Energizer Mommy: How to Keep Going, and Going...

Juggling family, work and all kinds of obligations, many moms might feel like an electric toothbrush that needs its batteries recharged. How can we re-energize when we need to the most? We all know that exercise offers a big boost, but for many on-the-go moms, it's easier said than done. Beyond that, until science brings us the "Mom-Volt," boosting energy is still all about the basics:

  • Fuel up right. Carbohydrates are a key source of energy, if they're the right kind, says American Dietetic Association spokesperson Suzanne Farrell, M.S., R.D. For "high-octane" energy, you need six daily servings of whole grains, fruits and veggies. You also need protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and six to eight cups of water.
  • How do you get it? First, sit down for three square meals a day. Second, snack! Grab a piece of fruit, whole-grain cereal or other healthy eats every three to four hours. And keep that water bottle handy.
  • Don't spin your wheels. With lots on your "plate," it's easy to waste precious energy dashing around wondering what to tackle next. Set up a routine to focus your efforts. Marla Cilley, creator of the popular Web site, suggests making housework - in small doses - a daily habit: Make your bed as soon as you get up, run one load of laundry each day, and lay out your next day's clothes before going to bed. Plan your meals and shop weekly. It all saves time and keeps household tasks from becoming overwhelming. Most kids thrive on routines, so set them up for your little ones as well.
  • Rest and recharge. Good sleep habits are an energy essential, says Joyce A. Walsleben, Ph.D., co-author of A Woman's Guide to Sleep (Three Rivers Press, 2001). Use your child's bedtime ritual to help you wind down for your eight hours of shut-eye a night: read a book, listen to soothing music, whatever works.
  • Worries keeping you awake? Try keeping a daily "worry book." Just a few minutes of listing your worries, and another few minutes of listing ways to resolve them, can help push your anxiety out of mind.

    To combat sleepiness from the inevitable nighttime interruptions that come with babies and young children, consider a nap. About 20 minutes, around 2 p.m., packs the maximum punch.

With good fuel, the right routine, and 40 winks, you'll be charged up and ready to handle whatever the day brings - even buying new batteries for your toothbrush.

- Christina Elston