I feel like this day had been coming for a while. You know, the day where you just feel completely overwhelmed, when you finally realize the stress and the unhappiness you’ve been carrying around with you. It’s the day you actually burst into tears (which is a very rare occurrence for me).
On this day, the kids were especially uncooperative, and was a day where everything I said was completely ignored, repeatedly, and nothing was going anywhere. I don’t really blame my children for this day – it was coming – but they were the catalyst for the breakdown. The breakdown that happened when, again, trying to get my children to help clean up their giant play mess of crayons, pots and pans, kitchen utensils, and toys scattered all over the main floor.
And the final straw was when my daughter said, “Yeah, we should clean up so that dad will be happy when he gets home.”
My daughter has said this phrase on numerous occasions as we work to clean up the home before my husband comes home from school late in the evenings. He does like a clean home, and I try to have it clean for him, so that he can fully relax when he gets home, and not feel stressed because he has to step over this or that, or doesn’t even have a clean cup to get a glass of water. It’s just common courtesy for someone you love, especially when, right now, my duties lie mainly within this home.
Honestly, my daughter Alison says this phrase with such love for her father. She really loves her dad and wants to make him happy. I believe it’s a great motivator to her to know that she’s helping dad’s happiness.
But, on this day, that phrase only said one thing to me – only dad’s happiness mattered. Which given their general uncooperative attitude certainly felt like that was the case. So, I snapped. I freaked out. And I yelled, “So dad can be happy? What about mom? Don’t you care if MOM is happy?!” And continued to rant for a minute about having a clean house makes me happy too, and that maybe we should care about how mom feels.
And then about 10 minutes later I felt terrible.
My kids don’t deserve to be yelled at like that. My daughter wasn’t truly saying she didn’t care about me, but just expressing love for her dad. And as for them not listening to me? Well, when my follow-through lately has been slacking, why should they take me seriously? Most of what’s come out of my mouth lately has just been hot air. The problem was clearly me, and the stress I was feeling.
On this particular bad day I honestly, really, and truly, just felt like I needed to get away. I really believed I needed a break completely away from my children and outside of my home.
There have been very few times in my life where I have felt this as a mother. But, suddenly all of those posts and articles I see about “vacations for moms” and the essential need moms have for a break – so they can be better people and parents – spoke to me. I finally got it.
My life is a bit out of balance. Okay, pretty out of balance I think. I like to blame the gloomy, cold, rainy weather, as well as the perpetual giant puddle that surrounds our apartment keeping my spirits down, but I think it’s a bit more than that. I stay up too late blogging or watching videos on Hulu or whatever, and then need to get up by 7am, or else my children get themselves breakfast, which really just means that I come downstairs to a giant mess (particularly from my 2 year old), wasted cereal and milk, and something that needs cleaned up as soon as I’m upright. It doesn’t start my day on a great foot.
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And with late night and early mornings, I’m faced with less sleep, which of course isn’t good for your stress long-term, or your health, or your happiness. I know when I get more sleep I am usually better able to avoid yelling at my children, or having a sour attitude. I also can avoid feeling super tired come about 3pm.
Plus, my daughters don’t go down for a nap anymore, so I don’t have that true down period like before. While my twins are great about playing together, and sometimes quietly, even for a few hours in the afternoon while their brother sleeps, it still isn’t the same as an almost completely quiet house. The transition has been hard for me.
And I’m just mom all day long. And I lately I have grown weary in well doing for my children. And my children want to disagree with me about everything, or change their mind about having a sandwich after I’ve already made it. My son is getting better at talking and communicating, but he’s still a toddler, and understanding a toddler is pretty hit or miss. It’s all just tiring, especially since I have to do this parent thing from about 7:30am until 7:00pm most days of the week, or later, by myself. Oh, and I also work from home, while trying to take care of three kids and grow another.
I really do feel like I’m lacking the “me time” as well as some good social time, exercise time, and spiritual strengthening time. My life feels in a bit of a rut.
So, I know changes have to be made, but boy are they hard, and life doesn’t stop from happening. Thankfully, I am aware of the stressors in my life, and know how to remedy them. It’s just a matter of doing these, which I am determined to do. So, if you’re feeling stressed, I hope these will help you too!
6 Ways to Deal with Stress
1.) Get sleep.
Seriously, sleep is a gift from God. It rejuvenates you and helps you think clearer. So, in order to get sleep and be a proper functioning adult, mother, blogger, woman, I set myself a bedtime of 10:30pm. Plus, I may actually go to bed at the same time as my husband, which is a perk, as some pillow talk is a great destressor as well. However, if the stress is preventing me from sleeping well, I know I can use RESCUE Sleep Liquid Melts before I go to bed. They are natural and homeopathic, so they are safe to take while pregnant, and helps me relax and sleep better. Plus, they are non-habit-forming with no side effects. You can find the sleep aids and other RESCUE sleep relief products in the US at CVS, Walgreens, Whole Foods, and Sprouts.
2.) Get out of my house.
Fresh air is wonderful. Really. So, whether I take a walk with the kids, or play outside with them, or play at the park, or go for a hike, or whatever, getting some fresh air, some sunshine, make me feel so, so much better. Especially if I leave the cell phone and everything else behind and just look around me, breathe deeply, and play hard. But, even getting out of my house to run errands, or go to the gym, or buy groceries can feel amazing to my spirits, especially when it’s been extra gloomy (winter) outside and I haven’t left it in days. That trip to the supermarket never lifted my spirits more!
3.) Turn off the electronics.
Okay, electronic devices are totally addicting. Add to the fact that I am a blogger, aggressively trying to grow my blog and business, and I am on the computer a lot, and often my phone for the times between. And I also like to watch movies and TV shows (on Hulu) by myself or with the family. It makes for a lot of time in front of a glowing screen. And doing that a lot really wears on you in countless way. So, to really turn everything off, or spend 90% less time on these things for a day or two, does me a lot of good, especially if I am doing one of the above two instead.
It’s been a little hard for me since moving to Texas to socialize on a very regular basis. But, as an extrovert, I really need time to chat with people who aren’t five and under. Other people energize me, give me something else to think about, and is a fun escape from my own life. So, when I feel stressed, I know it’s time to start calling up people and making some plans, or finding a mother’s group, or something. This is in part
Exercise gives you endorphins, and it actually gives you more energy. So as much as exercising isn’t top of my list of most fun things to do, when I do it, I know it’s always good for me. Plus, it’s good for the baby I’m growing too.
Okay, so I probably shouldn’t have this on my list, but it’s totally okay to do this as long as it is only done occasionally. But, sometimes the best thing to do on those hard days is to just veg. Just chow down some ice cream, stream show after show on Netflix, don’t get dressed, and take a nap or two. Just take it easy! Don’t clean anything, don’t run any errands, and just be selfish. Let the kids do whatever, too. Sometimes it’s great fun to do all the things you deny yourself doing, and to just be lazy for a day. Sometimes that break can actually help you rest up and destress a bit, as you just let some things go.
On this particular hard day I talked about, I totally ate some jelly beans (which were a treat since we have been going without desserts and sweets all year) and they totally helped me feel better that day. It was my mini escape. Now, I’m trying to just reach for my RESCUE Pastilles instead, as they help you stress less, stay calm, and in control, especially since sometimes you can’t really veg, or you don’t have sweets on hand anyway, and these won’t be giving you indigestion later.
There are other ways you can deal with stress, especially as a stay at home mom, but for me, these are probably the first ones I think of and do. However, I loved the tips my friend Kelly shared on her blog – The Idealist Mom – with her Secret Formula to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed. I just encourage you to find healthy solutions to your feelings of overwhelm and to make sure you take care of the time and energy necessary to relax and start enjoying your life again.
So, tell me, how do you handle stress on those hard days?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.