What do you call a stressed-out mom? That’s simple, a mom! According to a recent survey 70% of mothers found being a mother to be incredibly stressful and 96% agree that they are under more stress than their mothers were raising them. If you believe social media every other mother’s house is completely clean, they cook gourmet meals, their children are wearing perfect ensemble of clothes and never throw a temper tantrum. But let’s face it, the second the camera isn’t on, their lives probably look a whole lot like yours. You might feel that you can’t keep it together, but Mama you are rocking it. You are keeping little humans alive and that is a huge accomplishment because they certainly don’t make it easy. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So, here are some tips and tricks to make sure you carve out some very coveted “Mom” time in your day.
- Learn your stress signs. This can be a little different for everyone, but common signs are feeling your heart rate increases, your voice gets louder and your level of patience deteriorates. Tune into your body and when these things start to happen learn to step away and bring yourself back down before the yelling ensues.
- Give yourself permission to take breaks. Mommy guilt is completely paired with stress. As moms we feel that if we are not taking care of our kids, we’re terrible mothers. Quite the opposite is true, spending time taking care of yourself and your needs is what makes you a GREAT mother. One idea is taking a mommy time out, step away for 5 minutes to listen to a meditation app, work on breathing or write in your journal.
- Create solutions for the trouble times in your schedule. Maybe you have identified a sticky spot in your day that you know will be tough like getting everyone out the door for school, or when everyone comes home and there is dinner to be made and homework to be done. Evaluate what makes it so chaotic and find ways to allow things to run more smoothly. Could you pack lunches and prep breakfast the night before? If your kids have a hard time getting out of bed could you set alarms earlier?
- Focus on your breath. As people when we are stressed out, we resort to less efficient ways of breathing using our upper chest and taking very shallow breaths. This gives less oxygen to our body and tells our brain we are stressed out causing a chain reaction. To stop this process in its tracks you must teach yourself how to breathe deeply into your belly, taking your time. Place one hand on your chest and the other over your abdomen. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold it for 2, breathe out for 6, hold for 2 and repeat. Practice the art of taking less in and letting go of more!
- Exercise as a family. Exercise is a great way to deal with both mental and physical stress. It helps to release positive hormones, aids in digestion and helps with sleep. Another benefit is it will help teach your children good habits and wear them out in the process. It doesn’t really matter what you do if you are moving your body. Anything from a walk out in nature, to riding a bike, playing basketball or having a dance off in your living room counts as exercise.
- Laughter is the best medicine! We all hold stress somewhere in our body, such as our hips, shoulders or just right on our face. It has been proven through research that if you laugh, smile, giggle and relaxes your face and subsequently helps to relieve tension that causes stress. Have a good time with your family, be spontaneous and find more ways to laugh until you cry.
- Have a support system. It has been said that raising kids takes a village. That used to actually be true, whole villages would support the parents of a child and that was normal. Fast forward to today and you are supposed to work, raise a perfect family and look good doing it. Life has gotten infinitely more stressful and the demands on parents keep increasing. We aren’t meant to do it alone so whether it is your family, friends, a parenting group, your neighbors, friends, community groups it doesn’t matter but surround yourself with people that will help you and support yourself with their time and relationships. You need an outlet, so does everyone. Schedule date nights with your significant other, putting that time aside should be sacred. Make sure you have nights planned with friends and no kids allowed where you can express what you are going through to others who understand. Yes, being a parent means making sacrifices, but it does not mean you still don’t get to have fun!