- I had no idea it would be this hard
- I had no idea how little time I would have for myself
- I never realized how all consuming being a mother was
- I wish I had known that being a mom is a full time job – and then some
The first piece of advice that the seasoned moms generally offered to every question I asked them was to step back, take a deep breath, and relax. Feeling overwhelmed is normal, and it won’t last forever.
Being a young mom is so hard, so unfamiliar, and so demanding, but you don’t have to feel like a stranger in a strange land. There are a few things you can start doing today to make the enormity of the task seem just a bit more manageable.
- Find contentment where you are. Set your feelings as a mom aside for a moment to focus on some contentment. This will calm your restless spirit and renew both your heart and your mind before you move forward.
- Find wise women to model yourself after. These are women you admire, women whose older children you admire, women who have traveled this road before. Whether they are women in books, mom bloggers, or even moms you admire on television, find them. These can also be women you connect with in a Facebook group and of course women you know in person. Find these women and become students of how they carry themselves. My kids and I have watched 7th Heaven together for years. The mom on that show, Annie, always inspires me. She is always so calm and patient. I realize it is a show, but through being a student of her character I always come away having learned something I can apply in my own life.
- After finding some qualities in these women that you admire, develop a plan in how to implement these qualities. For example, if you see patience and want to implement that, your plan could be giving yourself a “timeout” the next time you are going to open your mouth to come just a bit unglued toward one or all of your children. My post on being a former yeller has some great tips in this area. Developing a plan in even one area will lessen that overwhelming feeling that you have.
- Develop a basic routine and a schedule to your days and stick by it. Things like getting up at the same time every day, following the same morning routine (here’s mine), and having meals at the same time of day provide your day with direction. You and I both know that every day is filled with roadblocks to whatever plans you make, but having a structure in place with regards to a few regular activities provides you with anchor points in your day. Clinging to these anchor points puts you back in control of certain aspects of your day – and of your life. Making lists give you direction and is a close cousin to having a routine.
- Take care of things as they occur. For example, when you get out of bed, make it. When you get dressed, take care of your pajamas, when you finish your coffee, put your cup in the dishwasher. This eliminates the creation of things to just pile up and pile up making your world feel cluttered. If you have a toddler, a teenager, or kids anywhere in between, actually, they leave plenty of
tornadoesclutter around all on their own. Take a few small steps to maintain order as life happens.
- Add some calm to your day. I have mentioned before that it is amazing what putting some Enya on the radio does to the people in my house. It truly does bring everything down at least a notch or two. So does burning a nice scented candle (safely of course) and making one room pretty. This concept is the reason why I developed this technique to hide clutter in my own life. Having stuff everywhere greatly increases my blood pressure. Find what makes your blood pressure rise and develop a way to combat it, even if it is only a temporary fix as these baskets and bins are to hide clutter in my home.
- Finally, accept your limitations. Develop a realistic attitude. As much as I could take things away from Annie on 7th Heaven, her life is also not completely realistic. This is just one example of how I have developed a realistic attitude. Do you have three kids who are three and under? I did, too. Your life is going to look different from mine or someone else who has older kids. I always say I have seven kids, which can seem like a lot (and at times it is), but I tell other moms that having seven children is so much easier than having only little children who were completely dependent on me was. I have constant help in my older kids, you do not if you are the only one with your kids most of the time. Please know I understand, I have lived it, and so have so many of the seasoned moms who have shared wisdom here and will continue to share wisdom throughout the series.
If you find yourself wondering what in the world you have gotten yourself into, step back and find some peace, find some women who can offer the guidance you desire, develop a plan and a routine focused on becoming the kind of mom you want to be, and find simple ways to find peace in the midst of your crazy day, but also be sure to set realistic goals and expectations for yourself as a mom while also knowing that we all have limitations. Goodness knows I have done what I have needed to in order to make it through the day.
Throughout the rest of May we will be tackling other issues – things like dealing with kids who don’t listen, how to connect with other moms, and how to raise good kids in a culture that can be so bad at times.
Finally, know that you’re doing a great job. You are looking to learn and grow as a mom, and you are in the right place. Come back tomorrow and find Hope for the Overwhelmed Mom. If you prefer, you can subscribe and get the hope delivered right to your inbox every evening.
Either way, see you tomorrow!