Are you tired of being tired? Did you just read that and say to yourself, “Huh, tired? Naw, I’m f’in exhausted!”
Is your house a mess? Is laundry pilled up? Dishes in the sink? Toys everywhere?
Are you trying to recall the last time you’ve taken a shower or did your hair?
Is your plate so full you just don’t know where to begin?
If so, you’re in luck because I see you. I’ve been there, and sometimes, I am there.
But, as a mom of three children, under the age of 5, I’ve learned some tips along the way to help me get out of that place of overwhelm. My friends often look at me and say, “I don’t know how you do it!” But, it’s not magic. It’s replicable, and I’m going to share with you how. I’m going to share seven tips to help you create order in your life, manage your home, and keep your sanity.
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My 7 tips to help you get rid of your mom-overwhelm, are:
- Change your mindset. Yes, parenting is hard! It’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But, for many of us, it’s what we prayed for. Small mindset changes can help prevent the feeling of overwhelm. Instead of thinking about all of the things you have to do, try reframing those thoughts and considering them as things you get to do. I learned this tip from a podcast and it has changed my life. Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy all of those tasks on your “get-to-do” list. But, positivity is infectious. Maybe it will rub off on those around you, and maybe your partner, mother, mother-in-law, or whomever you have supporting you will graciously take some of those less desirable things off your plate. But even if they don’t, you’re in control of your emotions and your mindset is everything.
- Make your health a priority. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re not physically or mentally well. And it’s easy to put your health on the back burner when you feel like your plate is too full. Don’t get trapped in this perpetual cycle, instead, be intentional about making your health a priority. Set your health goals, create a plan for achieving them, and make them non-negotiable. Health is something you can’t hide from. If neglected, it will catch up to you. And, trying to care for your family when you’re not well is very difficult. Too often mental health is neglected, don’t let that be true for you. Aim for complete wellness—physical, mental, and spiritual—and find a support group or a mama-friend to help hold you accountable for reaching your health goals.
- Schedule your time wisely. To help with the feeling of overwhelm, take a look at how you spend your time, capture all the things you need to get done, and schedule the time to do them. To get started, grab a paper and pen and think back over the past couple of days. Try to capture everything you did from the time you woke up to the time you laid down for bed. Then think about all the things that you need to do. This may take some time, but, do a brain dump and then add to the list as you think of more. For this exercise focus on your personal and household things, you may find it helpful to later do the same thing for your work tasks. Consider appointments, seasonal cleaning, household maintenance, daily chores, errands, finances, and of course, self-care. Check out this list of “My Top 30 Things That Should Be On Your Calendar” for more inspiration. This list, plus personal coaching allowed me to survive entrepreneurship and “single motherhood” with two toddlers while pregnant when my partner was working on the road as a truck driver. Once you have your lists, it’s time to add them to your calendar. I like to plan from big to small, starting with scheduling all my yearly appointments, then monthly, then weekly, and lastly daily. Aim to plan your daily tasks the day before so you can work most efficiently. Also, keep your list reasonable, think “top three things,” so you can end each day with a sense of accomplishment. And, remember that effective scheduling is fluid, so expect to make changes.
- Get comfortable with saying “no.” As you analyze how you’ve been spending your time, you may find that you’ve been doing things that don’t allow you to make the best use of your time. Some of us have a tendency to do lots of things for lots of people and maybe, just maybe, that’s why you’re overwhelmed. If you’re committed to getting to the new and improved you, a mama who is less overwhelmed, happier, healthier, and more positive, maybe it’s time to start saying “no.” If saying “no” is difficult for you, really go through the process of scheduling your time and you may see that there’s literally not enough time to do those extra things plus the things that you actually need to get done. Just know that saying “no” gets easier over time. The more you say it, the easier it gets, and the more people will respect your boundaries. But, maybe it’s not even a “no,” maybe you can just stop offering, stop signing up, stop volunteering, and start being intentional about doing things that are serving you and your family.
- Set yourself up for success. The whole idea previously mentioned about “planning tomorrow today,” is simply a way to set yourself up for success. Additional time-saving strategies for busy moms include getting organized, meal prepping, and getting ready for the morning the night before. As for organization, getting organized isn’t the hard part, it’s staying organized. I haven’t mastered this yet, but, from those who have, it’s recommended to declutter. By decluttering, and getting rid of things you don’t frequently use, you’ll be able to make sure everything has a place so cleaning up and staying organized can be easier. Now for meal prepping, this not only saves time throughout the week but it allows you to eat healthier and make better food choices. It can also help you save money. Having food ready may stop you from ordering out so frequently. And, saving some cash can definitely help lessen your feelings of overwhelm. Lastly, getting ready for the morning the night before is a huge time saver. For me, laying out our clothes, having the diaper bag ready, having snacks and water bottles for the older kids packed, and anything else we may need set out in advance is the only way I ever make it out of the house on time with three kids. These are just a few ways that I set myself up for success. I recommend you think through how you can save yourself time and make your days flow a little easier.
- Ask for help regularly. I intentionally saved this one for last so you don’t forget it. So many of us moms have this “superwoman complex,” where we feel we have to do it all. Let me tell you, we don’t! We don’t have to do it all and when we stop trying to do it all, we will be less overwhelmed. Ask for help, mama! And, ask regularly. I like to ask for help from my closest friends when I’m doing seasonal work and can use some extra hands. I also ask my partner for help daily. As they say, “teamwork makes the dream work,” and divvying task definitely works for us. So when you’re creating your family calendar, be sure to identify who’s doing what and when. Also, get the kids involved. Little kids love to help out. Get them started young, helping with the things they enjoy doing, and it may just be a habit that continues into those preteen and teenage years.
- Connect with a community of other moms. Don’t underestimate the benefit of having a community of persons with whom can relate to where you are in your life. While I absolutely love my long-time friends, there’s nothing like having other mama-friends who also have babies and young children, and who can understand how hectic my days and nights can be. My two closest friends have preteen and teenage children, so they just can’t relate on the level I need them to. They don’t understand how hard it is for me to go to certain events or do certain activities because I have to nurse or pump every 2-3 hours. Honestly, I don’t think they even understand how leaving my new baby for long periods of time just doesn’t interest me. But, once I connected with other women who also have young children, socializing became a lot easier for me. It’s a great feeling to be able to pick up the phone and talk all things baby with someone who actually has their own questions and concerns about their babies or who just wants to share their baby’s milestones with someone who has no gripes about always talking about your children.
Those are my seven tips for getting rid of mom-overwhelm. These are things that have gotten me through my toughest times, and I feel confident that they will help you as well. As you implement these strategies, please come back here to this blog and share your successes. I’d love to hear how you shift from overwhelm to feelings of peace and calm.
If you’re reading this and think you may be experiencing more than overwhelm and have concerns about your mental health, please consult a mental health provider. Postpartum Support International offers mental health support and resources for birthing families from pregnancy through postpartum.
I hope you found this information helpful. Check out our blog “2022 Black Friday Shopping: 22 Essential Items for Moms’ Self-Care” for recommendations and tips for taking care of yourself which will definitely help with the overwhelm. Subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and tools and join our free Facebook group (M.A.M.A.| Safe, Peaceful, & Joyous Childbirth Experiences) to be connected to a network of other birthing mamas supporting each other along their childbirth journeys, from pregnancy through early parenting.