Being a mother is hard. Like, really freaking hard. And at times it can feel like the whole world is coming down on you, and you can barely even think properly because you haven’t slept a decent night since before TV celebrities became Presidents. While at times it feels like 10 days have rolled into one and there’s no end to it all, there really is a way to cope with overwhelm as a mother.
Actually, there’s a few little things you can do that will help you deal with the crazy storm that is motherhood.
1 – Learn How To Say No
‘No’ is one of the most powerful words you have in your arsenal. While it may be appealing to go to every coffee and lunch date invite that comes your way, committing to others in this way can just add more overwhelm.
Be mindful, there is a balance between getting out and destressing over a coffee and cake with a friend and committing to various people on a number of days each week.
Saying no isn’t just for coffee dates though, it can be used for any commitment that makes you feel overwhelmed. And remember, you can say no after saying yes too – if whoever you are saying no to gets annoyed, then they weren’t worth saying yes to in the first place.
2 – Eliminate Unnecessary Tasks
Have a look at how you could simplify your day and what you can eliminate to make it easier for yourself? Do you need to say no to a few of your older children’s extra curricular activities or get them to take the bus to school instead of driving them?
What else do you have on your plate that doesn’t need to be there? I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person who piles on a ton of tasks and then I just work my butt off trying to do it all. But that is the fasttrack to overwhelm. Trust me.
Reevaluate what you’re doing and even the timeframe you’re doing it in. Can some tasks be extended out? Sometimes we do things without even asking if they are necessary. (Unfortunately things like feeding our family and laundry fall under the ‘relatively necessary’ banner… but check out #5 for help with that…)
3 – Find Your Happy Place
When you see or feel something that makes you smile, take an extra few minutes to hold onto that. When your child wraps their arms around you or says ‘I love you’ take a deep breath and hold them. Slow it down.
You can do the same with your husband – perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve actually taken the time to hug each other. It’s easy enough to just keep plugging away at the days and before you know it weeks have passed without taking time to connect.
And if your happy place involves you escaping to the toilet, locking the door and sitting there checking Facebook just to give yourself some space to breathe then that’s okay too.
4 – Take Time For Yourself
We are so quick to give our time to others, to help and offer a hand, but we need to give time to ourselves too. In fact, we need to schedule it in like we would any other important appointment or event. Because taking care of yourself is literally the most important thing you can do.
That’s right. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing, because if you don’t take care of yourself you cannot take care of anyone else. It’s biological. It’s why we have to fit our own air masks in a plane crash before fitting anyone else’s. So be sure to take time for yourself.
If it means you have to hire a babysitter for a few hours a week, then do it. If you can’t afford it, barter. Exchange babysitting duties with a friend, you watch their kids then they watch yours. Ask for help from a family member. Send your husband out to the park with the kids or let him take care of them morning routine while you go out.
Find what makes you happy and what fills your cup and then make it happen. This is the single biggest defence against overwhelm.
5 – Delegate
You can’t do it all on your own. And if you’re anything like me, and being told that you can’t do something just makes you more determined to actually do it, then think of it like this: You don’t have to do it all on your own.
What tasks do you have in your home that you can outsource or delegate? Maybe you can get someone in each week to help with the cleaning or washing? You can find people to do your ironing for your for less than the cost of a few cups of coffee.
Start delegating tasks within your family too. Set nights to take turns in cooking between your husband and yourself. If you have older kids, get them involved too. Teach them how to cook a meal and then they can be responsible for cooking that meal once a week. Kids can vacuum, sort clothes, put their own clothes away, tidy toys, wash dishes, unstack the dishwasher… there are loads of tasks you can delegate to make your life easier and help cope with overwhelm as a mother.
Just remember, you’re not alone and this time will pass. Overwhelm doesn’t last forever, even though it feels like it will never end. You’ve got this mama.