There’s no denying it: moms are overwhelmed.
Our culture expects so much from moms, and yet provides so little support.
We’re expected to keep a clean house, raise perfect children, invest in our marriage, workout, get enough sleep, be involved in the community, have friends, dress well, and so, so much more.
It’s little wonder that we’re stressed out and overwhelmed. It’s impossible to do it perfectly, but there are smart ways to minimize the overwhelm and enjoy life as a mom a little more.
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1. MOMS ARE OVERWHELMED BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO TIME TO THEMSELVES
A typical 40 hour work week is exhausting enough. But moms put in far longer hours.
I’m up with the baby at 6 AM (or sometimes even earlier) and most nights I’m still finishing up home tasks and putting the kids to bed at 8:30 at night.
At the end of the day, there’s not much time left to invest in myself, which leaves me feeling acutely exhausted and burnt out.
How to fix it:
It’s tricky to find time to yourself, especially when you’re already overwhelmed, but with some careful planning it’s totally doable.
- Hire a sitter for a few hours
- Send slightly older kids to preschool.
- Take turns with a mom friend watching each others kids
- Establish quiet time hours invthe afternoon if your kids don’t nap anymore.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When you do have free time, it’s important to use it wisely, doing things that fill you up and not wasting it by scrolling social media the whole time.
2. OVERWHELMED MOMS HAVE TOO MANY EXTERNAL DEMANDS
For some reason, people tend to think that moms (and especially stay at home moms) have a lot of free time on their hands. We often get asked to take on tasks outside the home for little or no pay.
A friend down the street needs you to watch her daughter on Wednesdays. Your church needs you to volunteer to teach the 2 year old Sunday school class every week. The local moms’ group that you’re part of needs you to coordinate their weekly play group.
None of those are necessarily bad ways to spend your time, but it’s easy to take on much more than we’re capable of managing well and that can quickly lead to burn out.
How to fix it:
There are lots of worthy causes to get involved in. It can be hard to say no, especially if you know they’re desperate for help or if you’ve benefited from the group or organization that needs you.
But you cannot be all things to all people, and you won’t be able to serve any one well if you over commit yourself. So choose one or two things to donate your time to, and confidently say no to the rest.
3. THERE’S TOO MUCH TO KEEP TRACK OF
One of the most overwhelming things we have to deal with is the million little tasks to keep track of and remember to do at the right time.
My to do list looks something like this at any given time:
Reschedule swim class, take the baby’s 10 month picture, organize the carpool to preschool, switch kid’s clothing up to the next size, buy laundry detergent, pay the water bill, plan daughter’s birthday party, schedule the dog’s grooming, buy Halloween costumes…
…and on and on. And that doesn’t even include daily tasks like cleaning, laundry, or child care!
How to fix it:
The best way to eliminate overwhelm in this area is to not try to hang on to every bit of it in your brain.
You’ve got to have good systems that you can trust to remind you, so that your mind can rest and not be constantly worried that you’ve forgotten something.
In my experience, a regular calendar and to do list doesn’t cut it.
Thankfully, April and Eric at LearnDoBecome have an awesome free class to help you get the mess out of your brain and into an organized system that will finally put a stop to your procrastinating and be confident that everything on your list is taken care of.
4. OVERWHELMED MOMS DON’T HAVE ENOUGH HELP AND SUPPORT FROM OTHERS
We have a huge burden to bear as moms, and the truth is we shouldn’t really have to bear it by ourselves. Our culture has evolved into this structure that is much less community oriented.
Moms of generations past had less to keep track of AND usually lived very near to or even in the same home as grandparents and aunts and uncles who could be much more involved in supporting each other.
How to fix it:
This is one of the reasons that it’s so important to think very carefully before moving away from family and close friends.
If you already live far away, it’s worth considering moving near family if you know they’ll be a good support system. That level of community is worth sacrificing just about anything.
But if that’s not an option, you’ll need to work to invest in friendships that can become like family.
- Look for other young families that also don’t have family nearby and reach out to them. Invite them over for dinner, get to know them, and be the first one to ask for help.
- If someone offers to help you with something, say YES! Have a couple of standard tasks that would be easy for someone to help with even if you aren’t super close friends.
- Things like walking the dog, picking up groceries, or bringing you a meal for you don’t even require them to come inside your house. You can ask closer friends to fold a load of laundry or even clean your bathroom.
- Teach and expect your family members to contribute to managing the household. You are not the family servant, and you don’t have to take care of everything for everyone. Kids as young as 18 months can learn to help fold washcloths and pick up toys, and by 8 years old, most kids are capable of cooking a simple meal for the family.
If you need more guidance on how to delegate stuff to your family, Joann has a great free class to help you get started.
5. OVERWHELMED MOMS NEED MORE SLEEP
Another reason that moms are overwhelmed is because we are tired. The baby wakes up at night, we have to get up early to get the older ones on the bus, and in spite of the fact that we’re home all day, there’s rarely a chance for napping.
How to fix it:
This is truly a tough one, especially if you have a tiny baby who doesn’t sleep through the night yet. At that stage, it’s important to ask for and accept help from people who are willing to offer a hand.
Also, try not to focus on how tired you are.
Instead, work on good sleep habits with your baby and yourself. Charge your phone somewhere besides your bedroom at night. Try to get to bed early, even if that means sacrificing your nightly TV show.
Otherwise, try to remember that this is only a season, and you will get rest again one day.
BONUS: MOMS NEED POSITIVE VOICES TO SUCCEED
A lot of the conversation surrounding motherhood in our culture is very negative. A lot of moms see themselves as victims of motherhood and choose to have very poor attitudes about having kids.
Those voices are not conducive to encouraging us to do mom life well.
How to fix it:
If you have friends or follow people online who constantly speak negatively about their children, husbands, or life in general, you need to quiet those voices.
You don’t need that influence in your life.
Choose to spend time with and listen to people who will encourage and speak life over your motherhood journey. You can choose to love being a mom, and find ways to limit the overwhelm.
Phylicia Masonheimer is a great example of someone who does motherhood well, and she’s a great one to follow if you need more positive influence in your life as a mom.
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