Parenting is a tiring, demanding, stress-‐filled job and it can drive you crazy if you let it! Stay at home moms, and dads, must learn to manage detailed, mental work as they perform taxing physical labor, all while sleep deprived, hungry and in need of a shower! Moms and dads must learn to juggle jobs, taking care of the children and managing their households along with their own needs and desires. It can be quite overwhelming!
I know this because I have lived it! My first son was born when I was 24 years old. In the next thirteen yearsI was blessed with 4 more sons and 2 daughters. By the time I was 37 I had seven beautiful children! But honestly being a stay-at-home mom was sometimes as depressing as it was joyful.Parenting the first 4 children ages, 3,2 1 and a newborn was the hardest!At my lowest point, I was overwhelmed and on the verge of a mental breakdown. My home was a mess and so was I! I couldn’t sleep and was either anxious or depressed. My house was cluttered, dirty and dysfunctional.
I read a lot because reading was the only escape I had from my life at that time.One day, I was guided to a book that helped to save me! It was a simple, easy to read book on home organization. I don’t remember the title and unfortunately, I loaned it to a friend years ago and have never found another copy. However, with this book along with my desire to change, I learned how to “let go” of unnecessary clothing and household objects, how to make room for the things I needed/wanted, and how to create a system to maintain order. I also learned to let go of old ways of thinking that didn’t support the life I wanted to create. It was truly a time of transformation for me! Once I learned to manage my home and life, I developed the skills to keep it that way, for more than forty years!
Learning to manage the stressful feelings and emotions that come with being a good, caring parent requires consistent self-work.I received tools and processes from self-help books, workshops, and other women along with my own intuitive guidance. With consistency and practice I eventually learned how to manage myself, a home, 7 children and a marriage, while maintaining my sanity! As a result, I have decided to devote time to sharing what I’ve learned with mothers, and others who may be able to benefit from some of the methods and processes I have discovered and developed along my mothering journey.
Here are a few tips that can help to keep a stay-at-home parent out of a mental institution.
1. Make Your SELF a Priority
There is a reason why flight attendants tell you to put the oxygen mask on first before helping your children. You must be alive, and sane, to help them! You may find the concept of putting yourself before your children difficult to accept. I personally struggled with this idea for years! I believed that mothering required total selflessness, after all, doesn’t society determine whether a woman is a “good” mother or not, by how much she sacrifices herself for the sake of her children? I can now assure you with absolute certainty that putting your children, or anything else, in front of your basic health needs can only lead to stress and health problems for you.
A “good mother” is a healthy, strong mother that can offer her children the quality care that they deserve. Nutrition, exercise (chasing toddlers count as exercise) and as much as you can get of that very scarce commodity called sleep are important for you and your family. Make a commitment to take care of yourself and to save your “last good nerve”!
1. Eat Nourishing Foods
Pregnancy and child rearing place huge demands on your body. When you finally find a moment to eat, try to eat foods that bring energy into your body rather than take it away. Whole grains, proteins, nuts, fruits and veggies can provide nourishment that fast foods and snacks cannot. You know that feeling that comes over you when you become so tired and irritable that you feel like you’re about to lose it? Well that mental imbalance you feel may very well be a blood sugar imbalance and maybe your body is telling you that it’s time to “eat some real food!”
2. Take Supplements Everyday
There is no way a busy mom or anyone else for that matter, can eat enough food to provide your body with its daily nutritional requirements. Good vitamin supplementation is a necessary to keep a mom’s nerves in good repair.
3. Take 1 minute of quiet for yourself throughout the day
Simply taking a minute to breathe deeply may keep you from going over the edge. Slow, deep breathing awakens your body’s natural relaxation response. So, when you feel stressed and overwhelmed try taking three deep breaths. Sighing is also a way to exhale tension and stress from of the body so embrace those sighs!
4. Listen to Some Relaxing Music
It has been a proven that soothing music can reduce stress and promote relaxation. The type of music you choose is entirely up to you. I find soft ballads, gentle classics, smooth jazz, or New Age music especially soothing. Music can also help the children to relax. Listening to serene music can be a wonderful addition to everyone’s bedtime regime. So, when you feel stressed calm your nerves with some soothing sounds.
5. Take a Warm Bath
I know this may be a stretch, but if you can make some time try taking a relaxation bath. Soaking in a tub full of warm water can work wonders when you're feeling stressed. The warm water helps to relax your body by loosening tight, stiff muscles. Add your favorite scent and music and allow your mind to relax as well.
6. Read a Book or Watch a Movie One of the best ways to deal with a stressful situation, especially if the stress is caused by something you have no control over, is to not think about it. Watching a good movie or reading a great book are some of the easiest ways to get your mind away from things that are bothering you. Choose a title that you've been looking forward to or, an old favorite as long as its content makes you feel good!
7. Try Visualization
The things you visualize or imagine can influence your mood. The next time you are feeling stressed, take a moment to close your eyes and imagine that you are somewhere more relaxing, like on a beach where you can feel the breeze against your skin and hear the ocean’s waves. My favorite is to imagine my husband and I alone enjoying the amenities of a 5-Star hotel. Find what works for you and use your imagination to transport you out of anxiety into serenity.
8. Bring Order and Beauty to your HOME
Clutter, chaos and crazy all work together! When you’re managing a home and children it’s important that you know where things are when you need them. Organization helps to keep a mother’s stress levels down. If organization is not natural to you, it would be well worth your time to invest in my Redesigning HOME program or at the very least, a “how to” book on organization. Also, display the things you love where you can see them often. When your eyes see something that you find beautiful your body, mind and spirit feels it!
9. Spend Focused time Connecting with your Children Children need a lot of attention and it’s not a crime to want a break from them! But, in this age of endless video games and digital devices a little time focused on making a personal connection with your child can go a long way. Create a special time just to listen to them and let them share. For example, you can make your travel time in the car a “no phone zone” and use meals, bath or bedtime as your special time just for connecting. You can also include your child or children in something that you enjoy, like a hobby, or other fun activity. Remember what it felt like to be a child and how important it was to have your parent’s full attention. A little time connecting can create long-lasting good feelings!
10. Make Time to Connect with your Significant Other
The transition from husband and wife to just mom and dad will happen A.C. (after children) unless you fight it! Make time for personal connection between you and your mate. If you have to pull out your planners to coordinate a date night…do it! If date night has to be at home after the children have gone to bed…do it! If date night has to be before breakfast because you’re both too tired at night…do it! In other words, do whatever it takes to keep your intimate connection to your mate alive! And I suggest that you make one date night rule: “No discussions about children or household related topics!” This should be a time just to check in with each other and to remember why you choose to be together B.C. (before children). Do this and I guarantee a more harmonious household!
Are You Ready for a Re-Design?
You have the power to design and create the life you want! As an intuitive transformational coach, I love helping women who feel overwhelmed, redesign themselves and their spaces from the inside out. –Cina Sherriff