It doesn’t matter whether you are raising babies, toddlers, or growing kids. They are all demanding in their own ways. Being a mom is rewarding in many ways, but we would be glossing over the real-life struggles if we said it wasn’t also sometimes stressful.
Mom’s are under all types of stress, from balancing diaper changes and meal planning to time outs and paying the bills. Some moms stay home with their littles, giving them few chances to escape around-the-clock dependent care, and others go to work and deal with a different kind of stress between 8 and 5, coming home to the realities of motherhood after hours.
There is plenty of stress to manage. We’ve rounded up some great tips to help you deal with the mom-life stress. Whatever your style is, one thing is for sure. But first, let’s talk about what that stress might look like.
Signs of Chronic Stress You May Be Ignoring
Sometimes stress looks like stress, and sometimes it seems a bit different. From disruptive sleep patterns to grouchiness and sugar cravings, your stress might be masquerading as something else.
Poor Quality Sleep and Chronic Fatigue
Stress affects each of us differently. Some people might experience bouts of insomnia and rely on sleep aids to stop counting sheep. Others might wake up frequently throughout the night. And still, others might not notice any difficulty sleeping, but they do suffer from chronic fatigue that keeps them moving at a slower, foggier speed day in and day out.
A Persistent Grumpy Attitude
If you are a grouch all or most of the time, there is a good chance that stress has you down, and you may not even realize it. One thing that many moms are guilt of is neglecting self-care and downtime. It is essential for our mental well-being that we take care of ourselves as well as our kids, so moms need to learn to find balance.
Your Eating Habits are Like a Roller Coaster
Some people respond to stress by skipping meals, and others pile on the pounds thanks to increased sugar cravings to satiate their feelings. If you find yourself hiding in the pantry, cramming pop tarts in your mouth, or turning an occasional glass of wine into a nightly habit, these are surefire signs that you are placating a stress response.
Frequent Illnesses and Headaches
Stress can affect the entire body, including the immune system. When your body feels stressed, it produces more cortisol, a hormone that helps regulate stress but also negatively impacts the body. Increased cortisol levels tend to inhibit immune system function, which can lead to more frequent illness. If you seem to catch every bug your kids bring home, mom-stress might be to blame.
New or Worsening Depression or Anxiety
Chronic stress can lead to clinical symptoms of depression or anxiety-like panic attacks, melancholy, and unexplained sadness. If you often find yourself lashing out at others or lacking the motivation to get out of bed, the struggles of mom life may be catching up to you. This can lead to substance abuse or suicidal thoughts if left untreated, so intervention is important.
Ray of Solace coaching provides nurturing support for struggling mamas. Founded by a successful entrepreneur who is motivated by love, we provide postpartum and family support for the difficult moments in everyday life. Learn more today!
Tips to Beat Mom Stress
There is no way to avoid the stress that life brings. While some choose to forego parenthood and escape that type of stress, they often find other ways to bring stress into their lives. So, we all need healthy ways to manage our stress. As the primary caregiver, it’s easy to fall into the trap of prioritizing our children’s needs over our own.
But that is a mistake. Your children don’t need a frazzled, grumpy mom that is too busy to spend time with them. They simply need a good mom who is there and mentally present. So if mom-stress is making you into someone you don’t want to be, here are some practical ways to balance things out.
Prioritize Self Care
First and foremost, give yourself permission to take care of yourself too. Self-care is the most often neglected aspect of our lives. Many moms even feel guilty about taking time out for themselves. Find a few minutes each day and a couple of hours each week to do something for you. Try reading a book, watching your favorite tv show, or even running errands without the kids in tow.
Let go of the three-day-old yoga pants and messy mom bun and make sure you get a shower and put some effort into how you look each day. These little chores can seem tedious when you have little ones to take care of, but they make a big difference in your confidence level.
Another one of the first things to go with busy schedules jam-packed with kids’ activities is your exercise routine. It starts out small, just skipping a day here or there. But pretty soon, you won’t be able to remember the last time you went to the gym or went for a run. Exercise is imperative to releasing stress. In fact, if you are feeling the stress pile on, one exercise session can alleviate most of the physical symptoms.
Connect with Other Adults
Humans are social beings. We need to socialize with others and belong in certain groups to meet our basic needs. And when we become mothers, and things get busy or difficult, we tend to let go of those adult relationships. Be intentional about connecting with other adults in mom groups, in your marriage, and in your friendships.
There are many over-the-counter supplements that are believed to effectively reduce stress. Ashwagandha is an excellent daily supplement that seems to have a calming effect without making you feel drowsy. And melatonin may help improve sleep patterns, indirectly reducing stress. There are also many commercial supplement blends engineered for reducing the stress that may be worth a try.
Writing it all down provides a safe space to process your feelings. This is why journaling is a popular therapeutic outlet. Not everyone can afford or wants to talk to someone when they feel burdened. A journal is a good, private stand-in for getting things out.
The Bottom Line on Mom Stress
The stress you feel from the daily wear and tear of raising your kids is real. And chronic stress leads to burnout and more serious struggles with anxiety and depression, not to mention various negative health effects on the body. It’s important to recognize and manage your chronic stress levels because motherhood should be enjoyed and not survived.
Ray of Solace is committed to helping families build better lives through everyday interventions rooted in love. If the demands of motherhood are weighing you down, reach out for a supportive voice. Contact us today.