My work week basically runs like this:

  • 630-7 2 year old wakes up, wife starts work (she works remotely from 6:30-3:30)
  • 7-830 Get ready for work, feed / dress kid, prep kid for nanny or preschool
  • 830-630 Drive to work, work, drive home
  • 630-830 Dinner, play with kid, clean, put kid to bed

So from 830 on, I have some free time. But here is my problem: I can't get up off the couch.

There are countless things I could do: work out, work on stuff around the house, study stuff about my job, organize things that need organizing, read a stack of books that's been collecting dust, start on one of the many things on my to-do list...but I cannot motivate.

I'm exhausted. My wife is exhausted. So we just end up sitting on the couch watching boring TV or I'm surfing the Internet on my phone.

My question: has anyone faced this and overcome it? How did you do it? What was your source of motivation?

asked 17 Dec '10, 19:12

blue's gravatar image

accept rate: 26%

edited 17 Dec '10, 22:47

+1 Brilliantly honest question!

(17 Dec '10, 21:14) Emi

Both my husband and I used to spend countless hours watching t.v and resting, or maybe not resting but just being "content potatoe couches" During this period we watched many many series, some were fun some were motivating and others we just watched because the story line was captivating enough, so I fully understand how you may be feeling.

Looking back our daughters age was probably around "2" so when you say you are constantly feeling exhausted you basically are, because at that age, like us, you are doing more or less everything for your little one. So what used to be a simple action like waking up, grabbing a bite of breakfast and jumping off to work is now much more work, and draining. You are no longer able to skip out of the house easily.

How about using the time you are watching t.v to actually watch stuff that motivates you? This may seem like a weird suggestion but, are you really watching stuff that you want to. Documentaries and short films are good in my opinion they stimulate and finish early so you get to go to sleep at a reasonable time.

Take turns if you can to go out for an evening with old friends, and spend an evening outside of your home. If that feels good then you may want to get some one to babysit so that you and your wife could go out too.

The time between 20.30 and bedtime is quite valuable, so maybe use a week to prepare your self for multitasking in the new year. This may mean spending time on your computer, or workstation and just organizing. It could work may for you. Have you heard of Evernote I find it really helpful.

Finally, maybe re-ask the question again to parents of all 2 year olds, just so you can perhaps pick up some more tips, but I am quite sure that was the most tiresome period. Try to say to yourself that this will change and that it will not always be like this.

Good luck!

I have edited the first couple of lines, to be more concise.


answered 18 Dec '10, 07:40

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

edited 18 Dec '10, 20:35

I think there are lots of answers to this and the trick really is to find something for you. Some ideas:
- accept that there will be some days where sitting down on the couch is all you can handle, and stop beating your self up over it (this might be especially true if you have a physically intense job so you are physically exhausted at day's end)
- set a timer - they say you can do anything for 5 minutes. So try it - take 5 minutes (set the oven timer or similar) and tackle one of the things on your list. Chances are you'll stick with it for longer.
- have a reasonable bedtime. Again this varies per person. But if you're tired all the time maybe you aren't sleeping enough? This is especially true if little one wakes up during the night...
- is there a medical reason why you're so tired?
- try doing something for yourself first after kid's bedtime (exercise?) so you might be more motivated afterwards (and it will help get you out of the habit of sitting on the couch as soon as bedtime is done)
- revisit your todo/to-read list and see if everything on there really deserves to be on there given how busy your days are... try setting deadlines for stuff that matters most.
- consider hiring someone to take care of things you don't want to do - home repairs, cleaning, etc are all things that can be delegated for money

This (at least in the northern hemisphere) is a tough time of year to get motivated to do stuff so I wish you the best of luck!


answered 17 Dec '10, 19:59

Melanie's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

+1 for touching upon what I think are most of the points too!

(18 Dec '10, 07:19) Emi

That you are tired by the time the kids are asleep is understandable. Seems to me that the problem is that your schedule is structured so that you have to go through this routine every day.

Are the things you "want to do" solo activities, or things that you want to do with your spouse?

Solo - why not switch off kid responsibilities? One night a week, the husband takes care of all kid responsibilities: dinner, bedtime, whatever. Wife gets a night on the town. (Which could be working out, running errands, reading a book at the cafe, whatever.) One night a week, the husband returns the favor.

Joint - you desperately, desperately need a standing "date night", where on a regularly scheduled basis (I recommend weekly) you have a babysitter come and you and your husband go out. It doesn't have to be a fancy romantic date every time, maybe sometimes you guys just want to do some desperately needed non-kid-friendly shopping, see a movie, or find someplace quiet to read.

Also, if you feel that TV/internet is just too tempting... you know, just unplug it.


answered 18 Dec '10, 16:45

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

I definitely faced it. The end of the day just ends up being extremely unproductive. I overcame it by moving the 1 hour or so from the end of the day to the beginning of the day. If there's something you really want to get done, you'll do it better first thing in the morning than the last thing at night. Yeah, that means getting up at an un-Godly hour, but hey, it worked. Make sure to go to bed earlier. :)


answered 18 Dec '10, 17:44

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Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

My husband and I get stuck in that routine often enough it seems we've been this way for 3 years now. We've 3 kids, ages 7, 3, and 1, and we pretty much only break the routine when we're feeling "awake" enough to instead play board games, video games, or something else in the house. Which is fun for the moment and relaxing but year after year can really bring you down. Every now and then we go out all together to sing Karaoke or go to the mall till closing time. We don`t get a break from our kids but something different can make all the difference.


answered 23 Dec '10, 01:31

Mia's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 25 Dec '10, 16:33

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

Over the last few months I've tried a slightly novel approach:

Finding myself struggling to stay awake every time I put my kids to bed, I just thought, "well, why not?". So one night a week, when my wife is away, I decided to sleep at the same time (around 8pm), then whenever I wake up feeling refreshed (anywhere between midnight and 2am), I get up and 'do stuff', then try to get back to bed before 5am, and get some more sleep in.


answered 20 Dec '10, 05:44

Benjol's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

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Asked: 17 Dec '10, 19:12

Seen: 5,815 times

Last updated: 25 Dec '10, 16:33