Motherhood is a difficult job. There are so many things to juggle and do, it’s easy to become an overwhelmed mom… a burnt-out mom. It’s not always easy to stay positive, even when we’re blessed with the best kids in the world. We are constantly faced with decisions and responsibilities that seem to pile up on us until we feel like there’s no way out of it all.
I am a mom of two, and I want to do my best all the time. I often feel like I’m swimming through a tunnel that keeps getting smaller and smaller. I’m getting worn out and feel like the world is closing in around me. Feeling overwhelmed has become standard in my life.
But there are ways you can change your life for the better, trust me. These little adjustments will have a big impact on how you live day-to-day and enjoy time with your family without feeling stressed out!
In this blog post, we’re going to explore 15 tips that will help ease your overwhelming feelings.
Is It Normal to Feel Overwhelmed As a Mom?
Is it normal to feel overwhelmed as a mom? The answer is resounding: YES. In today’s world, it is incredibly common. If you feel overwhelmed with motherhood, you’re not alone.
But the problem is that modern culture has separated us from our roots. When humans lived in small villages, we had an entire support system there with us when we first became moms. There were other moms to lend advice, grandmothers to take the babies to play or even breastfeed them (seriously!). Children played together while adults took turns watching them, and they didn’t need to pay for daycare.
The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” is so true! But when we don’t have a village at our fingertips for relief and help, what do we do?
Modern life makes mothers feel like they have to do it all, and do it by themselves. Overwhelmed moms are normal moms. No matter who says to you that you should be independent, you don’t have to. Life shouldn’t be this hard. Being a mommy shouldn’t be this hard.
And in the moments when you’re overwhelmed with parenting or life in general, it can be hard to escape. But it is possible.
RELATED POST: My Top 10 Life-Changing Books for Women
Depressed About Returning To Work After Maternity Leave? Read This.
How I Learned to Escape My Overwhelm and Burnout
My feelings of overwhelm started when my second son was born. Going from one child to two was an exponential increase in work and mental load, and it made me contemplate the sanity of all the parents who choose to have 3 or 4 kids…. let alone 8 or 9. (No seriously, if you have more than two kids, you’re a saint in my book.)
Balancing the schedule and needs of a toddler with a baby who nursed constantly was challenging enough, and then I added teaching ESL at 3:00 in the morning and trying to get a blog off the ground.
I was drowning, but I was too tired to notice. My body was feeling softer, less able to handle the same tasks it could previously, and my sleep was sporadic, even when the kids slept.
As the boys have gotten older, I’ve started to notice my feelings of exhaustion and take care of myself. I stopped teaching at 3 am, and I’ve recently started to phase out teaching altogether. I stopped breastfeeding my youngest at one-year-old because I couldn’t do it anymore. I even delegated some household tasks to my husband. I developed more goals.
And I started feeling less exhausted over time. As a mommy, it’s hard to prioritize taking care of ourselves. But when we do, it feels like a huge relief! My energy and heath started to return, and I could tell my strategies were working!
15 Major Tips for Overwhelmed Moms to Reclaim Their Calm
When you’re wondering what to do when you’re overwhelmed as a mom, here’s the answer. These are the strategies that have helped me find a calmer, more balanced life routine and helped to relieve my overwhelm.
1) Acknowledge your feelings.
The first step for an overwhelmed mom is to admit what she is feeling. Although these emotions may not be pleasant, acknowledging them is the first step to healing.
It doesn’t mean that you’re a failure as a wife or mom. It just means that something is out of balance and you will need to act on your feelings and change something in your life.
Ask yourself how you’re really feeling: frustrated? Exhausted? Angry? Resentful? All of these emotions are valid and you’re feeling them for a good reason. Trust your emotions to learn what you should do next.
2) Say no.
Overwhelmed moms should say no to anything they are not sure about. It’s okay if this leads friends and family members to think you’re selfish or uncaring.
You need to take care of yourself first so that you can continue taking care of your children, spouse, and other responsibilities in life. Remember: it is always better for everyone when a mom is rested, happy, and empowered.
As a first step, take the time to evaluate your current commitments and responsibilities before planning anything else for yourself or others in order to get an accurate understanding of how much you can realistically handle.
Once that assessment is completed, it’s important to share this information with those around you so they know what they should expect.
You need to get a break!
RELATED POST: What is Mom-Shaming?
3) Take a moment to express gratitude
Gratitude is often overlooked when we’re stressed.
The simple act of taking a few minutes to express gratitude can help put things in perspective and calm your nerves. If you find yourself struggling, spend five minutes to write down everything that makes you grateful about life or the blessings you’ve experienced so far.
Again, it’s not about toxic positivity or trying to erase all those negative feelings you’re experiencing. But it’s about finding perspective in your life so that you’re not dwelling on the negativity.
4) Ask for help
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can lean on all kinds of other people in your life for support: your own mother or mother-in-law, friends, your partner or husband, or other mothers that you can trade off kiddos with.
You don’t only have to ask for help with the kids, but consider asking someone to help around the house… wash the baby bottles, pick up the 3-year-olds’ toys, or clean the kitchen. If you really need it, ask someone to make you a couple of meals to freeze.
Life can get crazy, but a little help can break your exhaustion!
5) Go outside every day
Overwhelmed moms could exercise or go to the park for some fresh air because it can lower your stress level. (Nature and exercise both help curb stress hormones.)
Also, in general, moms should make sure that they are not completely sedentary and it will also help them get out of their heads and enjoy themselves. I can personally vouch for this!
This is especially important if you’re a mom with a little baby at home. It’s very easy to sit around all day on the couch, nursing the baby and watching The Office for the millionth time. It’s tempting, but it’s not helpful!
There are so many benefits to regular exercise, and often women find that it helps them tap into flow and escape from life for a few moments when they really enjoy it. So make sure you find a way to move that you enjoy!
RELATED POST: Learn to be more present and live in the moment
6) Practice Self-care
Why is this important for moms? Self-care is important because we need to work on our emotional well-being too. When we take care of ourselves, we’re more likely to be able to have the strength and energy to do things for others without feeling depleted or resentful.
When you feel overwhelmed as a mom, it can be easy to justify neglecting your own needs. But when you take time to do things that renew you and make you happy again, not only are you giving yourself the support and love that every human being deserves, but you’re also setting a good example for your kids.
7) Eat healthier food.
Mothers, like everyone, should eat healthily for a number of reasons. It’s important for mom to maintain good health.
Maintaining a healthy diet will provide many great benefits like lower blood sugar, healthier body weight, and lower cholesterol levels. Eating healthy also helps you feel better and more confident.
Junk food and processed foods can also have negative effects on mothers. There is a higher risk of obesity, which can lead to a number of health problems. A poor diet can cause brain fog, gut and digestive issues, mental health issues, and even less productivity and success.
At health food stores, you can typically find all kinds of healthy items that will help save you time, like pre-diced veggies or premade meals that only require reheating.
8) Be protective of your sleep.
Sleep is very important for moms. When our bodies are tired and deprived of sleep, this lack of quality rest can lead to many different problems. We may experience weight gain, poor concentration, and even more frustration. Sleep deprivation also affects the levels of hormones that control appetite, moods, anxiety levels, and empathy.
I know how difficult it can be to get adequate sleep when you’re a mom. The kids get sick, or have nightmares, or wake up an hour too early.
Try this: go to bed shortly after you put the kids to bed.
I know that it’s easy to want to stay up and find some time to yourself, but your body will thank you in the morning! When you wake up and don’t feel tired, you have more energy to take care of yourself and the kids!
9) Make your house safe and organized.
This tip for overwhelmed moms is just one of those tasks that you need to get done, sometime before your child is born or when they are still little. Children need to be able to explore freely while adults are present, which will allow them to have healthy brain development.
This will take a huge load off your mind when your toddler begins to explore. When your house is free from dangerous things and situations, you will feel more at ease in your home.
10) Put your phone down.
I think one of the best ways to reduce overwhelm is to limit how much time you spend on social media. The algorithms that these sites use can often seem like an endless need for more and more excitement.
We get sucked into the arms of these algorithms. And they are so good at what they do, it’s often hard to get out of them without feeling bored, restless, or unmotivated.
Besides, when you view other women’s motherhood through the lens of social media, you’re only seeing the highlights, the good stuff. You’re more likely to become depressed and view yourself as inadequate the more you view other moms’ seemingly perfect lives.
11) Lean on your partner.
Not everything is your responsibility. Although it’s getting better in our society, it is still common for people to view work as the dad’s role and watching the kids as the mom’s role, even for working moms.
This is totally bogus, especially considering that it’s important for children to have meaningful relationships with both their parents.
Ask your partner to get down on the floor and play with the baby so you can have an hour to yourself. Divide up the housework. Make family together time a priority.
It’s also a great idea to connect with your husband or partner at regular times. I know how difficult it can be to find a couple hours a week that you’re both free, but it is essential to your relationship to find some moments alone without the kids. Try after the kids go to bed. Or again rely on others so that you can schedule a date together.
12) Spend time with mom friends and non-mom friends.
It’s a blessing to have other women in our lives who we can connect with for support and share words of wisdom. They can give you different tips and things that worked for them. Or if they aren’t a mother, they can sympathize with you and be there for moral support.
Take time to create meaningful friendships before and after having kids as this is integral to our success as a woman, a mother, and a human. When we don’t have helpful relationships with others, we can become bitter. Relationships help us manage all our feelings, emotions, and stress.
13) Let go
While this tip sounds easy, it can be so difficult. When we fall short, or when we feel overwhelmed or stressed, it’s easy to grasp onto anything that we feel might bring us a measure of comfort. But often we hang onto things like our beliefs, unhealthy habits, or an unhealthy mindset.
But often all three are what’s making us feel overwhelmed in the first place. By changing them and learning how to be more present, we can start feeling better. Overwhelmed moms may have a hard time letting go of control, but there are many benefits to letting go.
Try meditation, visualization, or affirmations to let go.
14) Don’t multitask!
Focus on one thing at a time. As much as you want to multitask, you’ll give yourself a greater sense of accomplishment and relief when you are present and focused on one single item at a time.
The thing with multitasking is that we often believe we are able to do it better and be more productive. But this is a complete falsehood.
The reality is that multitasking will make us less productive because our brains have to divide their focus between tasks. This hampers our ability to stay focused, remember information accurately, and accomplish tasks, especially for overwhelmed moms.
Save time and be more productive by single-tasking instead of multitasking!
15) Seek professional help when necessary
When being an overwhelmed mom becomes your identity and you feel like you may not escape, it’s okay to ask for professional help. Postpartum depression is common and you don’t have to suffer alone.
Here are some resources you can check out if you need professional help:
Postpartum Support International
SAMHSA’s National Helpline
CDC Postpartum Depression Resources
Additional tips for you to try out
Here are a couple more tips for overwhelmed moms:
- get all of your thoughts out of your head and write a brain dump in your journal
- create a schedule each week that you can stick to, but…
- don’t try to control too much. Being flexible is important with kids.
- share parenting successes and faux-pas with your mom friends!
- relish when the kids are old enough to go to school
- try time-blocking
- if something doesn’t work for you, try something different next time
- enjoy what moments you can and live in the present moment
So if you’re feeling like an overwhelmed mom and need a little help, I recommend giving these 15 life-changing tips for overwhelmed moms a try. Whether it’s relying on family and friends, getting more exercise, or altering your mindset, there are solutions out there to make motherhood easier on us all.
What do you think about these tips? Have any of these taken up some space in your brain lately?
Let me know about the ways that you manage with the moments you get stressed and overwhelmed with motherhood in the comments below.
20 Affirmation Cards for Anyone to Use!
Saturday 3rd of December 2022
This is so out of touch. Wreaks of privilege. All these are excellent solutions if you have extended family, a committed partner, excess time, and we’ll behaved kids. You. Don’t. Get. It.
Saturday 3rd of December 2022
You're right. I am privileged.
Our society is not set up to help moms who function under conditions where they don't have extended family, a committed partner, excess time, well behaved kids, or, heck, even neuro-typical kids. I was raised by parents who insisted that "Life's a bitch, suck it up" and that we have to fend for ourselves to survive. I think this "Survival mentality" is pretty common, which, when it permeates a culture, leaves SO many people (mostly women) left without a leg to stand on. But if we were to prop each other up and have a community that could mutually support one another, it would benefit EVERYONE.
I often get sucked into that survival mentality... writing posts to make mothers do more, try to be more, feel better about pushing themselves to the limits, when really, they just need community and love (and time... lots and lots of time).
I have missed the mark on this one. I have failed my fellow mothers. You have challenged me to rewrite this article to be more inclusive and to challenge the status quo. I don't know if I can do it justice, but the least I can do is try.
I can't be that person for you... I can't be your extended family or partner to help support you and give you the time you need. But I CAN tell you that you are a GODDESS for doing what you are doing. You are brave, and wonderful, and you're doing a great job--even if you don't see it. And I hope that you are able to find some solace and peace this holiday season when you need it the most.
Peace and blessings, Dawn
Tuesday 13th of September 2022
This is not a good read how do moms find time to do all this just misleading.
Thursday 15th of September 2022
Hey Mona, sorry this article didn't answer your questions. Motherhood is hard, and it's really difficult to find time as a mom. But the truth is that your time isn't at all what it once was before you had kids, so your perspective needs to shift in order to find the balance you're looking for. You can't assume that things will fall into place, you need to create space for you to have time. That means being intentional with everything you do (as much as you can) instead of just trying to get by moment to moment. There's no simple answer or miracle cure. Little things add up! I hope you find the time you're looking for!