Are you an overwhelmed mom? Use these tips from an experienced SAHM to feel less overwhelmed and less stressed.
Stay At Home Mom Expectations
Picture this: A mom rising early in the morning, having a steaming cup of coffee on her deck and enjoying the sunshine. When she is finished, she glides quietly to her child’s bedroom to look just one more time at the sleeping cherub before gently shaking them awake. The child cheerfully pops up, happy to see the mom.
The child and mother blissfully go about their day, completing a finger paint project, taking a walk with the dog, sharing a picnic lunch in the backyard, and building sky-high castles with blocks. While the child carefully puts together a puzzle, the mom crafts a delicious homecooked meal for the family to enjoy when her partner arrives home after a long day of work.
After dinner, the family cleans up the kitchen together and then retires to the living room to watch a family friendly movie before bedtime. The child skips to the bedroom after the movie and drifts off in a peaceful slumber.
Mom is ready to do this all again the next day.
Stay at Home Mom Reality
It’d be nice if the above scenario actually, happened, am I right?
It goes a little more like this sometimes:
Mom was up all night, feeding the baby. Precisely at dawn, the toddler runs in the bedroom crying, making Mom get out of bed groggily.
The toddler’s breakfast is made, but not before a tantrum and a mess made on the floor. The baby is fussing, needing to be fed and changed again.
Dishes are piled in the sink. Laundry spills out from the hamper. The floor is a tad sticky. Mom knows all of this needs to be done and tries to do a little at a time, but as soon as she completes one task (if she’s even able), the baby needs to be fed again.
While Mom feeds the baby, the toddler is playing with toys, spreading them all over the floor. The toddler is potty training, so off to the bathroom they run.
Both the toddler and the baby might go for a mid-morning nap, while Mom contemplates the age old question: Should she sleep while they sleep or get some work done?
Chores. Baby feeding. Toddler chasing. Repeat until dinnertime, when a hungry spouse who’s burnt out from a job might come home, eats, and then crashes on the couch while Mom gets the kids ready for bed.
Kids are finally in bed, and Mom gets about 5 minutes to sit before the baby is fussing again.
Okay, so this might be on the extreme end, but it’s pretty close to home for many of us when it comes to stay at home reality.
(Note: If you’re in this stage, please know that things can get better once the kids are a little older and less dependent on you! Hang in there!)
Avoid Stay at Home Mom Overwhelm
These are just some ways you can avoid being an overwhelmed stay at home mom (explanations below):
- Learn about being a stay at home mom before becoming one.
- Have realistic expectations about being a sahm.
- Talk with your spouse/partner about expectations and reality.
- Set up a daily schedule.
- Plan ahead.
- Carve out time for yourself.
- Get the family to help.
- Take a time out from technology.
- Find a hobby.
- Break routine.
- Say no to too many activities.
- Find a support system.
- Get enough exercise.
- Spend time with your spouse/partner.
- Get some sleep.
Learn about being a stay at home mom before becoming one.
If you’re new to being a stay at home mom or just doing your research about becoming one, you should definitely learn what it is to become a SAHM from others.
Knowing what to expect about being a stay at home mom can be a crucial step to take to help avoid overwhelm in the future.
With that being said…
Have realistic expectations about being a stay at home mom.
Much of the overwhelm and stress stay at home moms feel stem from unmet expectations.
The outside world has a few particular ideas of what it’s like to be a stay at home mom. One idea is that a SAHM is a cheerful homemaker who keeps her house spotless, her children entertained, and her family well fed with gourmet food. Another idea is that stay at home moms sit around in their leggings all day, eating bon bons on the couch as they scroll through Pinterest on their phones. The kids are tearing apart the house, dishes pile up in the sink, and nothing gets done.
So there’s two general views: one is an overachiever and one is an underachiever.
Here’s the real deal: it’s somewhere in the middle, with some days leaving you feeling like the overachiever and others making you feel like an underachiever.
As a stay at home mom, you can expect good days and bad days. There are days of high energy and low energy. There’s housework. There are kids to take care of. There are lists to make and dates to remember. There are groceries to buy and meals to make. There are days of making memories and cookies. There are days of playing in parks and visiting with friends.
You’ll find clothing that make you feel comfortable to do it all, whether it be leggings, a house dress, or jeans and a t-shirt.
You’ll find happiness, sadness, excitement, boredom, and more. You’ll have days when you’re exhausted and days when you can do it all.
Keeping this all in mind will help you to feel less overwhelmed when you face the tough days. You’ll know to expect those days but to also look forward to the pleasant days.
Talk with your partner or spouse about expectations and reality.
It’s vital to stay on the same page with your partner or spouse when it comes to the expectations and reality of being a stay at home mom. Is it always easy to stay on that same page? Sometimes no.
A simple Google search will show you how many women are searching things like “husband doesn’t understand being a stay at home mom” or even “stay at home mom feeling unappreciated by husband”. If you’re feeling these things, you’re not alone.
Many times, our spouses or partners have their own ideas of what it means to be a stay at home mom. Their ideas come from their own family experience, what they’ve seen on TV/movies, what the media tells them, and their own opinions. Their ideas of what the house should look like when they come home often does not jive with reality of what goes on all day long.
You need to have regular conversations with your spouse/partner about being a stay at home mom. It’s important to express how you feel, what you’re outlook is, and how they can help you.
Need help starting the conversation? There is a section in this stay at home mom e-book that helps to guide you both through conversations.
Set Up Your Daily Schedule.
Once you have more of an idea of what your stay at home mom life will look like, it’s time to set up a schedule. A schedule can help you avoid overwhelm since it helps to map out your day/week and gives you a time to accomplish a task instead of letting things pile up.
Your schedule can be a daily list of what to do or a weekly/monthly checklist of items to accomplish. The choice is yours.
And guess what? If you don’t complete a task one day, you’ll have other days to catch up when you have an extra minute.
By nature, I’m a planner. I like to know what’s coming up so that I’m not surprised and I can be as prepared as possible. With 4 kids, this is a must for me.
Try to sit down for a few minutes at the end of each month to plan out the next month. Make notes or set reminders for any appointments, meetings, sports games, etc. Let your spouse or partner know about any upcoming events concerning them, like parties, weddings, teacher meetings, etc. Arrange for any babysitting you might need for adult only events.
If you know what’s coming up next month, you can also adjust your daily schedule. If you have a busy weekend coming up, you can do more laundry, meal prep, or other chores during the week so you won’t get overwhelmed on the weekend.
Carve out time for yourself.
While you’re making all of these plans for your family, don’t forget to carve out some time for yourself. Even stay at home moms deserve a break!
I get my ‘me time’ first thing in the morning. I wake up an hour before the kids to have my coffee and breakfast and to either go on a walk or a bike ride. Some days I just sit and scroll on my phone or catch up on a show. I’m not a morning person, so doing all of this before the kids wake up give me a chance to feel human.
Get the family to help.
Whoever lives in the house can help take care of the house. That’s a rule we have here. Mom doesn’t do everything. Everyone chips in to help keep the house as clean as possible.
Once kids are old enough, they can start doing some of the chores on their own. Even kids as young as 2 years old can help put toys away. Things might not get done perfectly, but at least they’re getting done.
Even your spouse/partner needs to help out. It shouldn’t have to be mentioned, but if it does, be clear about what you need help with. (Again, this conversation starter is in this stay at home mom e-book!)
Take a time out from technology.
Technology is so prevalent these days. Most of us walk around with little computers in our hands every day, and these gadgets can take up much of our time and energy, adding to overwhelm.
We try to stay connected via social media or disconnected by playing games, but the unfortunate reality is that these things often leave us a lil’ addicted to them, to the drama or to the dopamine.
Take a break from technology as needed.
Find a hobby.
So many stay at home moms feel overwhelm because they feel they lose a part of themselves. A hobby can help you separate yourself from being a mom, even if it’s just for a short time.
It could be something simple, like growing a garden or learning how to take photographs.
What else could stay at home moms do for fun?
- Read a book
- Paint rocks and leave them for others to find
- Make crafts
- Plant a raised garden
- Experiment with essential oils (I recommend Simply Earth!!-affiliate link)
- Take an online class on any subject
- Play an instrument
- Learn a new language (fun for kids too)
- Listen to a podcast
- Care for indoor plants
- Write in a journal
- Try some DIY projects around the home
- Learn to crochet or knit
- Create jewelry pieces
- Volunteer in your community
- and more!
Of course, don’t take on too many new hobbies, as that could actually add to overwhelm instead of help relieve it.
We humans often need something different or new to make us feel revitalized again. Breaking routine can help when things get boring!
Give yourself a fresh start in the mornings or evenings with meditation or yoga. Take the kids to a new park in another town. Try out a new locally owned store. Have a pajama day and watch movies. Put up a tent in your backyard and pretend you are camping (kids love that!). Visit with friends or neighbors.
Doing something different, even if it’s just once a week, can help break up the monotony of your days.
Invites to events or kids playing multiple sports can add to the feeling of overwhelm. You might be tempted to say yes to everything or feel an obligation to be constantly be on the go, but it’s totally okay to say no to some things.
For me, it was saying no to multiple kids in multiple sports in the spring and summer. Since my husband had to work and I was the one who had to drive them around to practices and games, often at different times and at different locations, it became too much. The kids were miserable when we didn’t have down time, and I was exhausted.
We took a break from sports and have felt so much better.
Say no to filling up your calendar when it starts to get too overwhelming.
Find a support system.
You’re not in this alone! There are many stay at home moms out there, ready to support each other. They will be the ones to understand your life situations the most, being in the same boat themselves.
There are a lot of stay at home mom Facebook groups. It’s great if you can find one that is geared toward your local area!
Get enough exercise.
I know it might feel like you’re on the move all day long, but it’s important to get some purposeful exercise when you can. Why?
Exercise can improve mental health, reduces stress, improves sleep, and so much more. Have some stubborn weight? It can help with that too!
Even just 10-15 minutes a day is helpful. Many moms do yoga or stretching throughout the day. Exercises like that are great early in the morning or even before bed at night.
Want to ramp it up? Try weightlifting or HIIT routines to get some cardio and weight training in.
My favorite exercise? Walking! It’s so simple and it’s probably one of the best low impact exercises a mom can do. I like to walk first thing in morning before everyone gets up, but a family walk can be enjoyable too.
Spend time with your spouse/partner.
Date nights may be few and far between now that you have kids, but even spending a few minutes together every day can help you feel connected with your spouse/ partner.
If you can try to do something fun together, even if it’s an at-home date night, to help take your mind off of things.
Get some sleep.
I know, I know. When, right?
Even if you can catch a 15 minute cat nap during the day, every little bit of sleep helps.
If you are still in the stage where the baby wakes up often at night, it might be a good idea to go to bed when the baby goes to bed instead of staying up later. There are nights now even though my kids are older that I go to bed early when they do!
It might be beneficial for you to take a supplement like melatonin or something like ZZzquil to help you fall asleep at night when your mind might be racing.
It does get better when the kiddos sleep through the night!
How Do You Avoid Overwhelm?
I hope this list helps you, even in the smallest way. Being overwhelmed as a stay at home mom is something I believe we have all felt at one time or another, but it helps to avoid it when possible.
Do you have another way to avoid overwhelm as a stay at home mom? Share your tips or ideas with us in the comments!
*Still Feeling Overwhelmed?
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed and stressed after trying some of these tips, it’s possible that it could be not as simple as overwhelm.
You may be experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or some other ailment that might not be allowing you to feel any relief. Please know that you are not alone in this! A visit to your doctor can help you determine if any kind of treatment can help relieve these feelings.
It’s also possible that being a stay at home mom is not the right fit for you. No worries! Many moms discover this, and it’s totally okay.
Talk with your spouse/partner about how you feel. If you’re able, get a part time job that you can work either at nights or on the weekends to get out of the house. You can also choose to go back to work if that’s what works for your family.
If you have any questions, ask below!