Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood? A mom with a freshly empty nest posted on Facebook about her first grocery trip without kids in the house.
She couldn’t wait to shop without the desires of her children dictating what she bought. What could be more blissful?
Instead of bliss, she discovered something all too common among moms with new freedom.
She had no idea what she liked and didn’t like.
She had spent the last 18 years taking care of everybody’s else’s needs, and hers got lost along the way.
You don’t want to wake up one day and realize you have no idea who you are outside of your identity as a mother.
So, what can you do today to prevent the pain of losing yourself while doing the important work of raising children? Here are three steps to stop feeling overwhelmed as a mom.What can you do to prevent the pain of losing yourself while raising children? Click To Tweet
1. Figure out what you need
The first step is to figure out your unique needs. You might feel drained by stuff that others sail through.
It could be you’re an introvert or highly sensitive person.
You’d do better in small groups or spending one on one time with your child.
Or maybe you need a project to fulfill your need to create. Like writing, or knitting, or even a business venture.
Then again, maybe the last thing you need is more to do. You salivate at the thought of staring out the Starbucks window with a steaming cup of peppermint tea. Alone.
That’s good, too.
There are no right or wrong answers here. Your aim is to find what fills your cup and makes you feel most like you.
Think about things you loved to do as a kid before the world got in your head and told you it was wrong.Think about things you loved to do as a kid before the world got in your head. Click To Tweet
For me, solitary activities like reading, rug-hooking and coloring gave me joy. The success of adult coloring books proves I’m not alone.
2. Ask for what you want and be specific
Maybe two hours on a Tuesday night is all you need. Enough time to browse a bookstore or enjoy a meal with a friend. You want to read your Bible and let it soak in for a change.
Or, maybe you need a whole day on the weekend to work on a project.
Ask someone in the family to take the kids on an outing. And not just this Saturday. Do it consistently. This is you giving others the chance to bond.
Asking might also look like saying ‘no‘.
Declining invitations that don’t feed your soul will free up some of that precious me time you’re after.
Anger and resentment build up when we carry too much, feel overwhelmed, and expect someone else to notice.
The truth is, people assume you’re okay, otherwise you would have said something.
Take the risk to share your need for help and teach people how to support you.
3. Follow through and challenge guilt
The third step is to follow through. Challenge the guilt that is sure to come when you move yourself up from the bottom of your list.
That twinge or onslaught of remorse is a test to build up your self-worth muscle. This is where you prove to yourself you’re worth taking care of.
Change is hard and both our minds and people around us will play tricks to make us stay the same.
And remember some people won’t like your boundaries.
This is not a cue to take them down, but to strengthen them. These people are the very reason you need boundaries in the first place.
Finding out your needs and taking steps to fulfill them is necessary fuel. By nurturing yourself, you come back with a full cup from which to pour into others.
Whether you start work on a new project or stare into space with a cup of coffee doesn’t matter. Resist the urge to judge how you do self-care.
Congratulate yourself for doing the hard work to stop feeling overwhelmed. Your health and your sanity depend on you having a balanced life.
Your loved ones will thank you for it. And even if they don’t, have the courage to do it anyway.