Tips For Overwhelmed Moms
Are you feeling swamped, overwhelmed, too busy, barely keeping your head above water or just plain sad?
I feel you! Not only have I been there, but I am right in the stinking middle of it! Now hear me on this – I am not talking about clinical depression!! I am talking about the general feeling of unhappy and feeling like you are failing in a million little ways.
I’ve spent the last 3 weeks trying to get to the bottom of my feelings of sadness and here is what I know. I moved from beautiful, busy, warm, successful, sunny Fort Lauderdale to a slower, sweeter, friendlier, colder Knoxville, TN. I will adjust, I will be great, I will be on top of my game again soon.
But the last few weeks have been a struggle for me, as I am on the verge of tears at all times. Here is the thing, I can’t change the fact that I now life in Knoxville or that I have no friends here and it is 35 degrees in the morning. So, what can I change?
I can change the non-stop running list of things I feel like I need to get perfectly done every day.
Many of you are in situations that are just a little too much for you right now. So, my suggestion is to do what I did, I know it works, because I woke up feeling a million times better today!
First, make a list of everything that goes through your head on the daily that you “need” to get done. Ex: wake up early, track your food, exercise early, get the kids ready for school, do the dishes, do the laundry, vacuum the floor, make the beds, put some makeup on, make out with your spouse, earn some money, do your church activities, get kids to sports, organize family calendar, grocery shop, prepare meals, lose weight, follow a healthy diet, keep everyone on task all around the house, and on and on.
Once you have written out all of the things you feel responsible for on any given day, write these things, each on top of a different page.
1. Lower Expectations / Let Go Of
2. Delegate / Share With Partner
3. Focus On / Joyful
Now go through your list again and assign each thing to one of the pages.
For all of my persistent perfectionists out there (I am speaking to myself), #1 does not have to be forever! There may be things on that page that are important to you, but they just are just weighing you down in your current situation, so you need to put them on the back burner. For me right now, that is sticking to a specific eating plan, counting macros, intermittent fasting and losing weight. I want to do those things, but right now isn’t the best time for me, so I will move them.
For my momma’s who want everything done their way, you will have to relax those feelings for #2. I know this is hard for you, but I promise, it will feel better to share responsibilities and take some weight off of your shoulders, than to have the dishes facing the correct way in the dishwasher! What are some things I am going to ask my hubby to help with? A couple of days a week I will ask him to be responsible for getting my youngest son up for school, fed, and ready (logged in to school and desk set up); I can use this time to sleep in or go to the gym or for a walk. I will also ask him to be responsible for bath and bedtime some days of the week so that I can catch up on work, go to the gym or just go wander around target alone if I want. The hardest part of this step is acknowledging that he won’t do it like you do, but it is okay! No one will be seriously harmed because dad used the wrong shampoo on the kid’s hair or folded the laundry wrong, I promise!
Finally, list #3 is the best list!! These are the things that not only bring you joy, but move you closer to your goals. So while things in list 1 or 2, don’t move your closer to your dream life, list 3 does!
What falls in this list for me? Reading my scriptures every day, I know that isn’t important to everyone, but it grounds me and helps me not feel alone. Working out at least 30 min a day is on my list, but keep in mind that working out early in the morning moved to list #1; working out is important to me and I actually love it, but the stress of getting it done in the morning or feeling like a failure is not necessary. Getting things done to grow my business goes on this list; growing my income is way more important than getting the laundry put away! And some form of personal development or being coached is a must have for me; learning daily brings me joy and also helps me in my business.
Your list will be totally different than mine depending on your job, how many kids you have, how old they are and whether you are single or married (for my single moms, I suggest you get okay with asking for help. Allowing people to help me is the only way I survived during my 8 years of single motherhood!). And what goes in what column will also vary depending on your goals. For instance, some of you may really, really, want to lose weight, so things I moved to list #1, may fall in your list #3.
Be open, honest, and flexible and remember that Perfectionism is impossible! Choose to be brave enough to take imperfect action. If you don’t change anything, you will be in this same situation 6 months from now. I hope this helps you change a few things, lighten your self-imposed load, and move closer to your dreams.