Periodically most mommies get overwhelmed. I say most because you may be one of those special people who are so organized, have perfect children, have a nannie, or just don’t let things bother you. But if you do get overwhelmed from time to time, you are not alone.
I have a bit of experience in the area. I have 6 children. They are all in the 40’s now so I can positively say that we survived, however, there were a few times in their upbringing that I lost it. These days with the added elements of electronics and now with the current pandemic, to be a mom you really have to put your armor on every single day.
When I say put your armor on, I mean to be able to take the slings and arrows that hit moms every day. But, even with said armor, you can still get overwhelmed.
So, lets define overwhelmed. This state may be different for different moms and situations. After, of course, the normal stresses of having twins, my first children, it didn’t take long for my house to get into a yearlong mess. I am not naturally a meticulous housekeeper and have even tagged myself as lazy, however, with the care and feeding of these two very demanding children, I admit that I got overwhelmed on several occasions. Overwhelmed for me at that time was the anxiety of a messy house.
My friends and family helped some and when the “second,” actually third child came along 16 months later several church friends came by to help with both the children for a day and to do some straightening. This was so welcomed and as they put me into my room with the new baby, they took care of the twins and cleaned up. They asked about the clutter on the counter, I said, “If you throw it away, just don’t let me see it!” I know my issues and it took all the will power I could muster to keep from opening a box of my clutter on the street! This was me, overwhelmed. They certainly were the best helpers ever. Even if just for a day! Don’t be afraid to help a young mom. You may just bring a meal or babysit for a few hours, but this is a real stress reliever. I know I will forever be grateful for any help I received from my husband, friends, and family. One time my sweet sister just happened by with a gallon of milk. We need to all be ready to help, even in a small way, our overwhelmed moms.
Housework is not the only stress for moms, but for me, it was a real issue. Later, when I had my 6th baby in 6 years, a friend saw my housecleaning dilemma and recommended a household helper that would clean for a few hours a week and help. I had her come many times for several years and she became a good friend, she even babysat!
Fast forward to schoolwork. This can be a stressor. If I could go back in time, I would have been more attentive to my kid’s schoolwork, unfortunately, I was more into their basic needs, food, and transportation. That said, they all graduated high school, and some college, so we are good. Except for typing 6 science projects, schoolwork was not one of my daily anxieties. I know that especially right now, if you are doing schoolwork at home, keeping up with assignments, etc., can overwhelm. So, what do we do? My recommendation is to monitor but let your child, if old enough, take charge. Just like cleaning their room, it takes time and help for them to “get it” but ultimately, they must take some responsibility. I think it’s even overwhelming for you and your child for you to think you can do all their work for them. That eventually catches up with them.
Off track from the overwhelmed theme, I think children today are missing “consequences.” Which means, if they don’t do the work, they don’t make the grade. When we as parents allow them to experience (after, of course, making sure they know the instructions) the spoils of their work, this is a life lesson that moves them into a positive future. Diligent monitoring and checking are hard work but pays off for both of you. You are not their partner, you’re their boss.
So, housework, daily tasks and schoolwork can overwhelm. What else? Marital problems can certainly overwhelm. Usually, but not always, this involves finances. There is no easy fix for marital problems. As a mommy, with the stress of caring for the household, all we need is another problem. I carried a lot of unnecessary stress because I didn’t want to “bother” my husband. He could see that the house was a mess, but I took care of the finances in silence because he was busy with 3 jobs trying to feed us. As I struggled, my stress level was incredible. Finally, I shared that I needed help. I had a plan but needed him to execute. He readily agreed and immediately, my burden was lighter. My problem was not sharing my issues with my husband.
It reminds me of the pioneer woman who wanted a wood floor in her cabin. All her married life she wanted to upgrade her dirt floor. She never told her husband and then she died. His new wife came in and said, I’ll move in here when you get a wood floor. And he put in a wood floor. Hmmmmm.
Every situation is different, but in my estimation, communication is key. If there is no communication in a marriage, there are problems. You may have gone a long time with many issues, you may need a Christian counselor or your pastor to encourage you and point you in the right direction. I found that prayer, attending Bible studies, reading books, and talking with other wives, if they are on the right track themselves, helped. Of course, the best thing would be to have some quiet time with your spouse, get a babysitter and have a date or “conference,” if needed. Stop trying to do it all yourself. It never works, it always leads to bitterness, anxiety and even jealousy, when he gets to do “what he wants” and you are stuck with everything else.
These are not the only things that overwhelm us as moms. Fixing meals, keeping up with the laundry, keeping the children in clothes and shoes that fit, taking care of parents or other family members, emergencies, sickness, I could go on and on.
There is a Savior, His name is Jesus. I could not help you if I didn’t mention HIM. He is the one who was with me and continues to help and guide me when I get overwhelmed with life. Let me be clear. There is no magic, you have to give Him your life and your will to be able to face anything this life brings your way. Anything less will not work.
Did I get overwhelmed, did I get tired? Why, yes, I did! Did Jesus get me through, oh, yes, He did!
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Patti McDonald Professional Mom