Not having such a great day? It happens to every mom, especially during the harried holiday season, and for all sorts of reasons: You were up all night. You're feeling inexplicably sad. You're stressed to the max. (Or maybe a little bit of all three!) First, remember that you can't do it all perfectly and you won't always be in a good mood, says psychologist Patricia Farrell, Ph.D., author of How to Be Your Own Therapist. "Life isn't a straight highway -- your baby needs to learn this, too." Then try a few of the following solutions to U-turn a day that's headed south.
When you're exhausted...
Don't try to burn the candle at both ends today. Take it easy instead.
Hit the floor Set your baby up with a bunch of toys and activities on the rug or carpet, then lie down next to her while she plays, suggests Paige Babcock, a mom of two in New Milford, Connecticut. She'll enjoy having you nearby, and you'll sneak in some rest.
Enforce naptime for everyone We know, it's hard to give up your only time to check e-mail, but just this once sleep while your baby sleeps -- you'll be surprised by how easily you doze off (and how much better you feel when you wake up).
Meter your java dose "Having more (or less) than your usual amount of caffeine can lead to irritability and exacerbate fatigue," says Cynthia Sass, R.D., former spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and coauthor of Your Diet Is Driving Me Crazy.
But do drink up! Dehydration can leave you feeling even more tired than you already are. Aim for at least eight 8-ounce servings of fluid, including fruit and vegetable juice, milk, and even coffee and tea.
Don't skip meals Too conked to cook? Just chowing down on a simple PB&J -- if it's on whole-grain bread with an all-fruit spread -- supplies complex carbs that can boost serotonin levels in your brain and help you feel more focused, according to Andrew Packard, M.D., author of The Packard Weight Health Plan.
Save sweets for last Treats are fine, but eating sugary foods on an empty stomach can bring on a huge energy crash, says Sass.
Give yourself an extension Instead of feeling bad that you're too tired to accomplish much, reprioritize and put off everything that doesn't need to be done immediately.
Tweak sleep Move bedtime -- yours and your baby's -- earlier tonight. "Most likely she'll still sleep until the same time tomorrow, and you'll both feel refreshed," says sleep expert Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., author of Sleeping Through the Night.