How to Eliminate Your Mommy Mental Workload: 8 Steps for More Balance and Connection
For so long you had dreams of what life would be like once you had a baby. You pictured a life filled with love, laughter, and joy. But you’re starting to realize being a mother is much more than you bargained for. You just weren’t prepared for the exhaustion, the constant worry – and, yes, even the grief that comes with this new phase of life.
The reality is that moms are constantly multi-tasking. Mothers are always the ones thinking of and planning for everyone else in the family. Not only this, carrying out the details of the plans often falls to moms as well. As a result, you often feel like your brain never turns off. Like you have a running list of to-dos inside your head and that no one else can accomplish the tasks but you. So, at the end of the day, you feel massively overwhelmed. And worried and anxious and sad.
Unfortunately, when you live your life feeling like you have to take everything on, it affects your ability to let others help you. There’s often a sense of ‘if I can’t do it, then no one else can’. Or, if you do end up reaching out, you’re so consumed with the outcome that you attempt to micromanage the person helping. But all this does it leave you more stressed out and in a position of jeopardizing your relationships.
Not only does shouldering the mental load affect you emotionally, but as you continue to take on so much pressure and responsibility, you also begin to feel resentment that you’re the only one who seems concerned about this.
For you, it might look something like this….
The other day you finally got a moment out of the house, a much-needed break. You spent time thinking about yourself and relaxing and you actually felt rejuvenated by the end of running your errands.
But when you got back home, you saw a pile of dishes waiting for you in the sink. You apprehensively looked over at the table and saw your kids’ lunch boxes sitting there still unpacked and their unopened backpacks full of undone homework.
Your mind immediately started running through what you needed to do before you went to bed that night. You still had to: clean the dishes, pack new lunches for the next day, pick out everyone’s outfits, fill out school forms that need to be returned, and do laundry. At the time it felt like you didn’t have any other option but to take it all on by yourself.
Eventually, as you continue to fulfill the role of the person who remembers – and does – everything, you wind up in a place of feeling taken for granted. You begin to feel disconnected from your partner and the bond with your children suffers as well. But the truth is, many mothers struggle with trying to find balance in their lives. You are not the only one to feel like your family’s world would fall apart without you. It’s ok to want to find a way to turn off your brain and eliminate your feelings of overwhelm.
It is true that many moms struggle with taking everything on because they worry it won’t be done right without them. However, if you can learn how to relinquish some control and turn your brain off you can feel more connected and happy in your relationship and your role as a mother.
Keep reading to discover 8 steps to achieve more balance in your life…
The Overwhelmed Mother Breeds Negative Feelings
The biggest downside to taking on the entirety of the mental load is that you feel overwhelmed because all of the responsibility to everything tends to fall on you. At the very least, you may begin to feel resentful of your husband because you want him to do more than he does. But what’s even worse is that you might start to turn your overwhelm inward and experience a sense of shame when you don’t get things done on time or well enough to meet your personal standards.
So, what ends up happening is that you continue to feel underappreciated and pulled in a million different directions. It’s as if you’ve put yourself in the position to keep this pattern going because no one can remember everything as well as you and they certainly can’t carry out the tasks as well as you can either.
Yet, worst of all is that, sometimes, you find yourself comparing yourself to other moms and feeling like a failure because they seem to be doing everything you struggle with flawlessly. And living this way can make you feel utterly isolated from the community of women who understand everything you’re going through. Thus, you become sad and feel unworthy.
Being A Balanced Mother
Although you struggle with finding your self-worth amidst all you have to stay on top of, you have the potential to feel more relaxed and like you can better manage your life. Because when you start to be more intentional about how you use your energy, you can find ways for you and your partner to be teammates rather than working against each other all the time. This way you may also feel more rested and more connected to your loved ones.
When you choose to implement new strategies for balancing your household obligations, you will be able to incorporate more self-care in your life. Not only will you free up time to pursue interests of your own, you’ll also experience a higher level of ease and relaxation as you free up mental space.
You have the ability to make the changes necessary and to feel less guilt when you can’t get everything done. In the end, it’s entirely possible for you to find more balance in your life when you ask for it, and allow others to step up and take on some of the responsibility.
8 Tips to Help You Move From Overwhelmed to Relaxed
Yes, it’s true that you may be feeling disconnected and overwhelmed but the key to achieving more balance and calm in your life is to begin to relinquish control over your household’s mental load.
When you’re able to hand over a portion of control you’ll see that your spouse is able to step up and handle some of the family tasks. Not only that, when you follow a simple step-by-step path you will start to feel freer and more at ease.
Here are 8 steps to take as you work toward more balance in your life…
#1 Ask for Help and Delegate Tasks.
One of the reasons you struggle to ask for help is because you want things to be a certain way. It’s easier for you to take everything on yourself because you can ensure it will be done to your standards. But your way isn’t the only way. And the truth is, it’s often anxiety that’s telling you different.
When other moms come to Postpartum Health and Harmony, we strive to cut through any anxiety or perfectionism that keeps them from being able to share their workload. So rather than taking everything on themselves, they are able to decide what tasks should be done themselves and which should be permanently delegated to their spouse. Couples are then encouraged to review the breakdown weekly or monthly.
#2 Create a Shared Calendar with Your Spouse
You are obviously very familiar with everything you have going on. And it’s likely you’ve memorized your children’s schedules as well. But sometimes it can be helpful to share a calendar with your spouse so both of you can have a visual representation of the amount of stress you are each under.
Clients at Postpartum Health and Harmony find this exercise eye-opening as they are put in the position to consider the mental load from the other’s perspective. This can be helpful in splitting up responsibilities because the couple is able to see gaps in their schedules where they can pick up slack for their partners. This way neither one is left feeling so overwhelmed.
#3 Write It All Down
One of the biggest things that can help you find more balance in your life is to schedule any future recurring appointments before you leave the office. Whether this is doctors appointments for the entire family, home games, or monthly work dinners, when it’s on the calendar, then it’s taken care of and off your list. If it needs to be shuffled around later, you can always do that as the date gets closer.
#4 Take Shortcuts.
There are so many innovations out there to help moms save time. Take advantage of them. Order groceries online. Automate bills and whatever recurring events or appointments you may have. Use a recipe app for meal planning and creating a grocery list.
Often, Postpartum Health and Harmony clients feel like automation or shortcuts makes the work they are doing somehow less legitimate. Addressing this is another way we work together to combat perfectionism.
#5 Acknowledge Everything You Do
Because it’s already so natural for you to deflect, it can be really hard to take ownership of everything you truly do for your family. Even if you’re able to recognize all the good you do for your family, it sometimes gets forgotten with all of your running around. Take a minute to pause and really stop and reflect on how much you do.
In session with clients, we often have them ask themselves what it would mean if all those things weren’t taken care of? We ask them to reflect on whether or not life would be less than ideal but still ok? The major point of acknowledging how much they actually do is to take the pressure off themselves and to celebrate their contributions to their family.
#6 Let Go of Perfection
Everything you do does not have to be Pinterest Perfect. Give yourself permission to buy cookies instead of baking them from scratch. Get your nursery decorations from Walmart rather than Etsy. It is OK. There is no such thing as a perfect mom, husband, or child. Remember that you are doing your best and aim for good enough once in a while.
#7 Make Time for Your Needs
There’s no point in striving for balance in your life if you’re not going to care for yourself. Even though making time for self-care will mean that some things might not get done or will have to wait, it’s important not to forget about yourself. You are an important member of the family and your needs and wants deserve to be taken care of just like everyone else’s in the family.
When clients schedule therapy with Postpartum Health and Harmony, we make an effort to help them understand just how important of a role mothers play in the family. And when the moms are stressed out or struggling it takes a toll on everyone else. In session, we help them see that making themselves a priority really is best for everyone.
#8 Practice Mindfulness
It’s exhausting when you are the one constantly thinking of everything that has to be done. And one of the best things you can do for yourself is to take a break from your to-do list and practice being in the moment.
Take a few moments to focus on your breathing or your surroundings, focus on what you see, hear, and smell. Practice this regularly to get the most out of it. Aim for once a day. If you miss a day, no big deal, but it will keep you in the habit of practicing it.
When you schedule a session with Postpartum Health and Harmony, you will have several reminders to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. This way you can show your kids and your family how to slow down and appreciate life and avoid getting caught up in striving for perfectionism.
As a mother, it feels natural for you to take on all the needs of your family, even at the detriment of your own needs. When you do this, you begin to feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and lonely which in the long run can impact your relationships with those you love. By focusing on decreasing your mental workload, you take the time to take care of yourself and thus you are more available for others. You also feel happier and more relaxed as a mother.
If you want to learn more about how to make self-care as a mother more of a priority, please schedule your free initial phone consultation.
Click here to learn more about Postpartum Health & Harmony and how we can help you.