Feeling like an overwhelmed mom? I know this is a completely rhetorical question!
You work, you manage the cooking and groceries, you know where the missing sleeping toys are, your name is the one that gets called in the middle of the night. You are often thought of as Wonder woman, all the while you wonder how you manage to get everything done.
You are everywhere for everyone but rarely feel like you are able to get anything done! Am I right? I have been there all too often, and it wasn’t until I incorporated just a few simple changes into my day that I was actually able to feel as if I got my head from out of the water. Motherhood can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to feel impossible. If you are an overwhelmed mom, this post will highlight the 10 things I did to go from overwhelmed mom on the verge of burnout to a calm mom, embracing all the beauty of being a mama who works.
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Is it normal to feel overwhelmed as a mother?
Being an overwhelmed mom has been normalized, but it is in no way normal. This world glorifies weariness. It tells us that if we aren’t doing all the things we will never be successful. It constantly feeds us visions of unrealistic expectations and encourages us to live in a constant state of striving.
Brene Brown, an American college profession and thought leader on courage and vulnerability states, “It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.”
How ironically and tragically true!
In a world that sees exhaustion and overwhelm as proof that you are willing to do “whatever it takes to get things done,” making yourself and your sanity a priority can be counter cultural! But it is absolutely necessary! We were not meant to do everything! In fact, we were only created to do the things we were called to do, alongside God, and in the strength he gives us!
Why is motherhood so stressful?
Now that we know that we do not have to stay overwhelmed as a mom, why is it that we ALL seem to feel like we are in over our heads?
The bottom-line up front is this, instead of us living in the authenticity of the motherhood story we were created for, we spend our times holding on to all of the expectations set before us:
- Being the ultimate organic chef for your family
- Having Pinterest worthy craft time with your children every day
- Being a top performer in your career field
- Moreover, always having your hair and nails done.
No one mom can do it all. You must accept that some things are going to fall off the plate. The encouraging thing with this is, perhaps those things should not have been on your plate in the first place! Instead of staying in the rat race of striving, consider a life of minimal management. That is, figure out what you must manage, and delegate or eliminate everything else!
How to overcome being an overwhelmed mom
We do not have to do it all! We do not have to be at every event. Out children do not have to join every activity. We can live a fulfilling life where we minimize the things we must manage and clear some room for margin and rest onto our plates. Here are 18 tips for overcoming overwhelmed motherhood.
1. Simplify your schedule
One of the best ways to stop being an overwhelmed mom is to simplify your schedule. When many people decide to declutter and live more like a minimalist, they often forget that time clutter can be just as frustrating. When you simplify your schedule, consider following these steps:
- Take a few days to a week and write out everything that you do from wake up to sleep
- Go through each day and mark the things you absolutely must keep on your schedule
- Eliminate everything else from your schedule
- Lastly input activities that you want to incorporate (think self-care, a journaling routine, etc)
2. Plan your days using the 5 by 11 method
This is my favorite method of planning my days. With this method, at the beginning of each morning, list out everything that you would like to get done that day. Next, mark the top 5 things that you want to get accomplished by 11:00 AM. What this does is increase the probability that you are productive by taking advantage of the most productive part of the day (the hours before lunch).
3. Delegate out work amongst the family
Another way to minimize what you must manage is the delegate tasks out to the members of your family. They do not want you to be overwhelmed. Remember you are at your best when you are rested. So, consider tasks that your kiddos can take on. If you aren’t sure of what all they can do, this handy list of age-appropriate chores is a great place to start.
4. Declutter your home
Decluttering your home can make the difference between feeling overwhelmed and cultivating calm. The stuff we have in our home is a huge factor in the things we must do daily. I will put it like this, if you don’t have as much stuff to clean, cleaning becomes easier to do! I will not lie, initially, it was difficult, but as I have gotten better and better about not holding on to the items in my home (and not bringing in more items) I have found that I am not as overwhelmed.
Also see: How to start decluttering your home
5. Learn how to say “no”
When you commit to overcoming feeling overwhelmed as a mom, you may find that suddenly the asks your receive seem to become more frequent. Understand that it is okay to say ‘no’ in order to protect your peace and your time. Overcommitting is one of the biggest enemies to allowing margin for the rest required to stop feeling so overwhelmed. So many women suffer from the need to do all the things and obligate themselves to everything, without leaving room in their schedule for what they want to do.
Planning to do nothing, is doing something!
6. Schedule self-care into your day
As a mom, you may forget that you’re important too! This is why you need to make time for yourself every day. You may think that there is no time, but there is if you get help or if you sneak in some relaxation after the kids go to bed or before they get up. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure, drink that cup of tea slowly, read a book, take a long bath, or get a massage. Your relaxation time doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it needs to be there. Even 15 minutes every day can make all the difference!
7. Let go of unrealistic expectations
Stop scrolling through social media and setting your expectations and goals based on the highlight reels of the lives of your friends, families, and sheros! You are exactly the mom your children need you to be for them to be who they were created to be! Embrace the mom that you are now, and work on making her the best version of herself. If you are not a crafty person, do not stress yourself out that way in order to be like the other moms. You and your littles can still have meaningful time together even without Pinterest worthy photos to prove it.
8. Write things down
Sometimes the reason we are so stressed is because we are keeping a million to do lists in our minds and trying to keep them organized. Don’t let your ego get you in trouble! Get those thoughts and to do lists out of your mind and onto paper! You can check out my favorite planners to do just that or print out one of our free journal pages!
9. Keep dinner time simple by creating a meal list
Having a Meal List means you’ll never have to spend time thinking too long about what’s for dinner. Plus, your Meal List will include the main grocery items you need to prepare the meal.
It’s best to have about 10 meals on your Meal List. On the weekends when you have more time, you can prepare more elaborate meals, if you wish. Your Meal List will include complete dinners on the left side with the store list to make those dinners on the right side of the paper so you’ll quickly know the main ingredients to get at the grocery store.
10. Plan vacation time into your schedule
Choose a destination that your entire family can all agree on. Make sure the vacation offers something enjoyable for everyone. Most importantly, leave office work at the office. This communicates to your family that they are valuable to you, and subconsciously communicates to yourself that rest is indeed a non-negotiable factor to your sanity.
11. Set boundaries around family and office time
Set proper boundaries to provide adequate attention to each of your roles. No scheduling solution is perfect, but the effort alone will pay big dividends in your stress level and effectiveness as a parent, wife, and career woman. When you’re in the office, concentrate on work. Similarly leave work at work when you come home for the evening and give your family your undivided attention. You’ll get more done in less time and feel less stressed.
12. Don’t multitask.
No one can multitask, and when you try you are only shifting around a ton of ideas in your mind at the same time. Flipping through each one and landing on it for a second before shifting to the next! We CAN NOT multi-task. Consider reviewing the 5 by 11 method and instead of trying to get 20 things done a day, focus on doing the 5 things that are most important for the day well.
13. Create a support system
Teaming up with other moms makes a great support system. Even if you can’t get together every couple weeks, it is nice to know that you have someone you can call who won’t question your abilities but will just listen and empathize. All mothers feel the stress that comes with the job, so make sure to surround yourself with other moms that will be happy to listen to you when you need a shoulder to lean on; and be sure to return the favor!
14. Know your limits, put yourself in time-out if you need it
Many mothers feel like they just have to keep pushing forward when they are about to come unglued. Moms get stressed and often need to take a breather, just like kids! Instead of continuing to push forward when you are about to snap, walk into another room and just breathe deeply for a few minutes. While you are breathing, picture how you would like to respond to the situation and then remind yourself that it is important for you to follow through in a calm manner. After all, you’re a role model for your children. A minute or two in “time out” can make for a great day for the whole family!
15. Monitor your health
So many times we forget that self-care and balanced living involves basic activities that improve our health like drinking water, getting adequate sleep, and eating healthy. Having a healthy lifestyle is an important and practical form of self-care. Managing our health makes it easier to manage stress because we have given our body the basic things it needs for overall health.
16. Get your children on a schedule
The best thing that every mother can do for herself is to get her kids on a schedule and keep them on it. When you try to stick to a routine you’ll feel more comfortable handling breakfasts, lunches, naps, and bed times. When you don’t have a schedule, you may begin to feel scattered or disorganized and your stress levels will increase exponentially! Things are always unpredictable when kids are involved, but when you have even the simplest structure, your days will be a little more predictable and you’ll save your sanity!
17. Remember your why and give thanks for that
When things seem to be spinning out of control a simple thing you can do to stop the spiral is to think of what you are grateful for and why you do what you do. Listing the things you are grateful for daily in a gratitude journal can help ensure that you rarely get to the point of forgetting your why.
18. Give yourself grace
Even with the best laid plans, you will still find there are moments where you put too much on your plate. This is okay! Give yourself grace mama! Re-assess, reflect, and continue! Learning to shed societies plans for you to strive is hard to do. Everything pushes you towards overwhelm, but we don’t have to stay there!!
You don’t have to continue to be the overwhelmed mom! In fact, you can be a mam that embodies calm, peace, and grace! This is the mom that God created you to be!