To The Mom Who’s Overwhelmed- 3 Ways To Lighten Your Load

By Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Sprague

To the Mom who’s overwhelmed:

{3 simple ways to lighten your load}…

I know where you are.  I have been there many days myself….many more days than I imagined I Overwhelmed?-2would before I became a parent.  It’s funny how we picture it, and how idealistic we create the vision in our head… But why would the transition from responsibility for just ourselves…to  being entrusted with these little people who are completely reliant on us for everything…be easy?  It’s no wonder it can be burdensome- they literally cannot survive without us.

Yet it’s not the “keeping them alive” that wears us out.  It’s not really feeding, bathing, and clothing them, because this comes as second-nature to most parents.  Where I find myself getting burdened is when I go from doing the “mom stuff” to the “super mom stuff.”  Having the tidiest house, the happiest husband, the most well-behaved kids, and the best-smelling laundry.  How well does my daughter perform in school?  How many soccer goals did she make this season?  How well-organized are our closets?  How well do I accessorize my outfits and how recent was my last pedicure?

It’s not just the temper tantrum that overwhelms us, but the temper tantrum that happens at the grocery store that screams to everyone watching: “This mom has no idea what she is doing!”  It’s not just the unfolded laundry that has to be tumbled and dewrinkled for the fourth time, but it’s the neighbors’ kids whose clothes are always clean and neatly pressed.  We feel like giving up when we feel inadequate.  And we feel inadequate when we are always looking at everyone else to see if we measure up.

Want to lighten your load in a  hurry?  Three simple words of advice: Stop, Learn, and Prioritize.  

  1. Stop comparing yourself to other moms.  Stop comparing your kids to other kids.  Stop comparing your home, your vacations, your vehicles, your landscaping…refuse to define yourself and your success as a mom by anyone else’s standards.  When your child is behind in math or misbehaves in public or strikes out in a baseball game, relieve yourself of the pressure to make him fit into a mold that is unattainable.  Do yourself a favor and embrace the failures, the meltdowns, the disappointments as learning opportunities and refuse to fall into the trap of one-upmanship.
  2. Learn to say “No.”  If you feel like you have too much on your plate, it is probably because you do.  A mom who always runs at full-speed and feels like she never has enough time in the day will inevitably be overwhelmed.  We tend to over-commit, because we feel like saying “No” to something reveals weakness.  We fall into the habit of people-pleasing and maintaining the image of being able to juggle a million things at once.   It feels like saying “Yes” is good and saying “No” is bad, but really- isn’t it better to do a few things really well…than do twenty things and constantly be lagging behind and stressing out?  Saying “No,” even to things that are good, frees us up to say “Yes” to the things that are most important.  When I feel overwhelmed, it is often because I am neglecting the important for the urgent.  I may skip quality time with my kids so that I can deliver a meal to a friend or return phone calls.  Ask yourself, “What can I say “No” to so that I can start saying “Yes” to what I value most?”
  3. Prioritize your life.  Really think about that last question…What do you value most?  Spend some time alone,  pray,  and even write out your thoughts on this.  Don’t rush through discovering what really matters to you.  As the saying goes, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”  Who do you want to be?  What do you want your family to represent?  How do you want to be remembered?  Organize your life by these things and plan your days around them.  Plan for the important stuff.  Leave room for what fulfills you and brings you enjoyment and satisfaction.  Create margins in your schedule for the unexpected situations that tend to pop up, but do not live in auto-pilot mode of simply responding to things as they come.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone.  In fact, we all are, if we’re honest.  But you don’t have to stay there all the time.  There is no magic formula for de-stressing your life or taking the chaos out of your days.  But following these three simple steps is guaranteed to make your load feel lighter and your days more manageable.

 

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