Being a mom is hard. I don’t care if you have one child or fifteen. Taking care of another human being day in and day out is exhausting. Are you an overwhelmed mom?
I know a lot of moms who feel stressed because well, I do and I refuse to believe that I’m the only one and almost every mom in my bible study says the same thing!
I don’t have this mom thing down pat, but I have come across of few gems over the years to help me deal with the stress, lighten my mental load, and be a little more patient with my kids. Today, I’d like to share five of those parenting gems with you!
Before I had kids, I felt like I remembered everything. Got a dentist appointment in two weeks? I remembered. Need to pick up eggs and milk on the way home from work? No problem. Bathroom gets cleaned on Saturday? Done. (or, if it didn’t get done it’s just because I hate cleaning bathrooms and ignored it on purpose!)
But, after I became a Mom……whew! I feel like I forget everything! I do use a To Do List, but that means I have to remember what to put on the list in the first place. And, I’ll just be honest, one of the things I’m bad at is cleaning because….well, I just don’t like to do it. So, I would make my To Do List and the thought of putting my cleaning tasks for the day on it wouldn’t even cross my mind.
Then, one day I thought, what if I put my cleaning schedule on my phone and make it remind me?! Genius.
So, now my phone reminds me three times a week to pick up the toys. Monday afternoons at 3pm it reminds me to vacuum. Thursday mornings at 10am? Bathroom cleaning time!
I went to my calendar and created an event. Then, named the event for whatever cleaning task I wanted to be reminded of. Enter the time you want to do the cleaning task and set a remind for the time of event. Then, set it to repeat weekly.
Here are the cleaning tasks that I have set in my phone to give you some ideas:
pick up toys
You can use your phone to remind you about things besides cleaning, too. Maybe you like to go to the gym for an exercise class, but always seem to miss the start time. Put a reminder on your phone for 1 hour before.
Are you a working mom who gets so busy in the evenings that you sometimes forget to get down on the floor and play or read with your kids? Set a reminder.
I know for myself, and a lot of moms, I think, we feel like we have to do it all ourselves. But, we don’t. Learn to use the resources you have to take a little bit of the mental load off and you just might feel a bit….lighter. I know I did.
How to Stop Yelling
I used to teach high school math. A lot of people say they could never teach high school. I loved my students. And I never yelled at them. I taught for six years and I think I yelled once and then I felt really bad later and apologized.
But, I when I had children of my own, I felt like all I did was yell at them! What is that?! I mean, I love them more than life itself and I couldn’t stop yelling at them.
I felt stressed out, so I yelled. And that made me feel more stressed out.
Then, one day I changed something and it really helped. I started singing to my kids when I was about to yell at them. I’m not talking Twinkle Twinkle Little Star here, I mean singing “Pleeeeease, go get your shooooooes on riiiiight nooooow”.
And you know what? They listened. In fact, they loved it! And I didn’t get mad. The singing actually helped me stay relaxed.
If you are a mom who feels like she yells at your kids all the time and you want to stop, try singing at them instead. You may feel silly at first, but I’d rather feel silly than mad and stressed out!
Overwhelmed Mom? Lower Your Bar
I love Pinterest. And I love Facebook. I’m a very visual person, so I love how Pinterest is basically like a visual Google. And I love Facebook because it lets me keep in touch with family from a far.
But, I don’t love the feeling that I get for a split second when I see a post of someone’s house and it’s perfectly clean. Or, if someone did something really cool with their kids and they had to prepare and plan and get supplies ready and I think “oh, I should do more things with my kids.” Those feelings are not good.
And I do plenty with my kids. In fact, we homeschool, I do stuff with my kids all day long! But, social media is great at making moms feel like they have to meet this high jump record for motherhood.
Well, you don’t.
It’s time to lower the bar. The bar for housework. The bar for meal prep. The bar for parenting. Lower them all.
Now, I don’t mean for you to just sit on the couch and scroll social media all day while your kids watch TV.
But, it is time for moms to realize that you have kids at home, so your house isn’t going to be perfect. You don’t have time to clean all day, every day.
You’re busy being a fantastic Mom, so dinner isn’t always going to be perfect.
And, you don’t have to play with your kids all day every day. In fact, research shows that it’s better if you let them play on their own a portion of the time.
So, ditch that feeling like your life has to be social media perfect all the time. You’ll feel a lot better.
Overwhelmed Mom, You Are Not an Island
You love being a mom, but you hate feeling like a maid.
When you’re kids were little, you did have to do everything for them. But, somehow, as they got a little older…..you kept doing everything for them!
It’s such an easy trap to get into. I only recently realized that I was just doing a lot of things that my kids could be doing either 1) for themselves or 2) to help around the house.
For some reason, a lot of moms have trouble making that transition from “they need us to do everything” to “they can do a lot of things”. I definitely did.
But, recently, I have made the intentional effort to ask my kids (and husband) to do more. My kids are 7, almost 5, and almost 3, and here are something things I have delegated…for the most part:
Feeding the dog...we made a schedule and each girl gets two days a week and Mom/Dad get one. Even my toddler can do this.
Putting clothes away…I fold them and they put them away. This required me to accept that their dressers might not be organized exactly how I would do it (as in, everything is crammed into one drawer), but I have faith they will grow into it.
Putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher…I used to pick up everyone’s dirty dishes from the table and put them in the dishwasher. I still sometimes get them, but I also say “girls, get your plates and put them in the dishwasher”. This took a little training just to show them where their plates go, etc, but well worth it. The other day we were at a friend’s house and my toddler had some water and then said “where your dishwasher?” Definitely a proud mom moment there!
Cleaning…when I was growing up, our Dad made me and my two brothers clean a bathroom once a week. And he would inspect it. I hated it, but I learned to clean. Apparently it stemmed from his college roommate not even knowing that you needed to clean a bathroom…”when I’m a parent….”. My girls aren’t doing full house cleaning (yet), but they have started helping in the bathrooms and dusting. I use Seventh Generation cleaning wipes and they help wipe down counters and toilets. I use Ecloths for the mirrors and they help with that. For dusting, they each get a microfiber cloth and go to town on the bookshelves, etc.
If your kids aren’t helping around the house, a simple way to get started is to just ask them to do something instead of you doing it.
For example, you bend down to pick up the basket of toys that are spread all over the kitchen floor….again….but, instead of picking them up, you stand back up and say “Susiiiiie, come put these toys back in the basket when you’re done X”. Then, it gets done and you didn’t do it!
It might take a while to get in the habit of delegating things a bit more, but you’ll get the hang of it, and you’ll be happy you did.
Shrink Your List
Whenever I start a To Do List, I can feel my motivation to be productive increase. Writing that list gives me the feeling like I’m going to be productive today! and then, at the end of the day, I’ve crossed off about two things and my feeling of motivation and optimism morph into feelings of disappointment.
This ever happen to you?
But, you know what? There were 20 things on my To Do List. There’s no way I was going to get it all done. The moment I started writing that list, I was setting myself up for failure.
Because my expectations for how much I can actually get done in a day were unrealistic.
One simple way to release a little bit of that overwhelming feeling of motherhood is to simply expect to get less done.
If you are an overwhelmed mom and your list for most days has 15-20 things and you’ve got a crowd of little ones following you around all day, there’s no way you’re going to get all those tasks completed.
I once read that your To Do List for the day should fit on a sticky note. If it’s any longer than that, you are setting your self up for failure and disappointment because you won’t be able to cross off all your tasks and that leads to feeling like you didn’t get anything done.
But, if you keep your list to, say, five tasks, then you have a much better chance of getting them checked off. And there is just something about crossing those chores off your list that motivates you to get the other things done.
If you often feel like you “got nothing done today”, then I encourage you to keep a (very short) To Do List and cross the tasks off as they are completed. You’ll be surprised how much you can actually get done.
Slow and Steady
There are some good, meaty ideas here. I suggest you pick one or two and try and work them into your daily routine. Once that habit has become, well, a habit, add something else in.
And don’t expect perfection. You are a busy mom with a busy house. It’s not going to be spotless or clutter free all the time. But, it can be better. And you can feel lighter.
I hope you enjoyed these ideas and you find them useful. Do you have other tips for busy moms to feel less overwhelmed and more organized during their days? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!