Relieving Mom stress is something we talk about in every mom circle I've ever been in.
Why does every mother ever feel so much stress and overwhelm? I had to know.
So I do what I do. I researched.
Every mom I've ever met can't seem to make all the ends in their lives meet.
One mom who I thought was the most put together and amazing mom recently told me how her son won't let her husband do a single thing for him. She is the only one her son allows to help him. He actually tells his father to leave when the father comes in his room to wake him up in the morning.
She's not getting any time to herself because she is constantly everything for her children.
It's a little comical to ask why are we so stressed out, isn't it?
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Why Are Moms So Stressed?
Because we are stuck between beliefs that are impossible to put together.
None of these beliefs are bad, there are good and bad things about every belief system, they just can't exist together.
Sole Provider Belief
I am their mother, therefore I am all they need.
Maintain a perfectly clean house. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse. Be Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the birthday planner, and the lady who answers all of the 2am questions (like do frogs have eyelids?). You have to find the lost socks, keys, blue dragon, and your husband's belt. Be fun, but firm. Read books to your children whenever they ask, but also read your own books. You're responsible for taking care of everyone and everything in the house, but don't forget to take some time out to take care of yourself. Did you add that to your list? You need a list. Gosh, don't forget the list!
It's easy to believe this, to LIVE by this. So easy.
You believe this. Don't remember? Let me remind you.
Remember when your baby was just a teeny squishy little thing? When all she needed in the world was you. She needed you for comfort, nourishment, you were everything.
That easily transfers to . . .
I should devote myself completely to my household because I am their mother and they need me. If I don't do it, who will?
A fellow blogger, Rachel, explains the perfect reason why stay at home moms (and all moms, really) always feel like there is never enough time. Put very simply, we put our lives into two compartments. There is the time you have when the kids are awake, where you do everything for them, like this mindset suggests. Then there is compartment two, when the kids are asleep or being babysat, when you can do anything else. No wonder we don't have any time, when we are only allowed to do EVERYTHING necessary as an adult in a few hours after bedtime.
If a mom goes to work, she has to be able to completely devote herself to her work. If you're at work, you need to be worrying about work, not your baby.
Now imagine those two thought beliefs together, in the same person. That's all of society.
Society has something to say about every mom, no matter what she does.
So now let's add that belief into the mix.
Perfect Mom Belief
This is just unobtainable. Even on it's own this belief, held by every mother in the 21st century, is impossible. You can't to it all.
Those moms who you think are perfect, are fighting things inside, like you.
The mom who packs the perfect lunch for their kid, is always smiling, and makes you sick because her life is so perfect? She missed out on apple picking with her son, and cried the rest of the day. She wants her family to be happy, like you.
The mom of one who is calm, happy, and has the best behaved child? She struggles with infertility, and can't stop blaming herself for it. She thinks she has made a mistake in her life, like you.
The mom who always brings the organic apple juice and carrot sticks with homemade hummus to soccer games? She's lonely and just wants friends, like you.
How Do Stressed Moms Relieve That Stress?
Take a deep breath, and relax.
Haaaa, did it work? Are you relaxed? No, probably not, and I don't blame you.
Just taking a deep breath isn't going to fix it. Neither is taking a bath, or getting your nails done.
Perfectionism usually stems from a “should” in your head.
I should be packing my children a healthier lunch.
When we hear that in our head, what do we do?
Maybe you can hear that, and just move past.
Good for you, friend. I don't think this post is meant for you, but thanks for stopping by. Please comment below and tell me how you became so amazing, I would love to interview you and feature you here, because you are obviously not from this planet. Can you imagine the page views I'd get for a real life interview with an alien?!
If you're like most moms, you hear that voice saying you should be better, and you berate yourself.
I don't know the first thing about healthy food, so I'd probably do that wrong too. How do you even make hummus? The more healthy foods I look up, the more I think nothing at all is healthy. Everything is bad in some way. What the heck is the right answer?
We need to adjust that thinking. Because that is not helping us.
Try that deep breath again. Did it help this time?
Let it out a little slower, and look at your child.
Take a minute and think about the gift they are to you, and the gift you are to them. Really see them in this moment.
Odds are if you're thinking these lame thoughts, you're already overwhelmed. Slow yourself down and try your best to ground yourself in the moment.
Is this thought realistic? Odds are it's hyperbole. You aren't given a mom of the year award for one good thing you do as a mom. The opposite is also true. One bad day doesn't make you an awful mom.
Look at your child. She's not unhealthy. Her body can do so many amazing things.
Homemade hummus is not the only measure of a good mom.
When you feel that overwhelming and unwelcome “I should” thought coming on.
Stop. Your thoughts aren't helpful. Slow down.
Observe. Look at that beautiful life you created.
How to Avoid Mom Overwhelm
You have the steps for stopping those unpleasant thoughts, it will take practice.
But how to do you avoid it all together?
I'm sorry. I must have misled you. Overwhelm and stress are part of motherhood today. You can't get away from it.
Can you take steps to avoid some of it, or lessen the blow? Absolutely.
Planning to Relieve Mom Stress
Planning is my favorite stress deterrent.
I am a firm believer in habits. I think re-evaluating your morning routine will help any mom find extra time and less stress in her morning.
Here is my morning planner to help get your started:
My quick tip is this:
Do everything you possibly can before you're in the morning rush. Put out clothes the night before, and pick out their shoes, or put the favorite blue dragon where you know he will find it in the morning.
Then when morning comes, you can just do what you HAVE to do, like slice apples, or brush children's teeth.
Become a Habitual Habit Maker
You want habits. They'll fix so much of your life.
Children thrive on habits too. When they know what to expect, they're more like to do what you need them to do.
Every morning we have breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, put on shoes.
After school, start a routine to get their lunch boxes in the sink, homework out on the table, and sit down with a pencil and eraser.
Related: How to Build New Habits
Related: Hack to Help You Build New Habits
Then bring them a snack. Because you know they're starving.
If they need to talk out their feelings about the day, sit and chat with them, or sit down with them while they do their homework.
I know the last thing you want to do right now is sit down and waste your precious evening time, but it will make the rest of your night go so smoothly.
Connecting with each kid for about ten minutes will make them less needy later, when you need to make dinner. Fill their cup, because they're people too, and they get depleted too after a long day of school.
Find Your Support System
We are military, so we are at least a thousand miles away from every single person in each of our families.
The best thing we ever did was become great friends with our neighbors. They truly became family. They looked out for our kids whenever they were outside, and they happily took our children every single time we asked them to, and extra when we didn't ask them.
You need someone on your team, even if it's just to sit down and drink coffee with sometimes.
Spend Time With Your Significant Other
This goes hand in hand with finding your support system. Your spouse should be some of your support too. Not all of it, they are human too.
At the end of a stressful day, what's a better way to celebrate than vegging out on the couch with your spouse and watching some crappy show (or the best ever show: “Game of Thrones”), or talking about your day over a crossword puzzle. I love starting my day with a hot cup of coffee and my husband.
Now, Put That Spouse To Work
This is probably going to be a lot harder for you than it will be for them.
As moms, we have a way we do things, right?
When I put my son to bed, I brush his teeth, talk about his favorite things about the day and I cuddle him until he falls asleep. Then lay him in his bed, and put his weighted blanket over him.
My husband will let him brush his own teeth, put him in his bed, watch a video on YouTube of someone playing a Piano (probably an Elsa song, because we love her in this house), and then leave when he falls asleep, usually a few minutes later.
Both systems work. I could stand over him and pick apart what he's doing “ugh, he's had enough screen time today, don't you think? Did he clean ALL of his teeth?!” But who is that helping?
Let Go of All That Control
Let go of that control you want to have here.
My husband is my son's parent, too.
If he wants to bond over some piano videos, then he should be allowed to do that. If I want to lay in my bed and play with my son's beautiful curls before he falls asleep, he let's me do that.
Related: How to Create a Morning Routine to beat mom stress.
My children have two parents, and we are different people, so they'll get a different experience from each of us. They'll grow up and love the time they spent laying in bed watching piano videos with their dad, and they'll love the time they spent with me, cuddling.
Here's another example:
I try to give my children the healthiest food possible, because 1, they're my kids and I do what I want 2, there's only so long that they'll be eating well, I know they'll be teenagers soon that just eat garbage all day every day 3, it brings me joy.
I make them a nice, healthy lunch every day, and I recently discovered he has been putting a fruit by the foots in their lunch.
Livid. That's how I felt.
Maybe you have a difference of opinion with your husband, too.
Let it go.
It's not worth sacrificing that respect with your husband over fruit roll ups.
He is the parent, too. So he gets to have an opinion, make decisions, and put fruit by the foot garbage in our children's lunchbox.
Scroll to the end because you thought this was too long? I got you.
- Moms believe we are responsible for everyone's everything.
- Working moms believe this AND that they need to work like they don't have a family, and have a family like they don't have work. (that's a lot of impossible right there)
- We also think we have to be perfect. Perfect and EVERYTHING for EVERYONE.
- Trying to fit all of our adult responsibilities into an hour or two at the end of the day is a recipe for disaster, overwhelm, and burnout.
- Make new habits to fix your stress!
- Plan to Reduce Stress
- Use that spouse of yours
- Let go of complete control over your children
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Leave a comment below with the best advice you've ever gotten for dealing with stress.