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January 9, 2021

Is the Stress and Guilt of Motherhood Getting You Down?

Stress, UGH!! Who doesn’t have stress in their life? Everybody and every body endures stress. It’s exhausting, it’s defeating, it’s life!

If you’re a mom, I bet you think that you have the market cornered and I would agree. Why? Because moms are naturally nurturing and worry about so much, including things that we have no business worrying about. So, before we really get started, I want you to examine what you have control over and what you don’t. Focus your thoughts on what you can improve with your time and forget about all that other stuff that’s out there.

Let’s first examine exactly what guilt & stress are defined as.

GUILT: Feeling responsible or regretful for a perceived offense, real or imagined.

STRESS: A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

Great definitions right and I can see you nodding your head right now. So, what can you do about it all?

ASK YOURSELF these questions first.

  1. Are you human?
  2. Do humans make mistakes?
  3. Are do-overs allowed in life?
  4. Can you apologize?
  5. Can you be pro-active the next time to avoid the mistake or problem?

Here’s the reality… Moms are faced with a lot of challenges, time constraints, responsibilities, decisions, schedules and let’s not forget that really BIG job of molding a successful adult out of a very small child. It seems like ‘Mission Impossible’, but honestly, it’s the most worthwhile thing you will ever do. I have had many accomplishments in my life, but nothing rises above the children that I have raised that have become confident, self-sufficient, happy adults who are now parenting families of their own.

Life can get in the way of our best plans and usually does, so how will you handle it?

For example, in your haste to get out the door, you forget your child’s lunch or forget the diaper bag or forget to brush your child’s teeth or forget your phone, or, or, or. Your first thought might have been any one of these. “What kind of mother am I? How could I have forgotten to do this?” “What am I doing?” “What is wrong with me?” “Whatever made me think I could be a Super Mom?” “I’m losing my mind!”

I hope you know that you are not the first mom to have these thoughts, I have too.

We have all gone through self-doubt at one time or another and probably more often than we would like to admit. Sh*t happens, appointments get missed, things get forgotten. Welcome to life, when things don’t always go your way. The question is, how will you handle it when life throws you lemons? Will you make lemonade, or will you get knocked out by a flying lemon? Did you know that the way you handle these situations, will teach your child how to handle a disappointment too?

I know what you’re going to say, “But this is my daily struggle. When I’m not rushing around and stressing out, I’m feeling guilty for rushing around, stressing out my kids and making everyone’s life miserable, especially mine. What’s a Mother to do?”

These thoughts should be a wake-up call for you, that something needs to change, and it is time you get started doing something about it.

First off, calm down! That’s right, calm down and relax. How you react to these times, directly teaches your kids how to react to challenging situations. The more you’re stressed and reacting adversely to the stress, the more stress they will feel.

Secondly, stop feeling guilty over being human. Is your guilt helping you or helping your stress? I’ll answer that for you, it’s adding to the stress.  So, let’s look at this situation calmly and rationally and examine how we can become part of the solution instead of being the creator of more problems. Becoming pro-active will help you avoid the chaos, reduce the stress and drop the guilt. It will help you get more organized and less scatter-brained.

JUMP START YOUR DAY THE PRO-ACTIVE WAY

  1. WAKE UP at least ½ hour before your kids do to allow for some ‘ME’ time and some calm prep time.
  2. WAKE YOUR KIDS UP at least one hour before they have to leave to allow them to wake up, get moving, have a good breakfast and not feel like they are constantly being rushed out the door. Including 10-15 minutes of play time in your morning routine, will go a long way to creating more smiles when they have to leave. Bonus, it will help encourage them to finish other tasks in a timely manner, so that they have extra time to play before they have to go and start their day.
  3. The night before plays a huge roll in making your morning routine more manageable and less chaotic. Set out YOUR clothes and have your kids set out THEIR clothes. If you have little ones, you can help them set out clothes for the morning, so they learn, and it becomes a normal part of their evening routine. Work together to prepare lunch boxes. Pack diaper bags, backpacks, briefcases, equipment, whatever is needed to start everyone’s day.
  4. Set up a bin or crate near the front door. Put everything you need for the morning into that bin, so you have it all in one place and it is ready to take with you when it’s time to go.
  5. Prepare GRAB-N-GO FOOD in your fridge for snacks and meals, such as hard-boiled eggs, celery, carrots, grapes, oranges, etc. Make your own trail mix: seeds, nuts, dried fruit and put it in snack baggies for a healthy, energizing snack that everyone can eat during the day or in the car. Prepare foods for the car that won’t go bad with the change of temperature. This avoids having to deal with irritability when your kids get hungry, there’s nothing for them to eat and you find yourself making an unexpected drive through a fast-food restaurant to satisfy their hunger. Now you won’t need to, saving money and time.  Don’t forget to let your kids help you prepare for the next day, no need to take it all on yourself.
  6. Set ALARMS in your phone for all of your appointments. (My kids are always laughing at all the alarms that go off in my phone, but I never miss an appointment.)
  7. Create a realistic DAILY SCHEDULE that is all-inclusive. Bonus points when you have your kids set up that schedule with you. (Are you getting that you need to involve your kids in the family planning?) Don’t forget meals, drive times from one place to another, appointments, school, family time, church, homework, relaxation, bedtimes, etc. Whatever you do in a day should be on this schedule, this avoids overlapping times and added stress. Set up routines to plug into the schedule (ex: morning routine, evening routine, after school routine, etc.)
  8. Don’t OVER-SCHEDULE you or your kids. This is a huge cause of added stress and unnecessary chaos for all of you. Remember, you all need down time.

It’s time to get started. The sooner you start, the better you and your kids will feel.

Put all of this into play for your day and there won’t be time for guilt. Your life will calm down and stress will be at a minimum. If a mistake happens, apologize if needed, be authentic with your kids about why it happened. This is a good reminder that we are all human and offers an opportunity to brainstorm together to find different ways to make it go smoother the next time.

The family that empowers each other and works together, feels motivated, respected, happy and loved. Where’s the guilt and stress? Well, it may show its face once in a while, but now you have the tools to send it on its way.

You’re a MOM, the single most important job in the world, so get out there, do your thing, tap yourself on the back once in a while and shine! YOU ARE CONQUERING THE TOUGHEST MOST WORTHWHILE JOB IN THE WORLD. Why do we do this? Because we are raising adults, not kids! Go forth and conquer!

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