Photo by: Christopher Thomas

Tips for Stressed Out Moms

by Gila Brown
Photo by: Christopher Thomas

The sentiment among my most recent clients has been the same. Mom is overwhelmed. Moms are waking up early, getting the laundry started, struggling to get the kids dressed and out the door, staying home with little ones, worrying, planning meals, preparing meals, cleaning the house, worrying, entertaining kids, refereeing fights, facilitating bath and bed routines, worrying, quickly checking e-mails and then doing it all over again the next day. This frenzied schedule leaves moms feeling overwhelmed, alone and unsupported. One mom shared that she is angry with her husband from the moment he walks in the door, simply because he’s been gone all day at work.

If you belong to the group of stressed out, over-extended moms, here are some tips to help ease you through the mothering frenzy.

Get a Mother’s Helper

A mother’s helper is a responsible, local 10-15 year-old kid, who is willing to pitch in. For a few dollars an hour, a mother’s helper comes over a few hours a week, while you are home, to be with your kids. This gives you some time to focus on your own things, knowing that your kids are close by and being supervised. To find a mother’s helper, consider contacting local schools or talking to neighbors. Make sure to invite your helper over for an initial introduction visit. You need to make sure that you are comfortable with this person, but also that your kids are just as comfortable. You might need to try out a few helpers to get a really good fit.

Make use of your older kids

Once kids are about 5 years old, they are perfectly capable of pitching in. However, if housekeeping becomes a series of forced chores, you are certain to encounter on-going power struggles. The good news is that kids do like to be able to help. They like to feel that they have something to contribute. The key is that they not be forced into helping. Consider sitting down as a family to discuss housekeeping. Together, create a list of all the things that need to get done in a typical week. Allow kids to chose which chores they would like to be responsible for. Give them ownership over those chores. Know that there will be days or weeks when the chores are neglected. But, remember, the minute chores become requirements is the minute kids lose interest and the power struggle begins.

Take care of Mom

We can’t give what we don’t have. When we neglect taking care of ourselves, we diminish what we are able to truly give to those around us. Typically, moms put taking care of others ahead of taking care of themselves. Ask yourself what would make you feel really good and peaceful. Taking a bath? A girl’s night out? An hour of quite reading each night before bed? Take some time to identify what you would truly need to in order to be able to feel more at ease. Once you have an idea of what you need, make that a priority. Communicate to your family members how important it is that Mom gets this time to take care of herself. Get help from your kids, your husband or hired help, but do not neglect yourself. You aren’t doing anyone any favors. You will be able to be so much more present with your kids if you also take care of yourself.

Ultimately, taking care of Mom results in taking better care of the family. Be honest about what you need and make it happen. Life is just too short not to.

Gila Brown, M.A. is a Child Development Expert and Parent Coach, with over 10 years of teaching experience. She specializes in parenting school-age children with grace, using principles of attachment parenting, positive discipline and effective communication. Visit Gila Brown to sign up for a free newsletter.

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"Overwhelmed" and "unsupported" are great words to describe the madness. Any advice for Moms with demanding jobs, several kids and their extra curricular activities? Truely leaves no me time, and no time for the marriage.

"Overwhelmed" and "unsupported" thats the common feeling since a long long time ago. the thing is that my husband does not believe that I should have a me time, cuz he feels is my obligation to do everything and when I neglect something he raises hell. and makes me feel like a complete nothing.. my son helps me with some things but he hates doing it

Adding shift work with that equation makes it worse, but a husband nagging you need to work more makes it almost intolerable, especially when his support if marginal at best.

Hi everyone..just joined as my daughter(22) just had our first grandchild...little Jethro (3months old)...

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Hi 2 stressed mom with the yelling husband be very firm with him let him know he is as responsible for your kids as you are I know there are some husbands that expect a wife to do everything but that is wrong some husbands are helpful. I considered it part of my duty to pitch in and help. when my babies were in diapers I got up at night changed them and gave them their bottle that was in the days of cloth diapers and sometimes the bedding had to be changed because of leaking rubber pants...

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Mother's helper is my sanity net :) I have 15 year old to come in to my house and play with my kids ( 4 and 1) while I take a shower, clean or cook.

Well, i have a 15 year old daughter and a 12 year old son who dont help me at all and on top of that my husband doesnt help either so i am stressed out every day. I go to work 3 days a week and when im on my 1st day off i am so exhausted, but have to get up and sort every room. Oh except my daughters room. I have told her she is old enough to clean her own room and if she wants to live in a pig sty then thats her choice...

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I am all of the above. I have been depressed lately but the Spring is helping. I had to stop trying to do it all. I still do All laundry, all diapering, cleaning, parties, yadda yadda yadda. THis stay at home mom stuff is killing me. I have recently taken on yard work as my therapy. I hope it works. Both of the children are great. I just can't cope with all we (all mothers) have to do somedays. Makes me wonder how dirty my house must have been back when I worked 40 to 60 hours and then came home...

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What would the world be like if grandparents didn't take the kids for the weekend. That alone contributes to my sanity. My mother-in-law will take my son for an entire weekend. That gives my husband and I some downtime to ourselves to be together, plus do any housework or pampering that we wouldn't normally do during the week. We miss our child like crazy when he is gone, but its a very nice treat for us not to have to worry about him or his safety.

having 3 children and one developmentaly disabled really adds to the "overwhelmed" and "unsupported" feelings..I don't think my husband fully understands what I go through on a daily seems he is either working or sleeping and I am responsible for all the chidlren's physical and emotional is very tiresome...I pray to make enough money to hire someone to clean my house...that is the main thing that I gave up trying to be perfect on...with my little one and all his needs...the dishes need to wait

My husband does help, but having two special needs children, taking care of the house and their extra activities. It can be very stressful at times and I get overwhelmed.

Stress is an understatement! Four children, 1 in college, twin boys that are 9 and a 16 yr old cheerleader who just started driving...sometimes I think I'm losing my mind. Added to that is a husband that's unemployeed and an elderly father-in-law for which I provide the majority of the care. I work full-time cleaning houses. And they wonder why I get so hateful.....

I don't really believe there is a solution to the madness. I think we have to accept that these times with young kids ARE frenzied....and lower our standards, let some things go, give up some control...realizing it's just a phase in your life...

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As a wife & mom of 2 young kids I am at my wits end.
I run my own company, which allows me to make my own schedule & work half the time from home. However, even with that, the stress is UNREAL! My husband does help, (when I ask him, which I do quite a bit), but he most often procrastinates with anything I want him to do, and he complains & talks under his breath instead of JUST DOING IT, like I do with EVERYTHING I have to do...

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I recall a few years ago now, complaining to a friend about I was struggling to keep up with work, the kids and the housework & that my husband was no help to me at all and just didn't seem to understand how much I had on my plate....her words to me were "don't sit there waiting for him to fix everything for you, cause he won't...if you need help, then it was up to me to get that help and if that meant getting a house cleaner to come once a week, or book in a baby sitter once a fortnight to give myself a break, then to 'JUST DO IT' cause he isn't going to do it for me, he will never truely understand how difficult it is to juggle the kids, home and a job" she also said that no one else is going to give me that break, only 'I' can give me that break. If he doesnt like the fact that you have a cleaner, or are going out with the girls to let your hair done...then tuff!! What is he going to do about it? Nothing, cause at the end of the day, the expectation for him to do more is no longer on his shoulders. I know there may be some of you wont agree that 'why should he get of so easy' but to be honest this is a no win situation cause he is never going to get just got to bite the bullet, take charge of making your own life. easier.

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