you looked at whether you could work more locally and whether you would actually be worse off by the time you factor in travel savings, etc?
Kids can help more you would be suprised. Doing the table before and after, making sure clothes in right place and presorted, put own clothes away, get their own stuff ready for school etc. It does sound like they are doing an awful lot after school, can this be reviewed.
Also does it really take them over an hr to walk to school?? Or are you like us reliant on a bus service that takes an hr on a journey that in the car is 9 mins!
I think one of your key things is going to be simplify, would it help to work as a team and have a family conflab?? They may have suggestions. You will wear yourself to a nub if not
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