Dealing with Mommy Stress
“Sometimes, I just need a break!” There, I said it! Although I love my daughter to death and wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything in the world, the reality is that I am exhausted more often than not. By the time bedtime comes around, my back is aching, my arms are sore, and my brain is fried. I won’t lie, there’s been plenty of days I fall asleep while breastfeeding Kalea before bed and wake up hours later to find her sound asleep next to me. I panic, check to make sure she’s breathing and go right back to sleep. Don’t judge me!
Nowadays, the responsibilities of a mother go far beyond just taking care of her children. As the cost of living and daycare continues to go up in the U.S., more and more women have to work full-time jobs to help sustain the family. This means after a long work day, we’re still coming home to take care our family and household chores.
So here’s my advice to easing some of the mommy stresses.
COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PARTNER.: When Sergio and I had the conversation about having a baby, I was very verbal about my fears and concerns, including his involvement in raising our child and giving me a break from time to time. Till this day, I continue to let him know how I’m feeling - if I’m overwhelmed, tired, need a massage, etc. Communicating with your partner what you want their involvement to be is a great way to ensure you’re both on the same page.
SET EXPECTATIONS: Set expectations with those who are assisting you with caring for the baby. When expectations are not set, we are let down more easily and stress out more. When Sergio and I run through our week, he lets me know if there will be days I should expect him to be less involved due to meetings, church gathering preparations, etc. So for these days I am mentally prepared to take on most of the baby load.
HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: When Sergio is out and I have to spend the bulk of the time with Kalea, he agrees to spend uninterrupted time with her when he gets back. This allows for Daddy-daughter bonding, but it also gives me some “me-time” to look forward to! For you, this could be anything - a long bath after putting the kids to sleep, a brunch with your gal pals while someone watches the baby, or eating your favorite dessert while watching a 20 minute episode.
DO SOMETHING THERAPEUTIC REGULARLY: During me-time, I like to write (I’m actually taking some me-time right now!) It helps me meditate, refocus, and put thoughts into perspective. I also enjoy reading articles or listening to podcasts that interest me. I try to do something therapeutic at least once a day. I find that when I’ve gone some time without doing anything for myself, I’m crankier and less patient. So whatever calms you - coloring, painting, reading, working out - make it a regular activity.
DROP EVERYTHING: Sometimes, you’ve just got to do it! And by this, I mean literally put the dishes down, turn off the vacuum, ignore the clothes in the laundry, and just plop on the couch with a cup of your favorite ice cream and watch a classic movie. OR go to sleep early! Either one works. Listen to your body. There are days when we’re tired and we can keep running on adrenaline, but there are other days when our bodies are screaming for us to take a chill pill. Don’t ignore these days because it’s days like these that force you to get the “time off” you need to recoup energy. The chores aren’t going anywhere; trust me, they’ll be there in the morning. So relax and enjoy some “time-off!”