Tips To Relieve Mom Stress
Sometimes we go through those truly crazy, hectic, absolutely-more-than-you-can handle mom weeks! You know, the days that make your head spin and you’re left wondering how life was fine one moment and then got hectic the next!
On those days I feel like my responsibilities are overtaking me and my stress level is rising fast. My mind begins to feel cluttered and overwhelmed by all my to-do's and my anxious state makes me absolutely unproductive. That’s when you have to decide if you’re going to burst into tears to moan and groan, or take the bull by the horns and change tactics?
It’s definitely okay to cry and release the stress, but then dust yourself off and take a moment to think deeply about the cause of your stress as a mom. When I did this, I came up with 3 reasons:
When I have more to do and not enough time to do it.
When I'm not prepared in advance for what’s important.
When I don't focus on one thing.
Usually, I’m a very organized person, but since we relocate a lot, my routines and organizational tactics go out the window as I start unpacking our new life. I do think it is one of the causes of my stress as I never stay on top of my game for long.
However, that’s life! Most times we will come across factors that are not in our control and we cannot allow that to get to us. I will share 16 tips that have helped relieve my stress as a mom when the going gets tough.
16 Tips To Relieve Mom Stress
1. I Turn To God
It is important to get into the habit of turning to God for help first. When we feel stressed out, we call a parent, a sister, a friend, or we pick a fight with the ones we love the most. What we may fail to do first and foremost, is ask our Lord to help during our time of need.
2. I Write It Down
I begin to write down everything and anything that needs to get done on paper as a brain dump. It will feel as if you are clearing your mind from clutter and transferring the blockage onto a page for a visual representation. After I write down all my to-do’s, I formulate categories, and put my to-do's under relevant categories to compartmentalize and tackle them from most important to least important.
3. I Become Organized
I start making lists for everything and anything. Organizing is one of the best ways to get yourself on track. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is for a mom. I print out lists for myself and each of my kids (sometimes even hubby has a list). I make the print-outs simple but eye-catching by adding columns, big, clear fonts, and illustrations for younger kids.
Some of my lists will be transferred into charts and hung at appropriate places, and some of my lists will be printed and put inside our home binder. My binder has meal plans, cleaning lists etc., and I set it on a shelf near my kitchen for easy access.
4. I Start Routines
I start to make routines for everything and everyone. Routines form into habits that will be easy to do often. I ensure that everyone knows what to do and when to do it. I make routines that are easy and quick from the lists I hung, and in my home binder. I tell myself and each of my children that every day these tasks need to be complete or there are consequences.
5. I Limit The Web
I begin setting limits on my internet usage. Usually, when I go on the web, I have a purpose or goal, but somewhere along the way, I get distracted by reading something new or checking a link that leads to another link that needs to another link...I think you get the point. I end up taking way longer than I originally planned.
Therefore, I decide to commit to myself that I will only touch my laptop when I have something important to do. I will complete that task only and then go off until I have another important task to complete. I will also remove all notifications except for urgent and family members, and set a time frame to check them.
6. I Use A Timer
I begin to set a timer when doing certain tasks. Sometimes we mean well and start a task only to go too deep into it. Say you intended to wipe a spill in the fridge which would take a minute, but then you got into it and ended up cleaning the entire fridge which took an hour! This caused a chain reaction of making you late to start dinner, which made your kids delayed in finishing homework, and set bedtime late too! This throws you and everyone off and that’s why setting a timer will stop this from happening.
A timer will serve as a reminder to complete a task only in the amount of time you allocate. It works really well when you’re surfing the web. When I go on certain sites that I know can be distracting, like Pinterest and All Recipes, I will set a timer for myself and only browse for the allocated amount of time and force myself to leave. I give myself anywhere from 10-30 mins to surf, but once the buzzer goes, I have to leave the computer to move on to my next task.
7. I Use Bookmarks
I use my computer's bookmark function more. The bookmark option in your browser is a wonderful tool to save online pages for later viewing. On Chrome, you can also allocate categories. I start to bookmark interesting tabs and sites that I want to explore for a time which I’ve allocated to read.
8. I Take A Time Out
I start taking a time out for 10-15 mins. No, I’m not punishing myself but rewarding myself. When we are under pressure, we become overwhelmed and then forgetful which makes you less productive. The best way to declutter one's mind and get back on task is to find some peace and quiet to think. This may not be possible with kids around, so what I do is:
I explain to my children that mommy is feeling stressed and needs to think for a few minutes (kids really understand honesty).
I ask my older kids to keep my younger kids busy by playing with them or reading them a story and I go to my bedroom.
I sit on the floor, close my eyes, meditate, breath, and let my thoughts flow.
I do not take my laptop or phone along as I need time to refocus.
After those minutes, my thoughts start to flow I know what I need to accomplish and I mentally set my steps to get started.
9. I Cut Down Kitchen Prep
I begin to find easier ways to prep for meals. I discovered that when I buy frozen vegetables (onions, potatoes, carrots, spinach, green peppers, celery etc.) instead of fresh it’s easier. I don't need to run to the store last minute for produce, there is no washing, draining, and chopping vegetables before every meal. It also works out more frugal because I don’t have my vegetables go bad on those stressful days weeks when I have no time to check on the produce dates.
I also began to keep the peels on some of my fresh vegetables like potatoes and carrots when I cook, so it saves time and my family hardly noticed! I have also purchased petite potatoes which you simply wash and throw in the pot. Another amazing time-saver is my much loved Instant Pot which saves me hours of cooking time and prep each week.
10. I Cut down on Fussy Eating
I don’t allow my kids to be fussy eaters. It makes me cringe when I see older kids making demands on their poor mom by telling her that they don't eat this and they don't eat that. If your kids are doing this, you need to stop it in its tracks!
For arguments sake, I stick to family favorites and I let each of my kids choose their favorite dishes. This not only helps me with my meal planning but makes my children feel that they had a choice and cuts back on the fussiness. If you're feeding your children healthy, tasty meals, they really do not have no right to complain. The rule in our home is “eat it or leave it - but there are no substitutions”. I never force my kids to eat.
I also make quick meals for my kids when I’m running late. Meals such as smoothies, cereal, PB&J sandwiches etc. are my go-to during stressful days. I don’t have guilt because I remember that I do not do this often. Also, somehow kids love these simple meals and don’t seem to mind one bit.
11. I Make One-Pot Meals
I find recipes for one-pot meals or casseroles that don't need me to make sides. I prepare meals that can be put together in my Instant Pot or in a baking pan or casserole dish in the oven. I make meals such as soups, goulash, chili, stews, pasta casseroles, pilafs, and curries.
I use convenient appliances such as an Instant Pot, rice maker, or slow cooker to save time in the kitchen. I freeze pita, tortilla, or naan bread, so I always have that on hand. You can always make special or time-consuming meals when you're back on track if you and your family enjoys that.
12. I Hand-Out More Chores To My Kids
I start adding more chores for my kids to do. Yes, they will moan and groan, but remember to keep it honest and explain to your kids that you need their help and it’s temporary.
Sometimes moms don’t ask their children enough for help because we like things to be done a certain way. I was that mom and I had to let go of that mentality. I did this by reminding myself that all this is just stuff and I then I took the time time to teach my kids the way I’d like them to complete the task. It takes patience to train, but it helps a lot! I also lowered my expectations when I accepted that they are kids and my standards are mine not theirs.
13. I Reduce House Cleaning
I start to take shortcuts on cleaning our home. I will clean areas of our home thoroughly only once a week, then do quick clean-ups throughout the week to maintain. During the week, I will assign each of my kids an area of the house to keep clean, so it reduces the burden off me.
It also helps a lot to remove clean-ups that are unnecessary, like using a cloth tablecloth that we can shake out into the trash can instead of wiping the table each time we eat.
14. I Declutter And Stop Buying Stuff
I do this all the time and believe in the phrase “less is more”. I notice many homes that have too much stuff! A lot of this stuff makes a home feel cluttered and gets untidy faster - especially with kids! A cluttered space causes a cluttered mind.
Try to reduce your things and give it to charity. My rule of thumb is, “if it doesn't have a purpose or I don’t love it remove it”. Now when I buy anything, I ask myself, “Do I really need this?” and “Where will I put this?” If I do not have the answers, I do not buy it. Live simple and clutter-free and you will be much less stressed.
15. I Take A Mom Break
I start taking precious mom time breaks. I was in the habit of going alone at least once a week to do errands when my kids were young. I would usually take the time when my husband was home and on the weekends.
When I stopped taking mom breaks, I felt less refreshed and got stress-out more often. If your situation does not allow you to go out and take a break when your spouse is home, then make a day and time once in the week, when your kids are at school, or if they're home, put on an educational movie for them, and use that time to do a hobby or something that you love in another area. It makes you a better mom!
16. I Get Help
I will get a mother's helper when all the above steps still do not relieve my stress. If you try to do as much as you can to de-stress, but you still feel under pressure, then that means your load is just too much and you will need to get help. Hire a mother's helper (they are cheaper than a cleaning lady), and get her to do some tasks for you once, twice, or even thrice a week, depending on your budget and your needs.
There is no shame in saying, “I need help” and I talk from experience when I say that getting a helper really, really helps a lot with de-stressing. I personally love getting someone to clean my house instead of watch my kids as I’d rather spend more time with my kids than clean my home.
I truly hope these tips help to ease your mom stress and make you more relaxed. If you have any tips to share that have helped you de-stress, I’d love to hear them in the comments!