Overwhelmed Mom Tips ?

Updated on December 22, 2018
E.C. asks from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
16 answers

Hi moms, i am in need of tips, hacks or just new ideas as I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and stressed with daily routine. I wake up & take my 3 kids to 3 different schools & rush to work to be in by 8am. Take. 30 min lunch & rush off work to pick up all the kids before 6.

Then we make it home to find all the kids hungry & a messy home. Time for dinner , homework & getting g ready for bed

Tuesdays i throw in religious education & my son has night school.

I feel Drained! I had a gnarly fall & busted my head needing 10 stiches. I recovered & now I’m fighting a cold. And to top it off going through child support battle with ex which we just had court.

I recenlty Discovered my alopecia came back & im feeling less than jolly this Xmas time around. Every other weekend I’m a step mom & they stays w us & since it’s Xmas time i will Have them for a week. 5 kids. Ages 16-7 WOW help
Any tips moms i knw We are all so busy but i feel Like a train wreck!

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So What Happened?

Thank you! I definetly Need help! I feel Guilt for not being able to take this on myself since i made The decision to be divorced & remarried w step kids. I know I’m not super woman... with that said my husband works & really just rests. He just had a arterial kidney bypass & was in ICU. He recovered well & is back to work unfortunately his hours don’t help me w taking the kids. I think I just need to ask more of him & im sure he would. He is a big big sports fan & always on his phone! (Sigh)

The kids have long days too & i just Don’t see how they can help but thanks to your feedback i will See to it they do!

I will Make time for myself & try to relax i know It’s imporfant but I’ve always just done everything on my own. I dont Babe much family or friends & work is stressful. I’m just used to it & feel like I’m burning out. Thank you for taking your time to help

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

You have step children who will spend days with you so you must have a husband. Sounds like he doesn't help. Why not? I would expect him to either cook dinner or spend time with kids. He can help with homework, help children set the table. I would expect him to take care of his kids. Plan their time, provide entertainment, socialize with all the children lleaving.you with task, fixing dinner.

I know some moms feel that they are responsible for everything and rarely ask for help. If that's you, accept that you don't have to do everything. You can share responsibilities. Let go of expecting things to be a certain way.

It's OK to have a mess. If not having the mess is important to you, train kids to pick up before going to bed. I hate trying to cook when there are dirty dishes. Assign dishwashing and straightening out the kitchen to one of the kids. Develop a plan to share the work.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

You are doing too much for everybody.
Start handing off chores to the older kids.
Anyone 12 yrs old and over should be in charge of their own laundry.
They can also help with meal prep - even a 7 yr old can make a sandwich or a salad, load dirty dishes into a dish washer, put clean dishes onto the counter if they can't reach to put them away into the cupboard.
Or just use paper plates for awhile.
If there are buses to take kids to/from school - use them.
Is the 16 yr old driving?
If yes then he/she can help with driving younger siblings to/from where they need to go after school - though that might have to wait till they have their license.
Divy up a chore list, rotate the jobs, everyone can pick things up and vacuum/dust, take trash out, etc.
Don't aim for a picture perfectly neat house - just get common areas under control and as far as the kids rooms go - shut the doors.

When you are feeling overwhelmed - give yourself a time out.
Go lay down or take a hot bath and relax or go for a walk or a movie.
Let the house run itself for a few hours - you just need to step away.

9 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

If the youngest is 7, you need to involve them much, much more. This is not about making your life easier, it's about making them resilient and capable with life skills. Stop rushing around getting them ready. Make them responsible for their own stuff. If they go to school without homework or a permission slip, they will miss out on something or miss recess, and they will learn. It will not stop them from getting into college, and it will not signal that you are a bad mom! Kids need to fail once in a while in order to learn that they can survive it and the world will not end.

Divide the week into chores, and rotate the kids through it. There's no reason why one can't set the table, with another one starting the dinner, and another loading the dishwasher. As the table is cleared, the breakfast dishes get put out. Everyone gets a week with a chore, then they rotate. They can negotiate and trade chores as long as it's out of earshot and you don't have to know about it or referee it.

They are all capable of sorting laundry, loading the washer and starting it, as well as folding and putting away. Put a different colored laundry basket in each kid's room or closet, which they are responsible for getting to the laundry room. Folded items go in the right colored baskets and back to the room. Stuff that gets left on the bedroom floor doesn't get washed, or they wear it to school wrinkled. It's fine.

If you have stepchildren, then you have a spouse. You don't mention here what that spouse does. Maybe you need to look at that. Why are you responsible for 5 kids on weekends and your spouse is not? If you have a head full of stitches and a returning chronic condition, I wonder why you didn't take a few days off and have someone else take over.

School - is there no bus transportation provided? Can you carpool with another parent so you don't have to go to 3 schools every day? Can lunches be made ahead, maybe 2 nights a week, and sandwiches put in the freezer? They can be popped out in the morning and they will thaw by lunch time. Kids are perfectly capable of taking things out of a snack drawer and a freezer and putting them in a lunch box. You can also have starter foods available for when hunger hits at 6 PM: fruit, cut up carrots/celery/peppers and a pack of humus for a protein-rich dip. Do you have an apple slicer? A great hack is to slice/core an apple in one motion, put peanut butter in the core space, and fold up the apple again. Secure with a rubber band and it will not get brown. Poof! Instant snack for lunch boxes or return time.

Cook on the weekends - all hands on deck. That means kids, spouse, stepkids. Crockpot meals, family favorites in casserole form (lasagna, Mexican bean/tortilla/cheese meals, shepherd's pie, quiche/frittata -- all are forgiving if you don't have exact quantities of one ingredient or another, and all slice and reheat well. Those who aren't cooking can divide up large bags of snacks into lunchbox-size packs - it's cheaper, and if you use reusable containers, you cut down on trash & expense.

One of my friends put a towel bar on the back of each bedroom door - it got the wet towel off the floor even if someone didn't make it down the hall to the bathroom to hang it up.

Does everyone have a hook for their backpack and coat, a place for their shoes, and a basket or bin for their shoes and mittens and other essentials - all by the exit door? It makes cleaning a breeze and it makes each kid responsible for their own stuff. Have another bin for "stuff not put away" - things get tossed their by you, and if your kids want them, they can sort through and do an extra chore as "payment" (mop the floor, wipe down a bathroom, run a dust cloth across the family room furniture).

You are not a failure as a parent, you are not a lazy person, you are not a slave driver. You are building skills and independence in your children. And new studies are showing that kids do better and are less stressed in their teen years when they are not overly dependent on a parent to do everything. They feel less lost when adversity hits if they've always had to do things to take care of themselves.

7 moms found this helpful

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

That sounds brutal. I don't really have any advice, just wondering why your current husband isn't helping with any of this? Your kids are his step kids after all.

6 moms found this helpful
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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Your post sounds like that of a single mother, but you're married, with a blended family. Where is your husband in all of this???

6 moms found this helpful

T.F.

answers from Dallas on

The best think you can do for your children and husband (and your health) is to take care of yourself.

We heard your side. Are you the only person that works, cleans, runs carpool for children, etc?

Your children (and step children) are old enough to step up with some responsibilities, not to mention your husband. How does he help?

Delegate responsibilities, take time for you if it’s taking a walk which will help you physically and emotionally, hot bath to relax, hour to read or watch your favorite tv show, go get a mani/pedi. You don’t have to spend money to get “me”time.

Hopefully your husband and children are not as selfish as they sound and simply just do not realize how they should be helping.

Communicate with them, let them know your needs. You don’t have to suck it up and be superwoman. Give yourself a break.

5 moms found this helpful
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A.L.

answers from Atlanta on

Yep, our society's daily schedule is nuts! Of course you feel exhausted--I feel tired just reading your post. Some parts of the equation probably can't be changed, such as the kids all attending different schools, however if you could change that, it would help. One big thing which struck me immediately: where is the parent of your step-children in all this? You aren't a single parent because otherwise, there wouldn't be two extra step-children in the home every other weekend. There's absolutely no way you should be having to take all three kids to schools and pick them up yourself, clean house, cook, and work a job. Your spouse/partner needs to do more in the everyday life department. Sit down at a time when you aren't exhausted and talk through a re-division of labor. Good luck--while it doesn't feel like it, this time WILL end.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

Delegate. My teens each make a meal during the week. Noodles and spaghetti sauce. You can cook ground hamburger/turkey/chicken on weekend, and they can throw it in with some tomato sauce/spices while water boils. Or even a jar of sauce ... One of mine can make soup and cheese grilled for sibs while does homework.

The tweens take over the teens chores - when teens get jobs. Teens start driving younger sibs around when they start driving ...

Hubby does half .....

Kids do everything like folding laundry and taking to rooms. Kids do clean up in kitchen - mine do the dish wash up and dishwasher. We do none of that now.

Here's the thing. You're doing them a favor. When they go get jobs, they will know how to be responsible and get good reviews from their supervisors. They'll know how to complete a job and be thorough.

Take a night off - join a gym, or get together with friends - or just go do errands whatever you want. Make it a routine. Your kids have their schedules, you have one for you too. I do, as does my husband. We each have one or two things we schedule for ourselves a week. We have a large household and busy lives - do that to recharge.

Delegate. It will make all the world of difference. Pay the kids allowance if you have to provide incentive. Just as they would if working. They should be contributing. Mom shouldn't be running around while no one else helps out.

Hope you feel better soon :)

ETA: Read your SWH. Ask yourself why you're making excuses. A counselor would. Just a thought. Hubby can put down phone and kids can spend 10 minutes before/after dinner helping. Just need to ask.

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My first tip is to be kind to yourself. Give yourself some grace when you drop one of the many balls you have in the air. What you are doing is hard, so don't be hard on yourself if your house is messier than you'd like or dishes sit in the sink sometimes.

Speaking of dishes: delegate. Mine are 8 and 12, and I've completely delegated all dish-related duties to them. It really is such a help. While DH makes dinner, they unload the dishwasher together and set the table using the clean dishes. After dinner, one clears the table, the other loads the dishwasher while I pack up extra food for the fridge (and oversee a little bit) and it gets done so quickly.

Give yourself a break. Once a week (maybe Tuesdays for you, since it sounds like that is your most hectic evening), call in a pizza order to pick up on your way home and eat off of paper plates with disposable cups.

Finally, where is your husband in all of this? Is he taking on an equal part of the childcare? Why are you doing pick up and drop off from school? Can he do one or the other? Especially when his kids are at your house, he should be picking up a large part of the responsibilities. I assume from your posts that your 3 kids are from a previous marriage, but he should be concerned with your sanity and well-being, and even though they aren't "his" kids, out of love for you, I would hope he'd be willing to contribute.

Good luck and breathe deeply. The holiday season makes us all a bit more crazy than we usually are.

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❤.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

First, take a deep breath. You do have a lot on your plate. Slow down so you don't get hurt again. Something has to give. You are one person and you can't do everything perfectly.
-Take a few minutes every day just for yourself. Start with 15 minutes. Walk outside, go in the backyard for a few minutes if you don't have someone to watch the kids, sit in the bathroom for 5 minutes.
-have your 16 year old step child help out a little bit. Not too much (not watching your kids or anything but loading the dishwasher, taking the garbage bag out to the trash can.
-Plan your meals ahead of time on Sat or Sun. You don't have to cook them just lay out loose plans like: Monday is meatloaf, Tues tacos, Wed weiners (sausages cut up and browned w/a little oil, garlic, green peppers & onions or cook them w/o cutting up & serve in buns w/the veggies over them or on side), can be homemade Chinese, Friday is your free day...pizza.
-I cook 2 batches of ground beef up then freeze for later in the week for tacos or spaghetti w/meat sauce.
-Make easy meals. Grab premade salads.
- I wash as much clothes on weekends as I can, iron then and place them in outfits in kids rooms hanging them together in closet so they can grab & go. I do this for myself, too.
-Don't take on any more responsibility than you currently have.

-Learn to say no.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

You definitely need to stop and take care of yourself. Your kids are ALL old enough to help out quite a bit. Put them to work. I hate to be rude, but does your current husband help out? From what you wrote it sounds like he doesn't. He should help out considerably and should have taken the lead for sure with you getting hurt, getting sick, and having a recurring illness come back. You will be no good to anyone if you don't learn to make time for you to step down from time to time and keep your sanity.

3 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

a 'little' overwhelmed! wow! what a schedule!

can you fix some simple fast dinners on sunday and freeze them?

some nights instant oatmeal makes a great dinner.

where's your husband in all this?

can you take a couple of days over the holidays and escape to a nice hotel room and just veg?

you genuinely need a break, hon.

khairete
S.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

Get your husband and kids to do more. What's his schedule like? Can he not do drop off or pick up? My ex was pretty useless, but he understood that I would not be responsible for both morning and evening transportation. I flexed my hours to go into the office later and get everyone off to school in the morning, and he worked a little earlier and was out by 5 to pick up the kids (if needed, when they were in after-school programs or at a sitter's house or at sports) and start dinner.

Your kid are old enough to do their own laundry, pick up after themselves, do some basic household chores, start dinner and clean up after dinner so that you can relax for a few minutes.

You live with another adult, two capable adolescents, and a school-age child. Sounds like they're not pulling their weight. You are responsible for the things your kids can't do - pay bills, drive, shop, complicated home repairs and maintenance, scheduling doctor's appointments, other parenting duties. Other household duties? On them. They can make lunches, clean up after themselves, do laundry, clean bathrooms, wash the kitchen floor, basic cooking, etc.

I'd see if you and your husband can better share the transportation duties. If for some reason he works weird hours that leave him truly unavailable to help out in the morning or evening and you have no access to school buses or car pools, then find something else he can take off of your plate so that you have a little free time every day and a block of free time every weekend to relax, tend to self care, and recharge.

3 moms found this helpful

W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Mommy of 3

If you are a "step mom" then your husband can pick up the slack.
Your 16 year old can help with things.

Make lunches the night before.
Ensure EACH CHILD has their own alarm clock and gets up ON THEIR OWN.
Clothes set out the night before.
Make the CHILDREN responsible for themselves. Yes, you are mom and you care for them - but doing it all for them is NOT helping them.

Get a menu in place for the week. If the 16 year old isn't working? The 16 year old can prepare dinner. Yes. the 16 year CAN DO IT. If he/she is new to cooking - keep the menu easy at first - like slow cooker recipes he/she can start before they go to school. Other recipes like hamburger helper, etc. keep it simple then progress up.

Ensure each person in the household has a job to do to make the family move forward. You are NOT the only person to do this.
Assign a job to each person - whether it be setting the table, emptying the trash, doing laundry - but EVERYONE CONTRIBUTES to the family.

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T.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

You are overwhelmed and it sounds like you are depressed as well. Your kids are old enough to help around the house. Some can get dinner started while others help with cleaning. With a head injury you need to rest more. Your alopecia probably came back due to stress. I know you have a busy schedule but you need to schedule some me time. Seeing a therapist would be a good idea to help you deal with all that is going on in your life. It's hard to relax and be a mom but we all need to try. Good luck!!

1 mom found this helpful
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R.L.

answers from Chicago on

Lots of good ideas here, I would just add the suggestion that you see asking more of your husband especially, and children to some extent, to be for them as much as for you. Your husband will enjoy a richer relationship with you and with the children if he participates in the running of the household. Even if he can't do the school transportation, if he's home in time for dinner then he's home in time to cook and clean and maybe take on the night school and religious education. He's not a child, he could be a partner! Your children will also benefit from sharing in some of the work of life. I'm sure they don't enjoy seeing you stressed, and they can learn that they are capable.

Your children are looking at you to learn about what it means to be a family, also what it means to be a woman or a man. Do you want them to think that being a mom means no fun at all, just stress? Do you want them to think that being married means women cook, clean, help with homework, and men play on their phones? You and your husband are role models here. Think about what you want to show your children about adulting.

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