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5 Quick Ways to Melt Away the Stress of Motherhood

I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last weekend (…again. SO FUNNY.)

You know that very first scene? Where they are all trying to defeat this huge big baddie, while Baby Groot dances around in his own world, oblivious to everything else around him? Remember when he decides it’s a good idea to stick a bug into his mouth, forcing  Rocket (the raccoon) to suddenly swoop down and force him to spit it out?

That’s my life, I thought.

Trying to save the world, while making sure non-food items don’t end up in people’s mouth.

That’s stressful, people!

  • It’s stressful to be ON CALL 24/7.
  • It’s stressful to try to get anywhere by a specific time.
  • It’s stressful to be responsible for my children’s health.
  • It’s stressful to figure out how to feed and clothe them with a finite amount of cash.

Those simple tasks I thought were so easy to do…suddenly they are behemoth monsters I’m not convinced I can actually defeat. (i.e. showers…)

So today, we’re going to set aside those to-do lists, friend. Even as we discuss ways to alleviate the burdens of being The Mother, let’s never lose sight of the greater reward: That we are actually mothers.

As parents, we get to experience a type of love that is utterly unique.  We get to struggle to learn how to care for these tiny people, how to train them, how to encourage them, how to mold their little hearts and instruct their souls to be the person they were meant to be.   It’s exhausting, scary, and thrilling all at the same time.

We have the distinct honor and privilege to garden the tiny buds in our homes so they can bloom to their full potential in adulthood.

Parenthood is not a right.  It is a blessing. 

But sometimes, even blessings have heavy camp-packs.

So let me share 5 very simple ways I try to keep my parenting-pack as light and mobile as possible.  These are the tricks that I use to manage my home, my time, and my “Momster” that can come out when I’m too stressed.  (You know we all have one…)

Stress Melter #1:
Get More Sleep

I’m going to take a wild guess that you read this tip and…

A)  laughed hysterically for a second before abruptly cutting off and developing a crazy twitch on your left eyelid.

B) Threw the phone/ipad/computer across the room in a fit of cursing rage of exhausted defeat.

or…

C) held your breathe and hope against hope that I can help you make “sleep” happen again.  

Well, luckily I think twitches are disturbing and throwing things is embarrassingly juvenile.  So that leaves us with “C”.   I do, in fact, have a few tips on that subject to offer!

Do a Nursery Makeover

Take a few minutes to look at your baby’s sleeping room.

  • Is it light in there during the day?  Hang up a few sheets until it’s pitch black.
  • Is it too quiet? So that every bump in the living room can be heard?  Get a 24/7 noisemaker.
  • Is he banging his head on the crib slats at night?  I’m actually a fan of crib bumpers, when they’re done safely.  Fortunately here in the 21st century we have some pretty impressive and safe bumper options to choose from.

A Gentle Way to Teach Sleep

Babies have a sleep cycle just like we do.  Many times they will get stuck on the “partial awakening” part of the cycle and wake up.

We, as their loving parents, need to help them learn how to get through that awakening portion without us.  Fortunately, this doesn’t mean making him scream alone in the crib until he passes out.  There’s a gentler way to teach this.

Get Your  Napping Issues Fixed

Helping your baby get good naps throughout the day is really important in establishing good nighttime sleep (and not having a super-crankster on your hands).  Nap coaching is one of the hardest sleeping skills we teach our children.

Nap coaching is one of the hardest part of sleep coaching! If your baby struggles with getting closer to his daytime sleep totals, meet with us for a private napping consultation and let us help you create a solid nap coaching plan. It will make a huge difference!

Stress Melter #2:
Give Yourself a Quiet Time

My mental health is directly related to my quiet times.  It’s like using “the naughty spot” for myself.  Every day I deliberately set aside time to be alone in the living room.

I pour myself a hot cup of coffee, grab my favorite rocking chair, and crack open my Bible.  I spend some time journaling (if I feel like it), or I may work through a Bible study.  Then I  close my eyes and chat-things-0ut with God. (i.e. pray).

I need that time to recharge, reboot, and make sure I’m thinking clearly and rightly about the things going on in life.  Figure out your mothering style, and then work to give yourself the time you need to recharge.

Stress Melter #3:
Winning the “What’s for Dinner” War

I’m a picky eater who has snobbish taste-buds.  I also have the kitchen creativity of a potato.  This means that I have to meal plan to protect my family from starvation.

Except I have a problem:  I have very little time for meal planning.

So I was relieved last year when my sister Jenny introduced me to eMeals.

You pick out a plan that fits your family (you can choose Low-Calorie, Slow-Cooker, Gourmet, Paleo, Low-Fat…13 different plans).   Then every week you get an email with a week’s worth of meals (with the recipes) and a grocery shopping list.   You can print them off like me or carry it around on your phone.

I pay a whopping $5 a month for the yearly plan.  Consider it the most affordable personal chef on the market.

I’ve been doing this for the last year and have yet to get a repeated menu plan.  They give me 7 different meals and I pick out the ones I think my family would enjoy the most.  It’s a beautiful thing.

Here are the different meal plans they have to choose from. Sign up now and try it for free for 14 days.

Stress Melter #4:
Bribe Yourself.

I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions.

Most resolutions are given in a teeth-gritting “I WILL DO THIS” mindset.  You emotionally focus on your end result, and then “make yourself” follow through for the first week.  Then the resolve fades, inconvenience sets in, and you’re ditching the whole thing before the third weekend.

Instead of resolutions, I take the bribery approach.

I make a short list of things I want to improve this month, and then I make another list of things I would really enjoy or like to have as a result of meeting those goals.

You can give yourself a small daily bribe (like watching a favorite TV show, or picking up Starbucks), or work all week towards one big bribe on the weekend, like a Mama’s Movie Night or a Locked Inside the Bathroom Spa Evening.

Here are two examples of my favorite Big Bribes:

1. The Unicorn Rainbow Mug of Happiness
2. Deliciously Healthy Munchies
3. World’s Comfiest Pajamas
4.  The Princess Bride (or some other favorite chick flick)

1.  Dead Sea Mud Mask
2.  Teavana Perfect Tea Maker
3. Herbal Neck Heat Wrap
3.  World’s Softest Robe 

After a month or two has passed and those little challenges are becoming less, well, challenging and more routine, pick a new change and bribe your way through that one for a while.

The results at the end of the year will surprise you.   Instead of making changes for three weeks by sheer will-power and guilt-tripping before giving up, you made it an entire year and saw significant changes.  Huzzah!

Stress Melter #5:
Steal Back Your Time

Time is like a leaky faucet.

You work so hard to stay on top of your responsibilities…only to see the time you need to complete them drip drip drippppppppppping all the way down the hypothetical toilet.

I prefer to have no schedule and just do whatever I feel like whenever I feel like doing it.

But I’ve learned, as my kids get older and life gets busier, that I’m doing myself a big favor if I structure my time.   Wasted time often turns into less sleep or less time with the kids in the evening.

The Internet is a HUGE time-monster for me.  I click on a single Buzzfeed article and sluuuurrrrp!  There goes an hour.  Or hop on Facebook for a few  minutes…and sink into a Facebook coma that eats away the afternoon.

I still enjoy all my favorite online time-monsters, but I’ve discovered a smart time management tool to tame them.

The Biggest Stress-Reliever:
Hugs from Your Kids

These are all great suggestions, and I hope you use them, I really do.

But do you know the single BIGGEST stress reliever, I’ve found?

Hugs from my children. Cuddles. Kisses. Silly tickle games.

Take those little blessings and hold them close. It will remind you that being their mother is worth every ounce of the “stresses” the world can throw at you!

How do you handle the stresses of motherhood?  

Have You Read These Yet?

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12 thoughts on “5 Quick Ways to Melt Away the Stress of Motherhood

  1. Thanks for this post, Heather! Really good timing. So glad for God’s protection over your little ones. Sometimes it’s right in our face and sometimes He’s protecting us even when we don’t see it, thank God!

  2. Hey Heather! I am so glad to hear you all are okay. Just yesterday God put it on my heart again how much of a blessing and gift Olivia and every child is to us. I am so thankful for her. Then He spoke to my heart about all the children out there who don’t even have the love and care she does and the many couples who have it to give and cannot have children. We have several close friends. I am in awe everyday (esp. the long tiring ones) of how He reminds me I am truly blessed to have my baby girl! Love your post! Praying for your mother.

    1. Thank you Heather! Mom is in very good spirits. I’ll be traveling to be with Dad during the surgery in February and we’ll get more information then, but for now we are all very encouraged.

      I’m glad the post resonated with the things God is teaching you! It’s always good to hear when others are thinking about the same things I am. And I hearty AMEN to your comment about “all the children out there who don’t even have the love and care she does”. Even if a person was not made a mother by birth, there are children who need that mother figure desperately in their lives. We can provide that by a simple loving smile at the grocery store or by opening our homes to abused or neglected children…this whole experience re-awakened in my a desire to be talking with God about the different ways our family can care for the fatherless (and motherless) that are so easily forgotten. Not sure the form that will take (or when), but it’s continued presence in my heart says there’s a path there eventually. 🙂

  3. You are so right about your addition to your article! It really spoke to me and made me realize these little stresses are nothing in the big scheme of things. So grateful for my little angel, and so glad you and your little angels are ok! Thanks for the tips!

  4. When I get too stressed as a mom I just grab one of my kitty’s and listen to the purr! Puts me in a much better mood 🙂

  5. Yikes, that’s scary! Glad to know you and the kids are safe… Love the stress-busting tips, especially the “get more sleep” one. If only I can remember that before the clock strikes midnight, instead of when the alarms rings in the morning…. 🙂 Take care!

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