Stressed parent to relaxed parent (yes, really!)

If you ever feel stressed out, as a parent, as a mother, you are not alone.  Families are always so busy and, as mothers,  have so much on our plates constantly.   Planning (& making 3 meals) plus snacks a day, doing laundry, helping with homework, folding more clothes, keeping up on housework, grocery shopping, working, etc… can take its toll on anyone.

Today we have Sarah joining us to tell us how she went from being a stressed-out mama to a relaxed one.  Take a seat because she is here to tell us her story.

Hi.  My name is Sarah and I was a stressed-out mama.

I’m a mom of two little girls—ages 3 and 2 (and, yes, I desperately want another). In the past month, I’ve gone from a stressed-out, high-strung working mom to a relaxed mom who feels confident in her role as a parent.

I no longer lose my temper with my girls and I actually look forward to the crazy hours that happens right after naptime and remains until they go to sleep.

So, what gives? I promise you it wasn’t their behavior that’s changed, but rather, it was mine. Thinking back on the past month, there are five things I can pinpoint specifically to being a more relaxed and at-ease mom, and I’m sharing them with you today in hopes of helping calm the chaos in your life.

How to Go from Stressed-Out to Relaxed Mama

  • Quit trying to “do it all”Moms, it can’t be done, at least not happily. Two months ago, I was working full-time, freelancing almost full-time, and blogging. I would wake up early to get an hour or so of freelancing in, work all day at my full-time job, spend time with my husband and daughters, stay up late finishing my freelancing work and go to bed, only to do it all again the next day.Finally, I realized enough was enough. While I was able to keep up with everything, I was impatient and rushing through everything. The ones who suffered the most were, unfortunately, my daughters.I made a change and dropped freelancing from my plate. In retrospect, I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. I now have more time to devote to my three “buckets,” if you will: my family, my full-time job, and my hobby (blogging).  If you’ve been feeling on-edge lately, take a good look at your daily obligations.If it’s too much (and being stressed-out is a good sign it is!), drop one or two things from your list.
  • Pay attention to how you spend your time. It happens to all of us: We’re trying to read something online or send a text, and our little one needs our attention right then and there.We may get irritated and lose our temper. While this can’t completely be avoided, there are ways to manage our frustrations. This is what’s been working for me: If I’m actually in the middle of something important (such as work, not Facebook), I tell my kids calmly that I’m working and will help them in a minute. Then, I do. I don’t let it drag on. I simply finish my task at hand, thank them for waiting, and see what they need.All too often, I would be mindlessly surfing the internet or scrolling through Instagram when this would happen. My kids are in bed early, so there’s really no reason this can’t wait. Be aware of how you’re spending your time. If your kids are awake, dedicate as much time to them as you can. Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram can wait.  Go to bed.
    TIP: Put your children to bed, early, too.  They need rest to feel happy and be healthy: See Why It’s a Good Idea to Put Your Kids to Bed at 7
  • Exercise daily Exercise releases endorphins make you happier and will lower your stress levels (not to mention helps you drop a few pounds!).Start making exercise a priority during your day and see how your mood and even level of productivity change.  Try to sneak in a quick, 20-minute workout.  I do this while my kids are napping, and if not, there’s always the evening hours when my husband is home.
  • Wake up before your kids. My kids are both very early risers (6:30 is sleeping in for us!), but I still do my best to get up before them. I love having my morning coffee in silence and without having to get up a million times for milks, snacks and juices.I know it can be hard to get up early when the sun hasn’t risen yet or when it’s freezing cold.  However, those 15 minutes of alone time can really set your day up for success. If you’re having trouble waking up early, write down three goals you’d like to accomplish before the kids get up.These can be easy things, like: Make coffee, check emails and let the dog out. But, having a list gives you a reason to get up!  Another key to waking up early is going to bed at a decent hour. I feel the best when I get 8 hours of sleep.So, if I want to wake up at 6:00am, that means I need to be in bed and asleep no later than 10:00pm.
  • Let your kids be kids. A month ago, I did a little experiment where I decided not to drop everything I was doing and run to their rescue with every tear. I wanted to see if they would work it out themselves or eventually just get over it and move on.The results? While I still need to intervene more times than not, my girls have impressed me with their ability to move on from an argument rather quickly. And I’m a lot less stressed knowing that I don’t need to give in to their every beck and call.

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