Between reading news-feeds on social media, articles or in personal conversations, Moms feeling an overwhelming sense of “doing it all,” dominates. This idea of showing kids the world and exposing them to all the things, not yelling or spanking or giving time-outs, only feeding them clean nutritious foods, having either a fulfilling career or staying at home all while keeping a sparkling, joy-filled living area either paying for someone to clean it or doing it yourself, with only earth friendly products and of course, folding laundry and putting it away- all while being the best spouse/partner with a pre-baby body and fun-loving attitude.
Well you can stop doing this to yourself.
Where is this pressure coming from? Likely, it is self-induced. Yes, overthinking how to get all the things done is what we create for ourselves and I’ve been there and I have climbed out of that type of thinking and if you want out too, I am sharing my tools.
Here was my trick to getting started: I had to stop having expectations of who I thought I was supposed to be. Once this happened, I was able to live at my own pace without particularly caring who I was impressing. And, who are we impressing? Who are we comparing ourselves to? Just do what is most important to you and don’t try to scale all the mountains at once. Now it won’t be me to tell you what that looks like because it’s different for each of us and me imposing my values is the opposite of the intention of this blog.
If you are indeed satisfied feeling like you don’t measure up, then by all means, keep on it; but as a former over-thinker that wanted change, that wanted to get sleep, that wanted freedom from panic attacks, the strategy I used went something like this when I first decided I needed to find an alternative viewpoint for myself:
1. Self-care. (At least) once a month I did something for myself, Mani/Pedi, Massage, Acupuncture or the likes, painting class, beer making class or hang with friends that made me laugh. (Yes I made beer and it was awesome)
2. Made a weekly calendar of which chores I was going to do which days. This helped me not feel like I had to do everything every day. (I was a single mom at the time and my kids did help here and there but were pretty young to make a significant difference)
3. Grocery lists and meal planning
4. Intentionally exercised every other day
5. Became my own cheerleader. I decided to stop taunting myself with the accumulation of all the mistakes I’ve made in my entire life or the hardships and trauma I had experienced and started to tell myself at least ONE good thing about myself every day. This also allowed me to let go of all the old baggage that no longer served me.
Over time, plenty of time, my brain stopped drowning me with negativity and self-loathing; I healed and I began to thrive. Look, I still overthink situations occasionally, I still want to help make the best choices with my kids so they are well rounded and not jerks, my house doesn’t always feel organized enough and strangers with negative attitudes can still irritate me, but it doesn’t consume me and my situations are not my identity and coming from where I was- that is HUGE. No longer do I think of all the random mistakes I’ve made or who hurt me or what I could have said better. My freedom is just being me and not even thinking how I wash my laundry, or paint colors we use on the walls or how we spend our family time, will be interpreted by others, it’s for me and it’s for our family.
Living life how I see fit is my goal and I offer these suggestions as a part of what my career has transformed into which is helping others manage stress. I very much enjoy certain types of stress, especially setting goals and challenges, but not overanalyzing situations and not damaging myself in the process by thinking , "I don't measure up or I'm not doing enough." I do however, care about people and I wanted to address what I interpret as a display of unhealthy thought patterns and offer some tools that worked for me in hopes it may resonate with at least one other mom.
*Many people are predisposed/diagnosed with Depression/Bipolar/Phobias to which it’s not a simple task to get through the day and therefore, these suggested techniques may not be as helpful as those recommended by professional mental health therapists of which I am not.