Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
What brings a mom to her wits’ end might vary from mother to mother. For one, it may be the endless effort to get a child to sleep in his own bed for the night or even a decent nap. For another, it may be the overwhelming and energy-sapping task of caring for three children under the age of five. Still other moms may find they’ve stretched themselves too thin – volunteering for too many PTO projects, driving to soccer practices, and trying to be the mom who can do it all.
Whatever it is that brings a mother to her wit’s end, there are solutions to help prevent her from going over the edge. Here are four ideas to help you stay in control:
Take care of yourSelf before you get to your wit’s end.
When so much of a mom’s time is spent caring for others, it is crucial that she designate time for her own self-care. Integrating time for yourSelf into the day might cause some guilty feelings, and it may be difficult to imagine where that extra time will come from – but setting aside time to nurture yourSelf will benefit the entire family. A mom who pays attention to her own needs is a mom better prepared for managing the daily tasks of motherhood. A policy of self-care will also ensure that mom can ride through the stressful and chaotic moments of mothering with greater ease.
Do not be one of those moms who doesn’t ask for help.
Why is it that we feel like we have to do it all? When a friend of yours asks for your help, do you judge her? Do you mind helping out? Does it inconvenience you? Most likely, the answers to the above questions are “no”, and – even if it is a bit inconvenient – we still don’t mind doing it. Our willingness to help others does not seem to make it easier to ask others to help us. “I’ll manage,” might be what you are telling yourself. And, you will manage. Relying on the village of mothers, though, will make the job easier. Carpool to soccer practice; put the neighborhood kids around a table together and switch off with another mother supervising homework time; identify friends you can rely on and call upon when something comes up. Just start asking, and you’ll see how easy it is.
Know your stress responses.
Do you hide behind your computer? Eat too many sweets? Forget appointments? Yearn for a glass of wine at the end of the day? When tension is high, we tend to manage those feelings with activities that will numb us from feeling overwhelmed. It is important to recognize your stress (un)management techniques and replace them with healthier options. Put those healthier options into place before you are overcome with stress, and you’ll be better prepared when life shakes things up. It can be as simple as listening to music or enjoying with a friend once a week. You might consider journaling, listening to self-help audios while you clean your house, or starting an exercise routine. Perhaps a daily walk will keep your nerves at bay.
Don’t allow self-care to be another overwhelm in your day.
It is important to make time for you - doing what you want to be doing and nurturing your soul, but this is not another item to put on your already completely full to-do list. This is a habit to create, like brushing your teeth, so that it becomes a permanent part of your rhythm. It may take some time at first, but establishing self-care as a permanent, must-attend meeting in your day is essential! Work it in slowly, if you have to, giving yourself ten minutes a day in the beginning. When ten minutes becomes a permanent fixture, increase the time you gift to yourSelf. You might discover that fifteen minutes is enough of a refuel for you, or – perhaps – you might need to work up to longer amounts of time.
Motherhood is a taxing job. It can take its toll on you – mentally, physically, and spiritually. It is of the essence that moms carve out time for self-care and not be afraid to ask others for help. Preserve yourSelf. Nurture your own growth and dreams. Stay connected to your passions. Redefine yourself constantly. Take care of yourSelf, moms.