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.

Trouble Be Thy Middle Name

Lila seems to be practicing for a life of trouble…or maybe she is just being a normal 2-year-old. She keeps me busier than the other two combined! She has to do at least one thing daily that makes me wish I had a playpen her size that I could lock her in (it would have to be escape and sound proof), though she usually does more than that.

Today for instance: I was getting a head start on dinner so that when Scarlett gets fussy I can see to her and not worry about dinner being late like it usually is. Lila came to me with something white and runny on her hands – she had dumped a (thankfully small) bottle of baby lotion on my bed, rubbing it into the sheets.

When I went to look at it, she said, “Oh God, Lila”, imitating what I say to her whenever she creates a disaster of epic proportions and I am pressed for time but have to clean it. I had no idea I said it so much that she knew it. Actually, I only say it when I’m really upset – I’ve had a long day, listened to too many hours of screaming and crying, when I’m on edge and need a break.

It is never-ending with her – I swear! Yesterday she dumped a bottle of laundry bleach all over the balcony and herself; she regularly dumps water on the floor in varying quantities; she has flooded both the living and dining rooms; she sticks her hands in the flour and licks them when I’m rolling chapattis; she will systematically drop her dinner on the floor if she doesn’t want to finish (usually I’m nursing the baby and can’t go to her); she loves to play with soap, and will take the bar to her room, or my bed, dig into it and rub it all over herself. She rips things, breaks things, opens most anything, eats anything, and then runs when I catch her. She has learned how to run around the furniture so I can’t catch her easily but will then usually get herself stuck in a corner.

Ironically, she rarely gets hurt. At the most she will get a scratch or a bump, nothing serious. The turpentine incident has been, by far, the worst trouble she has gotten into since her trouble-making days began. I just hope she won’t have anything worse happen.

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