Being a Mom is flat-out exhausting. Not because it’s really so hard to raise kids, because it’s not, in my opinion. But because our job as “Mom” is so much more than raising kids. Most days I feel like I wear so many hats that I could open up my own millinery shop (that’s British for fancy hat shop, thank you very much Royal Wedding). Maid, chef, chauffeur, coach, motivational speaker, tutor, mediator, financial planner, personal shopper, nutritionist, drill sergeant and the list goes on and on. It’s easy to see how us Moms can feel like we’re in over our heads. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learned as a Mama, it’s how to roll with the punches and minimize meltdowns (mine not my kids’). Want to know my secrets? Read on for my simple tips for overwhelmed Moms, and how to avoid Mommy Meltdowns.
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First, let me be the first to admit that I am not without my fair share of overwhelmed Mom moments. Like clockwork, I seem to have a mini breakdown about twice a year. When I just look at my husband and admit that, no, I am not Super-Mom, and I need a break/help/a giant cupcake. 🙂
I am naturally a go-with-the-flow type of person, but even with that chill-out attitude I still get a little high strung sometimes. Here’s what I do when I feel the overwhelm coming on.
8 Simple Tips for Overwhelmed Moms
Take a “Mommy Day”
A little backstory – From the time that my oldest daughter was born to the time that she was 4 years old, I had one day each year that I called my “Mommy Day”. One day each year that my husband would take the kids and I would have the entire day to do whatever I wanted to do completely by myself.
One day out of 365 days.
That’s not a lot.
Yes, I had an hour or two here and there that I would go grocery shopping or to the gynecologist by myself. But a pelvic exam is not exactly something that I would choose to do with my alone time.
One day a year for me. And I’m an introvert to the core, so my alone time is super valuable.
The other 364 days I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without one of my daughters wanting to sit on my lap while I peed.
If you’re feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck driven by obnoxious toddlers, take a day off. Get a baby sitter for the full day if you have to. Go out and do what makes you happy. Do what you did before you had kids. You know, back when you could be selfish with your time. For me that meant a Starbucks Iced Macchiato for breakfast, followed by browsing the racks at my favorite consignment store, followed by meandering the aisles of Home Goods and TJMaxx, followed by whatever-the-heck-else I wanted to do. Because it was my day.
I would strongly suggest that you schedule more than one “Mommy Day” a year. Or even a handful of “Mommy Half-Days”. Whatever the case may be, be sure to rejuvenate with time that is 100 percent yours.
Preferably before the Mommy Meltdown sets in.
Ask for (and Accept) Help
This is the absolute hardest thing for me.
I am so bad at asking for help when I am starting to feel overwhelmed.
The overwhelm keeps coming, and I keep pushing it down deeper and deeper until I just have a mental breakdown.
True (and Abbreviated) Story – When my second daughter was about 3 weeks old, I almost died. Heart failure, septic shock, cardiomyopathy… all landed me in the ICU for 9 days. (God Bless my husband who took care of our newborn and 2 year old daughters while I was laid up in a hospital bed). When I got out of the hospital and went home, I had moments of extreme physical and mental weakness.
And I didn’t ask for help.
I felt like I had birthed these babies and it was my sole responsibility to take care of them. I was their Mom, and I wasn’t going to pass my responsibilities off to anyone else. I was going to do everything to take care of my own kids, even though I had literally just been fighting for my life.
Don’t do that.
Recognize your own weakness and don’t be ashamed of it. And don’t expect other people to recognize your need for help.
When you are starting to feel overwhelmed, tell someone.
Over the years, I’ve gotten much better at realizing that I am not Super-Mom, and that’s okay. I tag in my husband, who is more than willing to throw in a load of laundry or get the kids out of the house for an hour for the sake of Mommy’s sanity.
Remember the 90s song “Whoomp! (There it is)” from Tag Team?
There’s a lyric in that song that goes “Tag Team, back again”, and I literally sing that to my husband at least once a week. Because we are a team, and it doesn’t fall 10o percent on me to take care of the kids, especially when I’m teetering on the edge of a Mommy Meltdown.
Lighten Your Load
If you feel like you’re on the verge of a meltdown, give yourself a break from one or more of your Mommy jobs.
Skip the hour of dinner prep and 3o minutes of kitchen cleaning and just order take-out.
Let the laundry pile up for a day or two.
Don’t empty the dishwasher, and just grab a clean fork out when you need it.
Use a grocery delivery service.
Whatever it is, when you’re feeling overwhelmed find a way to eliminate a few items on your To-Do list. Or just burn the whole darn list. Your family will survive for a day wearing dirty socks.
*Want to know how I manage all of my family’s finances without going crazy? Click here to read my super popular post How to Keep Track of Spending Using a Weekly Planner.
Just Say “No”
Want to join the PTA? “No”.
Can you be the Class Mom for the year? “No”.
Are you coming to the big neighborhood picnic on Saturday? “No.”
It’s okay to say “No” (to people other than your kids!). 🙂
I am a firm believer in not scheduling every second of your day with play dates, extracurricular activities, classes, etc. In fact, I’m just the opposite – I schedule PJ Days. Whole days when my daughters and I stay in our pajamas all day long and play at home.
Because my schedule isn’t filled to the max, I have more time to just breathe. And, when new opportunities or obligations come up, I’m not stressed about how to get everything done and where I’m going to find the time to fit in one more thing to my already overloaded schedule.
When your less busy, there’s less of a chance that you’ll get overwhelmed.
Be A Stickler with Bedtimes
If I had only one area of “Mom expertise”, this would be it. And this is one of my most favorite tips for overwhelmed Moms.
I have rocked at sleep training my kids.
My girls (ages 8 and 6) are in bed each night by 8:30pm, and they wake up at about 7:30am during the summer and 6:15am during the school year. They don’t get out of their beds in the middle of the night or wake up repeatedly crying out for me.
They sleep. Hard.
And that means that I get lots of sleep and “Mommy Time” at night, too.
Don’t listen to what your friends/family say when they ridicule your kids’ bedtimes. When my girls were younger, I had them in bed at 7:00pm. That meant that I was home each night by 6:3opm. If family or friends wanted to get together for dinner, they knew that it had to be early. My kids’ bedtimes became the joke in my family. My parents would kid that “It’s 4:30, time to start the bath.” And yes, sometimes I would put them in the bath at 4:30pm.
But, my kids were and still are great sleepers. So the joke’s on them. And Mommy has a few less bags under her eyes.
Listen to My Memaw
One of the best pieces of advice that my Memaw ever gave me was about dealing with stress and difficult times of life. She said, “Just remember these four words: This too shall pass”.
This too shall pass.
Simple, but true.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths and remember that tomorrow is a new day. Sure, the overwhelm may still be there tomorrow, but it too shall pass. You’ll get caught up on your seemingly endless list of to-dos, your son will finish his near-impossible science project, and whatever else you’re dealing with will eventually be in your rear view.
Difficult as it may be, when you’re overwhelmed, remember that it’s only temporary. Get a good night’s sleep and figure out how to kick ass tomorrow.
Take Care of Your Self
To avoid a Mommy meltdown, make sure to take care of yourself. If you’re like me, you’re so busy taking care of everyone else in your life that it’s easy to forget about you.
Get a full night’s sleep as often as possible. That means nixing the hours of binge-watching Netflix after your kids go to bed and going to sleep yourself.
Work out. Go to the gym while your kids are at school, or take a family walk around the neighborhood in the evening.
Take up a hobby. Whether it’s knitting, scrapbooking, yoga, or mushroom foraging? …. find a creative or constructive outlet to focus energy.
Don’t give up on your own dreams. Go after things that you want for yourself. For me, that’s making a career out of blogging. As silly as it sounds, my dream is to take my laptop to Starbucks and work while I’m sipping a latte. That’s my dream, and here I am, going after it. Though I’m actually in my pjs curled up in a recliner, not in a Starbucks. Whatever your dream may be, go for it.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, technology can be your best friend. Yes, I do warn against the over use of electronics in raising nice kids, but when the alternative is full-on Mommy Meltdown, don’t be afraid to turn on the tv.
Amazon Prime Video is my best friend when it comes to occupying my kids for an hour and a half so I can have a moment of peace. Just turn on a movie, pop some popcorn, and plop the kids on the couch.
Instant Mommy break. Lay in the bed and read a gossip magazine. Catch up on episodes of The Bachelorette. Take a bubble bath.
And the best part is the kids love it, too. Want extra Mom points while you’re enjoying your break? Throw a handful of M&Ms in their popcorn bowls. Your kids will think it’s a super-special treat, and you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing that even in the midst of a meltdown your rocking at Mom Life.
Let me conclude by saying, nobody is perfect. We all have our moments of weakness. Meltdowns are bound to happen. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t beat yourself up. It’s normal. You’re a Mom. Between cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, disciplining, bathing, etc. etc. etc., if you’re only having the occasional meltdown, then I would say that you’re doing pretty darn good. But, when you feel the overwhelm coming on, try one or two of these tips. Figure out what works best for you. And go on rocking your Mom Life!
Want more tips for overwhelmed Moms? Check out these highly rated books on Amazon:
- How to Raise the Nice Kid in a World of Mean Girls
- 7 Steps to a Clean House in One Hour
- How to Keep Track of Spending Using a Weekly Planner