No one ever said Motherhood was easy. In fact, it can be downright overwhelming at times. It isn’t always obvious, but here’s 5 signs that Mom Needs A Break, and some tips on how you can find your center again.
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I won’t actually say you’re snapping at those around you. Let’s call it snappish. I know when I’m stressed to the max, I might cut my husband off quickly, and keep my responses short. It’s a sign that whatever the conversation entails, you subconsciously don’t believe you have time for it. And that’s a major sign that you need to slow down a bit! After all..he only asked you what’s wrong (wink,wink).
Meditation can help you find your calm within the storm of a busy mind. You don’t need to do it for very long-just a few minutes a day will quiet the noise in my brain, and remind me that being mindful of the situation around me is what’s most important-not the tasks that lie ahead. Light some Candles , and take a 5 minute breather. Then you can answer silly questions that would have previously gotten someone’s head bitten off, with a bit more grace.
Another sign that this Mom Needs A Break… I’m forgetting things. Which is all too easy when you’re chasing toddlers, working on your passion/business, running a household. Then before you know it, the dry cleaning isn’t picked up, I’ve forgotten to send that ultra-important email, and dinner is left in the deep freezer at 6pm. These kinds of things can snowball, and cause more unneeded stress.
Write Out everything you need to accomplish in the day. Not a big “To-Do” list you’ll never accomplish. Just take a few minutes each day, to write down the most important things you can’t forget. The act of just sitting and writing will help you focus on just one thing, and let you calm down. And when you feel the ever familiar anxiety creep up, you can refer to your list to keep from becoming overwhelmed.
Believe it or not, just the few minutes you spend writing your list, is an excellent way of practicing mindfulness, and will help you find your center(even before things get chaotic). It’s another form of meditation, but you’re being productive in the process that will, in a way, allow you to feel less “selfish” about the time you’re taking to yourself. Because self-care isn’t selfish, but Busy Moms don’t think about self-care as much as they should-they think about the never ending To-Do List. So trick your brain into relaxing and taking everything by the moment for a bit, and write out your day.
We all know most Mother’s are #TeamNoSleep, but true exhaustion is a little different. When regularly running on less than 6 hours of sleep, the body is greatly affected. Headaches, confusion, irritability – these are all signs of an overtired, overworked parent. Your dedicate 20+ hours a day to taking care of the family, and sitting down can lead to an unexpected nap that throws off your entire schedule (as badly as you need the rest).
Sleep! I know I am the worst when it comes to resting as opposed to doing all the things that need to be done, but you honestly do need your sleep. If that means taking a nap while the kids nap, or finding someone to take the baby for a day so you can catch up on much needed rest, then do it! Lack of sleep causes so many problems down the road, and there is no shame in asking for help from those around you. Plan to not have anything scheduled for an entire afternoon, drop the kids off with Grandma (or whatever your support system is) and just sleep. Nothing is so important you need to put your health, and the safety of others, at risk because you have been pulling 20 hour days.
You’re Easily Upset
It’s a pretty usual thing for me to spend an hour organizing my son’s room, only to have it totally destroyed in about five minutes. This is known as Toddler Life. But to become angry, or incredibly upset, is a sign that I need to just slow down. Especially over something so expected. He’s a toddler, and while it’s a nice thought, it’s almost impossible that all the stuffed animals are going to remain in the hanging basket all day. Or the toy cars will stay in the toy box for longer than about 30 minutes. And he regularly destroys the bookshelves moments after I’ve cleaned them back up…so why am I so upset about it today?
Call a friend. Sometimes, we Moms just need to be able to talk. Even if nothing is really bothering us, and we have just snapped about the baby dumping everything out the diaper bag for the billionth time wile we are just trying to clean up the kitchen. And by snapping, we mean literally crying over a pile of clean diapers in the floor. It’s just a very normal sign of being totally overwhelmed, and a mental break from the mundane daily tasks of parenting is needed. Let the mess sit for a moment, and call a friend you can talk to. No matter how short the conversation, you can recharge your batteries, and then face the day refreshed. Just the short break of talking to another adult, can help you face the chaos of repeatedly handling another situation without totally losing your mind.
Can’t stand the sight of the laundry room, because you know how long it will take to get through the (going on a) week’s worth of clothes to wash. You don’t feel like bothering with that hall closet that needs cleaning out, even though you’d really like to find those pool floats now that Summer is creeping up. Or it’s time to go through all the baby’s outfits and find things that don’t fit for the donation bin. But you just can’t bring yourself to look at it, even though the overstuffed dresser stares at you every day. If I let something go for too long, it becomes less appealing with time. The more I let it go, the worse it gets. I like to think of this, as a never-ending cycle of Unmotivation. I put the task off, until it’s grown to an insurmountable problem, and now I’m too intimated to deal with it. The cycle just continues…it’s too easy to look at something every day, and lose all motivation to deal with it. Especially if you already have a full plate.
Get Out Of The House! It helps me to totally leave for the day, and take my focus off that mess I’ve created (and neglected). If you’re not there to look at it, and get overwhelmed, then you forget how bad it is. I’ll take my son to a relatives house, the park, or anywhere that isn’t home. This is my opportunity to be mindful. And, plan my attack. I decide that when I get home, I will concur the culling of baby clothes. I don’t think about how bad the pile has grown with outfits that are too small…I just plan on how I’m going to fix it. But the act of getting out of the house, helps me recharge. I don’t have to look at the same things every day, and be reminded that I still need to organize that bookshelf and become overwhelmed. I can just enjoy watching my son feed the ducks at the pond, and (if they even enter my mind) think of those tasks in a positive light.
Take Me Time!
Of course, every parent needs me time-and the final solution to any of these “Signs That Mom Needs A Break”…is to take a break! Leave the kids with your co-parent or realitive, and break. Go shopping by yourself, watch an hour of uninterrupted tv, sleep! Whatever you feel you would like to do, to totally forget about being a Mom for a moment, and recharge.
Can all these signs of just “Needing a Break” mean something else?
First, I’m not a Doctor, so I’m not going to tell you that crying over messy toy rooms, forgetting bread at the store and yelling at your husband, is a sign of Postpartum Depression.
But I will tell you, that if you feel like you’re crying too much, and you have too many unmotivated day’s than you’re used to, then you may want to go talk to your doctor.
There’s no shame in seeking help, or admitting that you need help-from either your partner, friend, or a professional. Every Mom needs help in some way, shape, or form. From a babysitter, to a shoulder to try on, to a professional to talk to – we all need support.
If you suspect you might be feeling depressed, or someone you know might be suffering from Postpartum Depression, there is help. Check out Postpartum Progress for more.
UPDATE: So many of you asked for a TL:DR version of this to send to Dad, so I made a video you can send your Husband 😉