I came across a popular article on managing overwhelm for Moms and by the time I read through it, I was overwhelmed.
Only a robot could pull it off: Every day (note: EVERY DAY) wash, dry and fold the laundry, open and file the mail, clean the bathroom, keep only one piece of your child’s artwork and toss the rest, make sure every key, shoe, toy and craft item has a place and gets put away every night, etc., etc.
You get the picture; all work, no play, no time to create the life you really want: just another bit of advice in the media to add to the already insane pressures on Moms.
You are supposed to feed your children locally grown organic nutritious meals and never ever pick up fast food.
Your home should be clean, beautifully decorated, the yard immaculate, and your dog shouldn’t bark.
Your children should be involved in dance, soccer, creative play, free play, story time, and have play dates, attend parties, be offered all learning opportunities and toys to develop spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically… and if they act like a brat… well, it’s your fault, you did something wrong.
When you do sit down and finally read a book, you feel guilty because you should be doing something else.
And if you dream of living overseas with your family, or even a Disney vacation before the kids are ‘at a good age’… well, you’re crazy.
You should be involved with the school and the community.
Oh and of course, you should show up to your career refreshed renewed and giving 110%, ditto for your spouse whom we haven’t even begun to mention here, and you really ought to work out daily and host more get togethers with friends and family.
And you wonder why you have Mommy Brain – I think it’s there to make sure you forget half of these pressures! Uh huh.
There is a better way:
Tip # 1: Do not add the ‘reduce overwhelm’ advice mentioned earlier to your repertoire of ‘must do’s’ unless they happen to sing to your soul.
Tip #2: Notice when you say ‘should.’ Often a ‘should’ is society’s or somebody else’s expectations you are trying to live up to and that results in it being demotivating instead of motivating.
Tip #3: You are hereby given permission to lower expectations, be blissfully imperfect and regularly say, “good enough.”
Tip #4: Getting clearer on where you really want to be, personally and as a family, will reduce overwhelm.
Tip #5 Get things done by using laughably do-able steps .. .so small they make you laugh and say “Ya, I can do that!” Honestly 2 minutes cleaning a counter is likely to happen, where 4 hours getting the entire kitchen, stove, fridge scrubbed isn’t.
Tip #6. Question anything that has you thinking you are anything less than awesome.
An excerpt from the full article in Kamloops Momma Magazine Dec 2011.
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Janet L. Whitehead is a professional life coach and master creativity coach who introduces Moms to a variety of ceative tools and concepts that lead to less guilt, more fun, and inspired lives lived by design rather than by default.