• Is stress turning you into a “monster mom”? Is being too busy making you feel guilty? Do you often wish you could have even just a little bit of peace and quiet time? Does having too much responsibility deprive you of enjoying your role as a mother?

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    Photo by RelaxingMusic from flickr creative commons

    Being a mom is indeed a wonderful privilege but it can also be tough. Even the gentlest, most caring mother in the world can be a “time-bomb” waiting to explode when things become too much to handle. Between juggling time with the kids, husband’s needs, relationships, work, home and more, a mom’s life can be extremely stressful, with so much to do in so little time!

    But of course, motherhood doesn’t have to be this way.  

    “Even if one's life seems overwhelming, it is still possible to live life with balance; maybe not as much as one would like, but at least they can be guaranteed that they will get some balance and that is what we should be striving for.” This is according to Erin A. Kurt, author of Juggling Family Life: A Step-By-Step Guide to Stress-Free Parenting.  

    In spite of the difficult and challenging demands of motherhood, it is important to stay on top of the situation and strive for the right balance and motivation that you CAN make things work smoothly. Sometimes all you need is to appreciate the lighter side of things and watch how life as a mom can become even more beautiful for you.  

    Here are 10 ways we moms can de-stress:

    1. First things first.
    Start by clearly defining your priorities based on the things you value most in life. Ask yourself: is family more important than work? Is quality time with your kids more important than your personal time? Once you have done so, it would be easier to work out your schedules, activities and routine around these priorities.     

    Identify your “urgent and important” items against the less important ones. Most of the time, we moms are so eager to get everything done all at once, or tend to consider everything as urgent and important.  

    It will be helpful if you can come up with a priority list on a weekly basis. This way, you can be properly guided on what needs to be done right away and which can be set aside in the meantime.  

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    2. Establish a realistic routine with your kids.
    There is a difference between creating an “ideal” routine and a “realistic” one with your kids. An ideal routine may be the best option for you as a mom but not necessarily realistic for the kids. This could also add to your stress especially when things don’t happen as planned.  

    At the same time, rather than imposing a routine FOR your kids, try to work out a routine WITH them, most especially for older kids.

    Establishing a routine at home will also depend on the stage of your children. For instance, school-aged kids will need more time to study and can be expected to help out with chores. Toddlers will need more time for play, extended meal times, etc.. Weekday routines should be different from a weekend one as well.  

    Though having a strict routine doesn’t always guarantee as stress-free day, following a regular schedule is what most kids need in order for them to feel secured.  This will also gradually help them learn to accomplish things and balance their own time as well.  

     

    3. Be firm but loving in your manner of discipline.
    Being loving in your manner of discipline will teach your children to respect you more rather than to fear you if you become too imposing or resent you if you become too harsh. Being able to gain your children’s respect will make it easier for you to talk to them and make them understand their limitations.

    At the same time, when your children respect you, it will not be difficult for them to accept your instructions and rules for they will learn to understand that they are being disciplined because they are loved.     

     

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    4. Take a moment to cool down.
    Stress tends to make you overreact, oftentimes resulting in outbursts of anger. When you find yourself being pressured or feeling like you’ve had too much, find a spot in your home or take a quiet moment to simply release the tension you’ve been feeling.  

    Handle stress as soon as you start feeling it rather than wait until it has built up within you before acting on it. Find opportunities to express yourself as well without expressing anger, like writing a journal or talking to your husband. Being angry all the time and expressing this to your kids will definitely not be healthy for their emotional well-being.  

     

    5. Do something you love doing whenever you have the chance.
    “Mommy Me-time” doesn’t have to be costly, extravagant or take too much time. Simply doing the things you love can be a perfect way to enjoy your “me-time”. Try reading a chapter from your favorite book, watch a “feel-good” movie at home, prepare your favorite dessert or work on a hobby like making a scrapbook of your family moments.  

    Do something special for your kids as well, like a simple card to affirm them, learn a new recipe which you know they will love, or perhaps, decorate their rooms with their favorite characters or designs. Though it may seem like a chore, doing something which will make your kids feel good will make you feel good as well and remind you how much you love them. This will also be a great way to distract you from the stressful side of parenting.   

     

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    6. Bond with Mom!
    Find time to bond with your own mother or a person you look up to as your “mother-figure”, like your aunt, “ninang” or even your grandmother. Spending time with them can be great for you since you don’t have to be the “mom” for a change, but simply a woman who also needs TLC.  

    Share a coffee moment with your mom or go to the salon together. An intimate mommy chat is also a perfect way to bond. Honor your mom as well for the way she fulfilled her role in your life. Make the most of this precious time to also rekindle that wonderful feeling of being a daughter, enjoying mom’s loving support and care.

     

    7. Share the load.
    Remember, you are not alone in this. Work out a parenting routine with your husband as well. He is your partner and together, you can accomplish more as parents.   

    If you have a nanny or any family member helping you out with the kids, make sure you delegate the responsibilities properly. Trust that they can support you with some of the minor things which need to be done for the children. Give clear instructions and guidelines to make sure that routines and activities are done accordingly. Set the right expectations as well in order to avoid the stress of frustration or disappointment if things don’t happen the way you expected them to.

    8. Look Good… Feel Good!
    A surefire way to feel good is to look good! Being a mom should never deprive you of taking care of yourself physically. Eat healthy food. Try a different haircut from time to time. Wear clothes that you feel good in and which define your figure whether at work or even at home.  Drink lots of water to keep your skin hydrated and glowing. Do some exercise at home or take long warm baths to unwind after a full day’s work. Wear your favorite scent of perfume or cologne. Try to arrange for a day of pampering like getting your nails done or maybe a trip to the spa.  

    More importantly, always wear a smile… there is no better way to look and feel good than flaunting your best smile and always keeping a positive disposition.

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    9. Invest more on quality time rather than quantity time.  
    Strive to make each moment count no matter how short or brief it may be. Children deserve the 100% commitment and attention of their parents, but this can be impossible at times, so make sure that you set a specific time in the day or day in a week specifically for them. Devote your full time and attention to them during these moments. If possible, turn off your mobile phone or anything that will distract you from spending quality time with them.  

    Make this time special for them by making them feel that you are actually excited and always looking forward to share this moment with them.  Making the most of your time together – no matter how brief - will make sure your kids don’t feel deprived or neglected. Rather than counting the times spent with them, they will rather learn to appreciate that you have made each moment with them count.    

    10. “Later” doesn’t have to mean “Never”.  
    It is easy to fall into the trap of committing to doing things for your kids “later” then never doing it at all due to stress and too much responsibility. Be careful never make your kids feel neglected by failing to respond to their needs and requests due to your busyness.

    Whenever kids feel neglected, the more they would become demanding of your time and attention. If there are things which you could do for them now rather than “later”, then do it. Or if you commit to doing it for them later, then be sure to do it once you have the time.    

    We need to be careful not to allow ourselves to be our own toughest pressure by obsessing too much on living up to that perfect motherhood image which we ourselves have created. Motherhood is beyond skill and definitely, more than an image. A mom’s selfless capacity to care and to love is the best accomplishment any mother can achieve. We, moms need to take care of ourselves as well because caring for ourselves is one of the best ways to care for our children. A mom’s life may have a lot going in it. It may be challenge to put order into our lives, but it is also not impossible.  

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