Call this “Portrait of an Overwhelmed Mom”: Laundry piles, a mail mountain on our kitchen table, dinner leftovers that need put away, steamed veggies that need to be processed for my son, and too many reports to finish for work.
Oh, and a shower. I could really use one of those.
This is my reality.
I am a full-time school psychologist with a 60 mile (each way) commute. I am the mother of a beautiful baby boy and a tenacious two-year-old girl, and wife of a pretty fantastic fella.
Did I mention that my family and I are moving in two weeks, and not a box has been packed?
My plate is full—understatement of the year.
Over the past few weeks, I have felt overwhelmed, annoyed, and tired. So tired.
Working motherhood- heck, motherhood in general, can be physically and psychologically exhausting. Aside from using this blog as an avenue to vent my frustrations (blogging is cheaper than psychotherapy!), I want to share the strategies I use to cope when I am feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps it may be useful to my fellow bleary-eyed overwhelmed mom.
Strategies for the overwhelmed mom
Sounds simple, we do it all day, every day. But, taking a minute or two to stop what you are doing, and focus on just breathing can be incredibly soothing.
My messy house and mail pile are irksome, but if I don’t have a little time in the evening to sit down, and lose myself in the latest Lifetime movie, I’m going to be worse off. If you can, embrace the mess, and give yourself the gift of relaxation—even if it is only a few minutes.
3. Ride the crazy.
What I mean by this, is, if you have a lot going on, don’t try to change how you do things. Let things be chaotic for a time if need be. I feel like too often, we see articles about getting organized, or managing time effectively- for me, I’d like to focus on those things in the future, but for now, I just need to get through the next few weeks. I fully accept that things are nuts now, and I’m just going with it.
4. Know that times of great stress and overwhelm are fleeting.
Things will settle down and even out eventually. Knowing this allows me to ride the crazy.
5. Talk to yourself.
For me, when I’m feeling like an overwhelmed mom, or ineffective, I list, out loud, all the things I did that day. Us mothers (and fathers) are pretty amazing when you think about how much we accomplish each day. We prepare meals for little ones, bathe them, dress them, coordinate their care, work outside the home (for me, it’s conducting psychoeducational assessments of school-age children, attending to students in crisis, and writing reports), manage the household, etc. We do so much, and yet, we berate ourselves for the things we don’t do. Instead of putting ourselves down, or committing to doing more, we should laud ourselves for doing the things we already do.
Now it’s your turn. Fellow mothers: how do you manage the chaos of working motherhood?