Sometimes I feel like I could win a Mother of the Year award. We were grabbing dinner at McDonald’s because I forgot to go grocery shopping this week. Who forgets to go shopping?
With only the refrigerator light in the fancy stainless steel fridge we got BK (before kids), I didn’t have a choice. The hangry toddler was demanding (rightfully so) to be fed.
Just another example of one of my many failures. Being a parent is hard.
Feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by parenting? It’s a feeling most of us can relate to.
I know because I’ve been there. It was so overwhelming to have a brand new baby, a marriage to nurture, a house to maintain, a mortgage that needed to be paid, a dog that couldn’t feed herself, and a job that was demanding.
I knew something needed to change and I was ready to do that, but then I realized it wasn’t going to be an easy fix. I needed to learn how to create a better life.
If it were easy everyone would be doing it. If it were easy you wouldn’t have so many parents trying to figure out how to make it work without being stressed out and overwhelmed.
I’m not going to sugar coat it. You deserve better than that. Changing your life is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do.
There are probably a lot of different things that you’d like to change and they may seem small. Yet you want to change them because you feel that all of these changes put together could help you move forward and lead a better life.
Or maybe you want a larger change. Maybe nothing seems to be working lately and you’ve always been prevented from following your dreams. So what can you do?
Break it down to baby steps
Instead of framing the change in baby steps we get caught up with how large of an undertaking it truly is to change your life. The idea of radically changing your life so that you are no longer overwhelmed might lead you to some uncomfortable truths.
In today’s world, we try to have it all. We are career women, mothers, and homemakers. We do it all dancing backward in high heels.
Unfortunately, this leads to feeling overwhelmed and unfortunately usually we drop some balls in the juggle. Typically something is forgotten, a major task doesn’t get done, or we sacrifice our mental health just to do it all.
Luckily there are things that we can do to make sure that we’re on top of the right things and that we make the best choices for us.
We can radically change how we not only live our lives, but how we look at ourselves. How we view ourselves can make a considerable difference.
Understanding our limitations and working within those boundaries can massively change your entire life.
I know this seems like a large task. And it’s very easy to walk away thinking that this is too large of an idea. It’s insurmountable you might tell me. Well it is if that’s how you’re selling it to yourself.
Instead, we’re going to break it down. You need to start at the beginning and that means with one small step every day.
Step 1: Negativity isn’t helping
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First, we want to ditch the negativity. It’s not going to be easy because we tend to be negative in ways we don’t understand. A lot of times we don’t even realize it. Is it really that’s surprising?
We’re surrounded by negativity every day. All you have to do is turn on the TV to the news and you’ll be bombarded with negative messages. Social media certainly doesn’t help either.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make the decision to be positive every single morning and to be mindful of your actions throughout the day. You want to make decisions that enforce your new mindset here are a few things that you can do to help make this a habit
Laughter is truly the best medicine. Make it a point to laugh with your family. These are the things your children will remember and laughing together will elevate everyone. Ask Alexa to tell you a joke. It’s worth it I promise!
Help someone out every single day. Go out of your way to lend a hand or listen to someone. Solve the problem or just lend an ear. Sometimes a smile can go a long way!
Be accountable. It’s time to start accepting responsibility for your actions. Good or bad owning your actions makes a huge difference in how you view yourself and gives you integrity and accountability.
Being proud of the person you are will help you tune out the negativity and focus on the positives and how you can make a difference.
Be grateful. Everyday choose at least three unique things you have to be grateful for. I do this at the end of the day and it impacts my entire day as I’m always looking for blessings. I’m a big fan of gratitude journals like this one: Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude Journal.
A lot of times we think of problems as these insurmountable tasks. We’re automatically negative about them. However, by re-framing them into challenges, we can look for ways to overcome these roadblocks. A simple mindset change can make all the difference.
Step 2: Be Kind
Next, we have to be kind. People who act kindly are happier in the long run. Part of this is that it feels great to be good to other people.
It cost nothing for you to be nice. The next time someone is sharp with you, take a deep breath before you respond.
We watch Daniel Tiger in our house. Whenever Daniel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to four.
My husband and I started doing this in our own lives and it has made a huge difference. Sometimes all it takes is a bigger smile than normal and it can change the attitude of yourself and the other people around you.
Being kind to others not only helps others around them feel better, but you feel better at the same time. Plus, it’s a fantastic example to set for your children.
It doesn’t take much to be a bit kinder to those around you. It’s easy to make this a habit and goes a long way.
Step 3: Get support from others
We underestimate how damaging stress can be to our lives. Often we treat our mental health as an after thought. We’re supposed to be stressed right?
Growing up, my sister and I would joke that our mother went crazy twice a year – Christmas and self-review time at work. These two times of the year are supposed to bring stress.
Stress however affects so many things. It isn’t just mental either. It can directly affect your health. This 10 minute meditation can help you reduce your stress in a pinch.
One of the most effective ways to managing stress is to have a strong support network.
There’s a lot to be said for having a strong community around you that provides us with the longing, security, guidance, advice, and anything else that we may need.
I know it’s cliche but it truly does take a village. Not only to raise children but to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves.
Find a local sitter or mother’s helper when you need an extra hand.
Step 4: Embrace Simplicity
If you want to effect real change in your life, it’s time to identify what’s essential and to get rid of the excess. There’s a reason why everyone is into decluttering these days and why it feels so good to complete a purge.
The latest craze has even come to Netflix! The Marie Kondo revolution has taught so many people that clutter has an emotional aspect rather than just a physical one.
Don’t downplay what clutter from your past could be doing to you and how it can affect your future. Now is not the time to allow physical stuff to build up and leave you with emotional clutter.
Clear your desk. Clean off your kitchen counters. Clear your closet. Clutter creates stress so let’s remove it from your life.
Another benefit of simplifying is that it takes away unnecessary choices that can contribute to feeling overwhelmed.
For example, let’s say you have twenty different shirts to pick from in the morning. Looking at all 20 might feel overwhelming. But if you only had, say 5 for example, it’s a lot easier to make a decision.
Simplifying helps you make simple decisions faster without much thought and can decrease stress. Give it a try today! I highly recommend Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I got rid of so many clothes and other items that didn’t bring me joy.
Stop looking at only the big picture
The key to succeeding with these changes that you would like to achieve is to take regular baby steps. When you find yourself focusing solely on the big picture it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
We have enough of that in our lives and it’s time to take back control.
While big picture thinking can be seen as a positive, it’s just as important to be able to break it down into steps that you can take that will keep you motivated. This is how we stay focused, this is how we stay driven, and this is how we win.
By tapping into a proven system that works for overwhelmed and overworked moms, we can take back control one step at a time.