It is SO easy to feel overwhelmed as a mom, especially a new mom. Here are a few helpful, practical tips for overwhelmed moms (so you can feel more like yourself)!
Is It Normal to Feel Overwhelmed as A Mother?
In past times, moms lived in a tight-knit community and had lots of support from family and friends nearby. In today’s modern US culture (and other cultures around the world), we are isolated from necessary support as we raise kids, especially really little ones.
Even though you might feel like you have to, you don’t have to be a super mom and do it all!
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Brené Brown, in her book, Atlas of the Heart, describes overwhelm as:
an extreme level of stress, an emotional and/or cognitive intensity to the point of feeling unable to function.Brown Brené. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience, Random House, New York, NY, 2021, p. 6.
Have you ever felt that way?
How Do I Stop Being Overwhelmed as A Mother?
I remember feeling overwhelmed when I found out I was pregnant with my second child.
More children = more potential overwhelm, although I was married at the time and honestly things were fairly good.
Fast forward a few years and I was a divorced single mom with 2 small kids, ages 5 and 3.
Talk about overwhelm! I didn’t know what that was before!
I think every single mom has moments (maybe many of them) where she feels overwhelmed.
If you frequently and consistently feel overwhelmed, there are some things you can do to help yourself!
Tips for Overwhelmed Moms (or How Do You Fix Mom Burnout?)
These simple tips will help you conquer that overwhelmed mom feeling!
1. Choose Your Priorities
Often, when I feel overwhelmed I know it is because I am trying to do all the things all by myself. Ugh.
When I take time to sort out the “must-do” items from the “nice-to-have-done” items then I realize that one simple way I can help my overwhelm is simply by prioritizing.
At one time in the recent past my priorities were:
- Feed the kids
- Clothe the kids
- Keep the kids alive
I have since survived those days (I think!) and now my priorities have shifted a little bit.
What is an absolute priority in your life?
- Write these priorities down (but not too many of them!)
- Put them into your schedule
- Do the most important ones first
It can help a lot if you take time to plan your week in advance.
I have this magnetic fridge planner and I love it! I update it weekly and check it daily and it helps me feel a bit more organized and less overwhelmed (and more mentally prepared – haha!)
2. Let The Rest Go
Let anything unnecessary go and just say no!
Are the kids fed, clothed, and happy? Great!
Seriously, though, it is 100% fine if your house or your meals or your life are not Pinterest-perfect.
If it helps, you can follow these simple steps:
- Make a master list of all the tasks you have (daily, weekly, monthly)
- Which ones do you absolutely need to do?
- Which ones can you let go of for now? (For the week, month, year…)
- Tackle the priorities first, then if you have time, energy, and willpower, do some of the others.
Remember, it doesn’t matter if the toys are scattered around the floor on a daily basis! (This is what I have to tell myself frequently!)
3. Enlist Help
After you have figured out what is a priority and what isn’t, next see if there is anything in the priority category that you can get help with.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Make sure that your husband and kids are contributing on a regular basis.
This is a great way to partner with your husband. You can build a bond as a team and it will help relieve your burden.
And don’t pass up the opportunity to teach your kids responsibility and resilience!
Kids can learn a great deal from doing chores. You can use a Chore Chart for Kids to teach them financial responsibility or simple Chore Cards to keep them on track.
What can YOU get help with?
Here are things you can you outsource if you have the budget:
- House cleaning
- Grocery pickup or delivery
- Yard work or lawn care
If, like me, you are single and don’t have lots of extra room in your budget to outsource, make friends with other moms and trade babysitting or chores.
Hire a young teen (cheaper than a nanny) a few hours a week so you can do errands or take time to yourself.
4. Prioritize Taking Care of Yourself
As a mom, it’s easy to put yourself last, but the truth is that you can’t fill from an empty cup!
If you feel overwhelmed often, then you aren’t making enough time for yourself.
As a single mom, this is really hard for me, but I honestly have to make sure that I have times when I do things that I really enjoy and schedule time away from my kids (and not to wait until I’m on my last nerve!).
Fill your own tank so you have energy and strength to give to your family and respond accurately to daily situations that come up.
Taking care of yourself also helps:
- Set a good example for your kids (so they don’t grow up and overwork themselves – or expect that this is what all moms do!)
- You to not give up on your dreams!
- Give your soul joy
- You find something that you enjoy for yourself.
A few more specific and very important points:
Get Enough Rest
I know this is really hard for moms, especially with very young kids, but it’s important because rest:
- Give you energy
- Helps you keep up your mood
- Lowers anxiety
- Helps you concentrate
I remember some days where I was so tired I went to bed right after my kids did and I slept long and hard and woke up feeling better!
Eating healthy is so beneficial because it:
- Keeps you in good health
- Gives you energy
- Boosts your confidence and spirits
- Prevents illness
If you need help getting on track with eating healthy, try meal planning.
Also, get outside and get fresh air every day. Go for a short walk.
Schedule a Regular Day Off
Have a day off? What?!?
Yes, regularly take a day off for yourself! (You’ll thank yourself!).
If necessary, don’t be ashamed to seek out therapy.
Too many moms suffer from postpartum depression or negative effects from their past.
You don’t have to!
Get help if you need it. This is so important for your long-term health, parenting, and the long-term future effect on your kids.
5. Spend Time in Person with Real Friends
You need to make time to be with real adults in real life.
Connect with other moms (or women who aren’t moms!).
Set up play dates or coffee dates.
Make connections with others an important part of your life.
Also, avoid excessive social media.
Too much time on social media can have harmful effects because:
- It’s too easy to compare your real life to the social media snippet highlights of another mom’s life (and think they are doing a better job than you!)
- It’s addicting.
- You can waste a lot of time.
If you can’t give up social media completely (me!), set a limit and use a timer each day (like for 10-15 minutes). When it goes off, put away your social media!
6. Speak Kindly to Yourself
When you are in the trenches of being a mom, it’s easy to be hard on yourself.
Instead, remember times you have conquered in the past. This helps you to:
- Keep in mind past difficulties that you have made it through
- Focus on the positive
Did you keep small humans alive today? Great! You succeeded!
You can use Mom Affirmation Cards and repeat the positive phrases ofter during the day to help them stick in your brain.
Positive Affirmations for Moms
7. Set Boundaries (in other words “Learn to Say No”)
Go on! Say it!
Saying “yes” to everything is a sure path to mom overwhelm!
Can you drive my kids to school? No
We need a volunteer to head this fundraiser. Can you help? No
Can you help out in the classroom twice a week? No
Be careful and selective in what you choose to say “yes” to.
8. Practice Gratitude
Choosing to be grateful (even in tough times) is a sure remedy against all sorts of things (envy, pity, sorrow for self…).
Practice having an “attitude of gratitude” and teach your kids to do the same.
Single Mom Burnout
Working Mom Schedule
Time Management Tips for Working Moms
What to Say to An Overwhelmed Mom?
Finally, if you know a mom who is overwhelmed, be sure to acknowledge how they feel and find ways to help them out – through your encouraging and uplifting words and also with your practical hands-on help!
Final Thoughts on These Simple, Practical Tips for Overwhelmed Moms
You don’t have to live a life of overwhelm! Try these simple tips for overwhelmed moms and fill your own cup. What have you done that has helped when you feel overwhelmed?