Feeling Like An Overwhelmed Mom? 7 Tips to Help You
Feeling Like An Overwhelmed Mom? 7 Tips to Help You
Motherhood can be both a tremendous joy and an incredible challenge. If you're an overwhelmed mom or an exhausted mom feeling submerged by a wave of never-ending tasks, know that you are not alone. We are not born knowing how to be a good mom. Despite the myriad of blogs, parenting books, TikTok advice, and tips we receive from others, there is no manual for us to follow.
Being a clinical psychologist and older mother didn't keep me from being a mentally exhausted mom for the first several months after my son was born. I had so many questions and didn't know where to turn. And despite my education and training, I found it difficult to trust my own instincts. That feeling of being an overwhelmed mom permeated my existence and made everything feel more difficult.
So if you are feeling overwhelmed and don't know where to turn, I've got you covered. Here are seven tips to help you navigate through this challenging yet rewarding phase. And if it doesn't feel all that rewarding right now, don't worry, that is normal too!
1. Be Gentle With Yourself
First and foremost, if you're feeling overwhelmed as a mom, it's crucial to offer yourself grace. Perfection is an illusion, and every new mom is on a learning journey. Remember, it's okay to not have it all figured out. Is your child still breathing? Are you still breathing? Then you are doing it right. It will take several weeks to a couple of months until you figure out routines and rhythms that work for you. Right now, everything is new to you and your baby.
As a new mom, everything changes - your body, your lifestyle, your sleep schedule. It's natural to feel overwhelmed or even mentally exhausted with these changes. There is no other time in life when almost every aspect of life has changed to this degree. There is a lot to learn and it takes time to learn it all but even more time to become comfortable with it all.
2. Don't Hesitate to Ask for Help
Being a tired mom is not a sign of weakness; it's simply a sign that you're human. Asking for help is a sign of strength and wisdom. So, if you're feeling overwhelmed, reach out to someone you trust - a friend, a family member, or even a professional. Unfortunately our modern western culture has created this myth that we are supposed to be able to manage everything on our own. This simply is not accurate. We are not physically designed to meet all of the needs of our family on our own. For most of human history, women raised their children within larger community groups that often included mothers, grandmothers, aunts, neighbors, members of the same faith, etc.
It is important to remember that you are not a burden on others when you ask for assistance. Every adult has the ability to say "no" when asked to help, so there is no need to feel guilty for asking.
3. Prioritize Self-Care
If you're an exhausted mom, self-care is not a luxury—it's a necessity. It's hard to care for another when your own cup is empty. After all, we can't pour from an empty pitcher. So what keeps most of us from engaging in self-care daily? Many of us (especially those of us who are moms without a mom) don’t have the ability to (or possibly the desire to) create separate space away from our baby. So we resign ourselves to the notion that self-care is something we will catch up on later.
Great news! You don’t have to wait for when you can carve out time away from your child. You can engage in self-care without leaving your baby. Yes, you can! Examples include: using guided imagery or meditation, putting your baby in a sling or wrap and enjoying gentle movement together, listening to calming music, skin-to-skin cuddling, and self-compassion. You can learn more about these techniques in the free guide: Care For Yourself While you Care For Your Baby.
4. Connect with Fellow Moms
Connecting with other overwhelmed moms can provide comfort, understanding, and a feeling of community. Sharing your fears, victories, and everyday experiences with others who are walking the same path can be immensely therapeutic. You can get more information about the types of friends that all moms should have in there mom community in the blog "The 4 Sanity Saving Mom Friends All Moms Should Have".
Members of our community can come from a variety of places. There is no right or wrong in this effort. Friendships can germinate in a variety of unexpected places.
Connecting with childhood friends who may live locally is a great place to start. Another great place to build friendships includes houses of worship and faith communities. Many offer activities for families as well as activities for children of all ages.
There are a variety of parent organizations that you may feel connected with. These organizations can include daycare parent groups, preschool parent-teacher associations, civic organizations that cater to children, and scouting. These are just a few examples.
Community resources such as a library, recreational centers, and public parks are another way you can reach out. In addition, many community organizations run programs designed for small children and their families. This can be a great place to meet moms of other kids who are your children's age.
Professionals can also play an integral role in our Mom Community. Examples of helpful professionals include daycare providers or early learning center teachers. In addition, counselors, therapists, and psychologists often fill the Wise Woman role and can be a huge source of information specific to your child and your family’s circumstances.
Life coaches can be another source of support for moms. Therapists (including psychologists) and mental health counselors assess, diagnose, and treat mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, grief, and various life adjustment issues. On the other hand, life coaches cannot assess, diagnose, or treat mental health disorders.
5. Establish a Routine (and be willing to change it as needed)
While newborns aren't known for their adherence to schedules, a loose routine can offer you as a mom a sense of stability and structure. There is no need to feel like you need to rigidly follow your schedule. Babies are adaptable.
Keep things simple. As an overwhelmed mom, it's easy to complicate things further. Try to simplify wherever you can. This could mean opting for easy meals, accepting that not all chores will get done, and focusing on what truly matters - you and your baby's well-being.
6. Relish the Small Moments
When you're a tired mom, small problems can often seem monumental. Maintaining perspective can help you remember that these challenging phases are temporary. This won't last forever, and these tender newborn moments are fleeting.
In the middle of this whirlwind experience, take a moment to stop and cherish the small joys. The baby's coos, the tiny fingers wrapped around yours, or the quiet calm during late-night feedings. These are the moments that make even the most exhausted mom's heart flutter.
7. Trust Your Maternal Instincts
Lastly, as an overwhelmed mom, don't forget to trust your instincts. You know your baby best. Your intuition is your greatest ally in this beautiful, chaotic journey of motherhood. Ultimately, you and your baby's well-being is what is most important. It doesn't matter how you do things, what matters is that you and your baby are alive each day and growing in your relationship.
It is ok if you do things differently than your own mother, your friends, or the mom influencers on TikTok. If something doesn't feel right, I give you permission to change it or stop it altogether. You will get tons of advice, some of it good, some of it terrible. Only follow what seems to be in alignment with your own values and priorities.
Remember, dear mom, every day you are learning and growing along with your baby. It's okay to feel overwhelmed, it's okay to feel tired, but know that you are doing an incredible job, and every step you take is filled with immense love and care.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and want additional support, you are invited to schedule a complimentary coaching call.