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Why is it that the kids have all the energy, but they’re the ones who get to nap?

Parenting is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but it’s also exhausting. You are on duty 24-7, no weekends off or sick days. It’s easy to focus on your kids and neglect yourself, but that’s not good for you or them.

Ideally, all moms would get eight hours of sleep and rise refreshed. But most of us know that’s not realistic. Instead, here are some quick and realistic tips from parenting experts on how you can recharge your own energy tank.

1. Guzzle a Bottle of Water.

Mild dehydration can affect your body even before you know you’re thirsty, and may leave you with headaches, fatigue, and lack of energy. "When I want a quick pick-me-up, I stop and drink a full bottle of water," says Tammy Gold, a psychotherapist and parenting coach, and the mother of three girls ages 6 and under.

2. Take a Bath or Shower.

"There’s nothing like taking all your clothes off and taking a bath or shower in the middle of the day to make you feel like a totally new person," Gold says.

3. Be a "Bad Mom."

To get even five minutes for an energy boost, you may need a quick break from the kids. If they’re not in school or day care, that may mean relying on the dreaded TV for at least a short time. "I tell moms that it’s OK to put kids in front of the TV or put the baby in her crib or play yard for 15- 20 minutes to recharge yourself," Gold says. "Turn on Sesame Street or an educational DVD. They’ll get a much more present, happier you if you occasionally allow yourself a break like that than if you’re watching them like a hawk every second.

4. Get Moving.

Studies have found regular exercise is better than a nap for boosting your energy levels. But constant reminders to fit an hour’s worth of exercise into every day can be daunting. Forget the perfect and go for what you can do instead. Take a quick walk around the block with your child in the stroller, or just stand up from your desk to do some stretches. (You can set your computer alarm to remind you.) Or take advantage of playtime with your kids: have a race in the park or roller skate. Too cold? Try a physically active video game like Wii tennis or put on some music and dance.

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