Mom Stress Is Real
Can I just say raising kids and managing everyday life can feel like a juggling act! It seems like it was only yesterday that I had three busy kids, a busy husband, a busy job, a busy church, which equals a busy life. Some mornings I would wake up, take a look at my "to-do" list, and just want to pull the covers back over my head!
I remember thinking, "I can't go down like this!" In order to manage my stress, I needed a game plan and I needed one quick. Life seemed to be passing me by and all I could do was stand on the sidelines and watch it.
To have any success with this "stress" thing, I concluded I simply had to learn my ABC's all over again!
The ABC's Of Mom Stress
A Awareness ~ We must have an awareness of what's going on, not only on the outside, but also on the inside of us. I started paying attention to what was going on. During stressful situations, my emotions would often run high. I found myself constantly upset and yelling at my kids. Instead of remaining calm when they did something wrong, I screamed and yelled. Moms, have you ever done that? Oh Great, so I'm not the only one!
In those days, my kids and I had some very tense moments. I started becoming more aware of my tendency to over react instead of calmly responding like I had good sense. Once I changed my response pattern, I noticed a difference in our relationship. My aha-aha moment came when I realized our household seemed to run smoother when I worked on managing my stress. You've heard the saying, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"
B Breathe ~ Wow! That sounds simple enough doesn't it? But, did you realize when we feel stress or when we feel anxious, our breathing becomes shallow? One of the best ways I learned to manage stress was to breathe intentionally. I make it a daily practice to take deep breaths, exhale, slow myself down, and relax. Whew! It really works.
One, two, three - Breathe with me! Slowly breathe in and slowly breathe out. Stop screaming. Stop yelling. Remember to use your inside voice! Mom, just breathe.
C Care ~ What I'm really talking about is self-care. Although it's a simple concept, it's something we often overlook. In a Mindfulness Training I recently attended, the Facilitator stressed the importance of good self-care being a key factor to one's improved general mood and overall reduced anxiety.
My whole world changed when I started taking time out for myself. It wasn't always easy and sometimes I even felt guilty. I discovered that I was worth taking care of!
When things get super busy, don't forget to take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Think about it, what activities do you engage in that are just for you? Take time out for yourself and enjoy a manicure, read a book, start a journal, listen to music, meditate, take long walks, and the list goes on.
To sum it all up, being a mother is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding jobs you can ever have. Managing stress is something you constantly have to work on. It really takes being aware of your stressors. Try to focus on your breathing by taking long deep breaths to bring yourself into a calmer state. Be purposeful in your self-care activities. Carve out time to do the things you enjoy and don't feel guilty. Bottom line, getting back to your ABC's is Next Level Parenting.