Updated: Jun 22
In an article on Psychology Today, it’s mentioned that lack of time and energy are often at the core of our stress. While that’s helpful to know, let’s be honest, we’re more than aware of those scientific findings. We know what stress is, but how can we tackle the immense feeling of overwhelm in moments when we need it most?
Feeling Overwhelmed? Lost Your Identity?
With young children, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of always putting your child first. One of the problems that comes up is a sense of self-loss. Our identities go from being an individual with desires and goals, to simply being Mom. We place our own wants on hold, so we can take care of the needs of our children. They are the focus of our universe. And that’s a beautiful thing—most of the time.
But what happens when you give up your identity and forget to nourish yourself? What happens when you’re so overwhelmed, that you’re no longer able to focus on self-care?
Your ability to cope is challenged, and your well-being crumbles.
In a Parenting Science article by Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., she looks at how outside influences can impact your stress levels. One of the defining characteristics that stood out was the need for support. When we have outside support, we are better able to handle the challenges of parenthood. Economic issues, temperamental issues, being a single parent, and behavioral or emotional issues added to the level of stress.
How to Deal with Mom Guilt
On top of our stress, we then turn on ourselves thinking everybody else in the world handles their issues better than we do. Mom guilt. Ugh. I shouldn’t feel this way. I’m blessed with these angels. How could I be worn out and not grateful for every single second of time with them? This is my job. What do I have to complain about? There are people who have it so much worse than I do…
And the cycle continues.
We beat ourselves up, thinking we’re supposed to be the picture-perfect sitcom moms we see on television. Or we should make hand-baked, lattice-crossed pies with a smile, cooked to perfection, like the moms who seem to have it all together at the school bake-sale.
Meanwhile you’re staring down at overcooked slice-and-bake cookies, feeling like you’ve failed. Maybe if you scrape the bottoms, nobody will notice they were burnt.
I see you smiling. I get it. We all have those moments. Look, there are things that you’re great at, and some things that aren’t your strong point. That’s okay. Maybe the mom who bakes the perfect apple pie doesn’t take the time to pick out fun stories for her kids or read them with enthusiasm that has a four-year-old giggling and begging for another story.
Okay, so now it’s time to look at ways to tackle that stress.
Stress is natural. It’s normal. Stop beating yourself up. Young kids can be a handful. While the kids are bouncing around like they’ve been laced up on sugar all morning, and your regular coping methods aren’t cutting it, what can you do?
Here are some tips to help you deal with your parental stress.
Tips for Tackling Parental Stress
Find a fun outlet that you can do together with your children (ex: go to the community pool, play a game, go for a bike ride, or take up a hobby or sport to do together)
Consider taking a break. Take some me time and rediscover your desires and remember what inspires you, whether you go for a run to clear your head, prefer the spa, or even enjoy the free quiet space at the library)
Try to keep work stress from following you home. Creating boundaries can help alleviate added stress.
Find support with other parents. Connect socially at in-person meet-ups, start a book club, or go online and visit message boards or Facebook groups where you can discuss parental issues with others going through similar circumstances.
Avoid negativity from outside sources, like bad news, stressful shows, or toxic individuals who seem to bring you down. Nix the energy vampires in your life.
Choose your reactions. While things may be out of your control, how you choose to react to those situations is upon you. Choose calm and thoughtful reactions over quick-defensive ones.
If you’re feeling emotional about something, try looking at it logically instead. If you appraise the situation, can you change your perspective? Are you reactive because you’re tired or hungry, rather than truly upset?
Exercise is a great stress buster. Find something you enjoy doing whether it’s kickboxing, yoga, going for a walk or a hike, or anything else you can think of.
Struggle No More. Get Help and Reach your Goals.
Whether you constantly worry that you aren’t doing things right, are anxious that there’s not enough time to keep things running smoothly, or you had different expectations of what motherhood would look like, there’s no point in dwelling on things that you think should happen in a certain way.
There is no certain way. There’s no one right way to do things. There are many ways. Ways to make things work for your family. Ways that allow you both time to cherish yourself and your children.
Your well-being matters. There’s an entire fabric of elements that feed into your well-being, and when you’re stressed, your children become stressed.
Stop setting yourself up to believe you need to be perfect. That doesn’t help anybody, especially, you.
So, how do you let go of this intense and demanding feeling like you’re not doing enough, or things should be different?
How do you recharge and find your confidence? How do you boost your inner strength? How do you look past your perceived problems to see they truly aren’t that big of a deal after all?
With guidance, you can tackle your stress faster, and get to the root of the issue. Learn ways to cope and build your confidence, trusting that you’re doing everything you can. And lastly, how do you act on your desire to move forward and get back in the game? Aren’t you tired of sitting on the sidelines, thinking you don’t have the time or energy to keep going?
With a life coach, there’s accountability. There’s action. There’s a clear, decisive plan that leads you on a path of success. Don’t let mom guilt or time steal your identity and goals. You deserve to be happy and to live a fulfilling life. Happy parents make for happy children. BOOK A FREE CALL NOW
Self-care is a crucial component that’s often overlooked. Moms are supposed to do it all, not complain, and do it with a smile. And yet, so many times you’re worn down, stressed out, and aching for an ounce of your old self back. There’s nothing wrong with that sentiment. You don’t have to give up your identity just because you have children. Instead, embrace who you are, and share your vibrance with your loved ones.
Bring joy back into your family and let go of the guilt. Let go of the need to control every aspect of your life, and remember that you matter, too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelly Hater has over 15 years of coaching experience along with a B.S. in Health Promotion specialized in Exercise Science.
She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout, providing a clear, decisive plan that leads her clients on a path of success. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming struggles herself. Get the accountability needed to take action. BOOK A FREE CALL