Help for Stressed Moms

Moms experience a lot of stress
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Many moms find that after they have children, they may have less patience with stressors because their overall stress levels are greater, and their lives are more complicated. For example, having a surprise visitor at the door might be stressful for a new mom who hasn't had a shower in two days, has a roomful of clothes and toys cluttering her surroundings, has just put the baby down for a nap and is looking forward to some coveted 'down time' (which might be filled with desperately-needed housework anyway); the same surprise visit might be less stressful and more fun for a woman who was just surfing the internet alone and looking for something to do with her free time.

A ringing phone that is barely heard over the din of the children's fight a mother is trying to referee may be a less-welcome sound than a ringing phone that breaks the silence of a boring afternoon. You get the idea. (Here's a more complete list of general causes of stress for moms.) Being a little more stressed is a part of life for many mothers, and it passes. However, there are steps you can take to keep your stress at a manageable level.

Could it Be Postpartum Depression?

Mothers' stress levels can become pretty intense. If your general emotional state seems to be a marked change from your normal state of mind, and coincided with the birth of your baby, and if you feel it's due to stress and sleep deprivation, it is important to do everything you can to safeguard your stress levels and take care of your basic needs for sleep, a healthy diet, and other important facets of self-care. If you find yourself experiencing some symptoms of depression (lack of enjoyment in things you used to enjoy, lack of energy, etc.), you may be experiencing a form of post-partum depression, so it's important to know the signs.

 

Some of the hallmark symptoms of postpartum depression include the following:

  • Being very irritable
  • Being tired or unmotivated, beyond normal
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Crying easily over anything or for no reason
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • No interest in activities, particularly those that were previously pleasurable
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions

For more information on postpartum depression, including symptoms, relief, and tips on when you should see a doctor, see this resource on postpartum depression. If you think you may be experiencing this, talk to your doctor; there's good help available.

Help For Stressed Moms

That said, there are certain general guidelines that can help stressed out moms get through the day more easily, and these may help you to lessen the intensity of the stress that you're feeling. If you haven't already, I would suggest that you try the following.

Time Management Tips for Moms

When you have more to juggle in your life-with-children, time management is more important than ever before, and can help you manage some stressors and prevent others altogether. Check out these tips and see which ones you can start putting into use today

Practice Self-Care Strategies

It's much more difficult to find time for self-care when you're caring for a baby, small children, or even older kids who need to go to a full schedule of activities.

 Ironically, when you become a mother, it becomes even more important to take care of yourself so you have the energy to give all you can to your kids.  It's important to plan your schedule around healthy meals and getting enough sleep.  If you don't have time for it, you need to cut other activities, enlist help, of find time in other ways.  You'll be glad you did, and so will your kids.

Cultivate Low-Drama, Supportive Friendships

As a mother, you can help yourself immensely by cultivating a group of supportive friendships with other moms.  Supportive mom friends can give you advice when you need it, support when you really need it, and help you to keep things fun.  Yes, some mom friendships can be competitive at times, and there are ways to keep them relatively stress-free.

Don't Forget Down-Time

You may feel that you have very little extra time these days (which makes sense, with all the responsibilities you have now), but carving out time to do nothing is still important, particularly if you're an introvert and need to be alone to "recharge your batteries."  Here are some things you can do to just relax--you can fit them in when the kids are having a little quiet time of their own, or when they're asleep.

Find Stress Relievers You Can Enjoy With Your Kids

Kids need stress management, too.  Finding stress relievers you can enjoy with your children is great for two reasons--these stress relievers help you feel less stressed without the need of a babysitter, and they model healthy stress management for your kids.  

For more stress management help, see these tips for working moms and stay-at-home moms.

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