Who is Really Stressing You Out?

Motherhood and stress – I find those words together a lot. Mothers all over the internet complain about how their children stress them out.

“My children are fighting and the noise is stressing me out.”

“Driving my children anywhere is so stressful.”

“I can’t shop with my children. Their antics stress me out.”

“Anytime I go anywhere with my child I end up stressed.”

We know that children are high-maintenance, and I’d be lying if I said I never feel stressed. But the question is, is it really the children who are stressing you out? Or are you allowing yourself to be stressed?

Yes, I said allowing. We have the power to decide whether or not to allow a situation to stress us out. We can either let the challenges of parenting get to us, or we can learn how to overcome them.

I know it is easier said than done, but for a mother to maintain her sanity, learning to avoid stress is so important.

Here are a few things I do to keep stress at bay.

1. Exercise

We all know that exercise is a stress-buster, but most of us don’t do it, for whatever reason. We allow our own health to sit on the back burner while we tend to those around us. It might seem noble to put yourself last, but it isn’t good for you.

Exercise is one of the best stress-relievers there is. If you can’t get away from your kids for it, do it with them. Dance in the living room, run at the park, go for a walk. Any exercise is better than none at all! So make time in your schedule for exercise.

2. Breathe

When your children’s antics are getting you riled, stop and breathe. Just take a minute to compose yourself by taking a deep breath, closing your eyes, and letting it out slowly. Go ahead. Try it now and see how good it makes you feel. Look out the window at nature, or step outside for a minute and breathe, and tell yourself you can handle whatever is bothering you. I promise you will feel the stress melt away.

3. Take time for yourself

Do something for yourself every day. Nap when your child does, read a book or your favorite blog, take a shower (and don’t feel bad if it takes an extra cartoon or two). Put on some makeup or brush your hair. Get dressed. Do something that will help you feel more like a woman and not just a “mom”.

I like to get up early for exercise, then take a shower and have my coffee before the kids get up. Thankfully my kids love to sleep late so early for me is up by 6. If your child is an early riser (or has to get up for school), see when else you can fit in time for you.

4. Keep a schedule

This will help you fit in numbers 1 and 3. Time for yourself is imperative so scheduling it will make it happen.

5. Be mature

Remember, they are just children. They are still selfish and self-absorbed. Everything is about them. Don’t take personally anything they say or do.

 

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to keep stress out of your life? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Little Things That Drive Me Crazy (And How I Avoid Losing It To Them)

Ok, we all know that being a mother can have its trying times. You can only put up with your child’s antics for so long before you feel you are going to lose it. My 3 year old does most of those things. I don’t know where she comes up with the strange things she does.

For example, tonight after dinner, Logan hadn’t finished his noodles and I hadn’t yet cleared the table, so the plate was sitting there. I was deep into a blog I like to read that helps me relax and have a few laughs, so I wasn’t paying attention to the kids playing around me. Somehow Lila managed to grab a handful of noodles without my noticing and she began systematically spreading them around on the floor next to me. I only noticed it after she had smeared a whole lot of them. Grrr. I made her pick them up, and I scrubbed the area so it wouldn’t crust.

She has more ideas for trouble than most kids (as least it seems like it to me). She will take cups of water into her room, only to spill them around somewhere. She loves to spread water on anything. She has flooded the house by dumping buckets of water out the door while playing in the bathroom, dumped bottles of cleaning supplies, will dump a bottle of water if she is done drinking, even though I want it back with the water still in it. At the park she plays with sticks and rocks, balls and leaves. She climbs the slide with those items in hand so she can let them go down first. Daring is her middle name.

She loves smearing food anywhere and on anything – edges of the table, backs of the chairs, under the table, etc. She climbs anything, no matter how high it is. She can kangaroo hop for long distances without getting tired. And she was the one who recently walked up to an old lady and patted her large tummy, asking if there was a baby inside. I wanted to disappear.

So how do I control my frustration at her antics? I’ll admit, there are times when I scream or punish her for them. Many times she does know she shouldn’t be doing them (she hides so I can’t see what she is up to) but when it comes down to it, she is just experimenting with life. That doesn’t mean I should let her go ahead and do whatever she wants, but I need to control myself and see what she does through her eyes. I need to remember that the way children learn is by experimenting and doing things that will annoy me and keep me working all day long. They aren’t being naughty (most of the time) but they are learning in their unique way.

To keep from losing it, I make sure to take some time for myself every day. I get up early for exercise. I take a nap when the kids do. I squeeze in time for my blogs in the evenings and on weekends. Sometimes, once the kids are gone to school, I take the morning off instead of cleaning. I rest or watch t.v. or read or just sit and draw with my toddler.

I think that, no matter how busy we are, we mommies need to find ways to make time for us, if for no other reason than to maintain our sanity. Get up a little earlier, or put the kids down a little earlier, or use their nap time to do something for yourself. Whether it be exercise, blogging, reading, writing, or just drinking your coffee and staring out the window at nothing in particular; pick something that you find helps you relieve stress and do it. Your day will go better when you can fit in time for yourself.

Yes, this stinker has more ideas for trouble than a dog has fleas. 🙂

Mommies, tell us how you fit in time for yourself.

Books for Moms

If you are a reader like me, than you know the delight a new book can bring. Finding time to read a whole book, however, is not so easy. No matter what, it seems interruptions happen just as soon as I sit to do something for myself. (I’m surprised not one of my kids has bothered me since I started this post.)

I don’t get a lot of time to read, but when I do, I enjoy the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and especially their books for moms. They are easy to read as they are full of short stories, so you don’t have to read the book through, nor do you have to start at the beginning. There are stories from mothers who come from all walks of life, and who have been through all sorts of situations. Some are famous, most are not, but all share their story from their heart and bring to life the true meaning of motherhood. Here are a few of my favorites.

Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler’s Soul – This was the first book of the series I ever bought and it has become a special favorite. I got it when my first two kids were just toddlers and I have read it through several times. It will make you laugh and cry. If you have preschoolers or soon-to-be preschoolers, I highly recommend this one.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms – This book comes from the perspective of stay-at-home and work-from-home moms. Since I am a SAHM, I found a lot in this book that made me think about how I can empower my life and be more than just “mom”. My favorite section is about mothers who became entrepreneurs and started their own from-home businesses, all the while managing home and family.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: On Being a Parent – Like the title says, it is on parenthood and is great for both mothers and fathers. I read this one and the previous one when I was in the hospital after my last delivery. Some of the stories are so funny that I had to skip them as laughing made my stitches hurt.

I recently bought a new book called Life Lessons for Busy Moms and as soon as I have a chance to read it, I’ll talk about it here. It is by the same authors for the Chicken Soup books so I’m sure it will be just as good.

While I have only bought books on motherhood up until now, my desire would be to have every book in the series, but I think I would need an extra large library for that as there are hundreds of them.

Do you enjoy reading? What is your favorite book or series? Who is your favorite author?

Finding Quiet in the Chaos

Currently my life is in constant chaos. With 3 small kids running around, peace and quiet are rare occurances for me. I look forward to things like naps and bedtime, cause those are the only times when I can think.
As a mommy, you will slowly, or sometimes rapidly, lose your sanity unless you find ways to destress. Every mommy needs time to herself, something that can be so hard to get. If you are fortunate to have a husband or relatives or even a babysitter who you can rely on for some time away, that’s great.
But what if you don’t have any help at all? What do you do when you feel your head is about to explode and you have to get away from it all, but the kids are still there? Well, here are a few ideas, things I have tried that help me.
I find I can relax best once my kids are sleeping. I get them into bed, do any jobs that are left that can’t wait for the next day (why do them if they can wait, right?) and then it’s “me time”.

– Once baby is in bed, have a hot shower or bath. Focus on the water flowing over you and let everything else out of your mind. Stay as long as you can.

– No matter what anyone says, chocolate can be a sanity saver for a stressed-out mom. If you are afraid of eating too much, then put it somewhere where you have to work to get at it, or don’t keep it at home but instead, get some from the corner store on your way home from the park or your walk with baby. Eat it slowly, savoring each bite.

– Do you have a favorite drink that helps you relax? It can be whatever you like, from ice water, to lemonade, to wine, and yes, hard liquor. Sometimes I find a drink of rum and coke or vodka with juice to be so relaxing. It soothes my nerves and helps me destress. But it doesn’t have to be alcohol, if you’d rather not. Any drink you enjoy can help take the stress off life if you drink it slowly and enjoy it.
Note: you may have heard that breastfeeding moms shouldn’t have alcohol, but a drink once in a while isn’t going to hurt.

– Try combining all 3 ideas above to help you to really relax.

– Do you like slow music? Put on your favorite songs and lie back and listen to them, or if you have some energy to get rid of (you must be a rare one) then get up and dance to some fast songs. Slow or fast, music can be soothing and relaxing.

– Watch some t.v. or your favorite movie.

What ideas do you have for relaxing?

Tub = Calm

It was one of those evenings.

I was alone with the kids since daddy was working. Dinner was late and they were both fussy. My only thought was to get them fed, washed, and into bed. I put Logan in the tub, went and got the baby and put her in too.

Suddenly there was quiet…and calm. Both kids, squished in a baby bath tub, relaxing in the hot water. I only wish I could fit in their tub. I need to relax like that.

Here is my chubby princess. Doesn’t she look adorable?

I Need More Time to Relax

It’s late. I’m tired. Why am I up posting when I should be in bed recovering from the day? ‘Cause I need to do something relaxing without having a child screaming in my ear!
Logan has a new thing he does. He picks up a rattle (naturally the one that makes the most noise) shakes it vigorously while banging it on the floor and screams. I have come to realize that he is actually trying to sing and make music. He is copying some puppets on a video he has. They shake rattles in rhythm to the music and I remember showing him how to do the same. So I guess he thinks that is what he is doing. And he always has to choose the worst time to do it, like when the baby is crying. Sometimes when she is screaming he screams too, much louder. I’ve had to explain to him why she does it and why he can’t (she’s a baby, my ears are delicate, can’t handle too much noise, blah blah). He seems to think it’s great fun. Meanwhile my nerves are reaching fritzing point. If that happens, I won’t be mommy any more but a grouchy bear. That is why I need time to myself to vent about the noise while the noisemakers are sleeping, and that only happens late at night.
This week Glad has been gone for a seminar. My days are one big blur; nothing different happens and there is non-stop noise. I miss having him there for when the “baby alarm” goes off. When she decides she has to eat right at the time when Logan has to eat, or have a bath, or go potty, there are two things pulling on me and he will usually step in and either take over with Logan, or (more recently) calm the baby until I can take her. Tonight, poor thing, I had to let her cry as Logan had made such a mess with his dinner. Most of it was everywhere but in his tummy.
I laughed while I took a picture (well, isn’t it better to laugh than cry???) and then put him in the tub. Lila made sure I was feeling real bad about leaving her while I gave Logan a bath and she screamed all the way until I rushed Logan into his pj’s and put him in his bed and was finally able to pick her up. Then she must have nursed for 20 minutes without stopping. I did feel bad but what was I to do? If I let Logan run around in his messy food state, it wouldn’t be long before the whole house would be covered in food, so there is no option but to clean him right away. I’ll be so happy when I get some help again.

And I need a drink, just to relax. I wouldn’t mind vodka and juice or rum and coke or a nice chocolate liquor. Add that last one to some ice cream and I’m in heaven.

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