Back in the 1970s, Calgon was a bath product that promised moms it could relieve mommy stress and “take you away”. Away from crying children, ringing telephones, work worries and more.
Apparently, the 70s had nothing on moms of the New Millennium! Not only do we still have the same stress of fussy children, endless laundry, cooking, cleaning and more – there are iPhones and text messages, email and telecommuting in a world that never seems to stop. Yes, the playing field has definitely changed in this era as moms seek to cook for “clean eating,” worry about BPAs, toxins and synthetic substances, enrich their children with the arts, academics and yes, even a second language before they know their first! Mom-ing is hard no matter when you do it, but it seems the more that we know and the more we have, the tougher it gets!
Feeling stressed? If you answered “yes,” you’re in good company as you could probably ask any mom you know and she could rattle off a Top 5 List of worries without blinking twice. Factor in a little fatigue (and sometimes the inability to find time for a shower), and you have one worried woman!
Most motherhood articles are how-to’s, information pieces or instructional excerpts about what you can do for your children, your spouse or your home. However, we’re here to tell you what you can do for YOU! After all, behind every happy family is a happy Mom! So, sit back (yes, you get to sit down) and listen to some simple, maybe even well known, but often neglected things you can do to relieve mommy stress in your life.
- Give Me Five: No, this isn’t about getting a high handslap or congratulating someone. This is about you knowing when you need a 5 minute break – to step away, collect your thoughts, calm down, breathe deeply or just prevent that overwhelming feeling that the inmates have taken over the asylum! As moms, we all reach that breaking point where the next thing we say or do will most likely be a poor choice. So, give yourself 5 minutes away from the situation. This may mean putting your baby in a pack and play or a crib so he is safe; or having your toddler do quiet time; asking older children to go play, read or be independent for a short time. So often our stress comes from having a situation boil over and then we regret how we handled it, aka “Mom Guilt.” Stop Mom Guilt before it happens by giving yourself the time you deserve to gather your thoughts and emotions and plan your next step.
- Get Out: Every mom, at some point, has cabin fever – that feeling that the walls are closing in on you. So, get outside, get some Vitamin D, get some exercise and get some fresh air! Strap the kiddos in the stroller and walk away your worries. It’s good for your body and soul. Even better, have a friend or neighbor join you and enjoy some walk-and-talk time. Trust us – it’s just what the doctor ordered!
- Let’s Get Physical: We’ve already mentioned “outside time,” but maybe you should get a little more rigorous. Whether it’s running, weights, classes or other cardio, an exercise regimen is a great way to help your body and mind. Let’s be honest, as you’re bounding up and down on an elliptical, biking your way through some digital scene or working your way through a weight circuit, you’re more in tune with your body and less in your head – voila, stress relief! Not to mention, if baby weight, health or nutrition just happens to be one of your worries, you’re killing two birds with one stone!
- “Aummmmm:” Yes, this is one of the most popular meditation chants around. And while the likelihood of you having your own meditation room are slim to none, 5-10 minutes a day can really help center you and relieve day to day stress. Wherever you may be, you can take a quick break and practice meditation – out for a walk, waiting in the doctor’s office, while the children are napping or some quiet time before your family wakes or right after bedtime. Meditation is simply about being in the moment, being mindful and letting everything else drift away. You can use a word or mantra or focus on an image (called visualization). Meditation is like a mental windshield wiper that clears all the stress and worry from your mind – and leaves you feeling so much better.
- To Do’s – and To Don’ts: So often, our mom stress comes from everything we have to get done each day. It may be work, laundry, cleaning, cooking, errands, schoolwork, family responsibilities or more. Let’s face it – even if you put on the tights and the cool headband, you’re not Wonder Woman, nor do you have to be. There will always be things that need to get done, but nothing says you have to do them all! Each day determine what has to be done and set a goal. Tackle 1 big thing and 2-4 small things daily, and you’ll feel much better about what you’ve accomplished as well as your work/life/family balance. Managed productivity is so much less stressful than a continuous frenzy of errands and tasks – and you’ll actually be able to enjoy more of your time.
Actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin once said, “Reality is the leading cause of stress among those in touch with it.” Here’s hoping these tips and tricks help you handle whatever real life comes your way!