You stepped on the platform readying yourself to hop on the Blue Line for work. Your mental list ran through your head on a never-ending loop. “Do I have what I need for the day? Gym clothes? Check. Headphones? Check. Chargers for… Everything? Also check.” Then it hit you: the nutritious lunch you’d spent hours planning for, buying in bulk, setting aside in convenient lunch sized portions…was in the fridge.
Your thoughts spiraled from there: from your forgotten lunch to forgetting to register your daughter for soccer, the date night you haven’t planned, the unreturned texts to friends, the laundry load you didn’t switch, the dentist appointment you haven’t made, and so much more.
And as the stress and overwhelm rose, so too did the negative emotions about yourself. The critical voice. The weight on your chest and in your heart about how badly this chaotic mom life gets you down so often. The “I can never do anything right!” and the “everyone else does this better than me!” As the list of things you forgot or hadn’t yet attended to grew, so too did the reasons you suck at being a mom and your belief that it just can’t get better.
And isn’t that always how it happens? One thing goes wrong and then suddenly all the things that have gone wrong swirl in your mind threatening whatever productivity you'd hoped for that day.
But…what if… what if there was a way to cast aside the Mommy guilt or the anxiety of constant perfect performance? What if you could work towards centering your internal dialogue towards a more productive end? Obviously, one post doesn't address all situations for all people, but here are three tips to combat that gnawing sensation of guilt or anxiety:
3 Tips Overwhelmed Moms in Chicago Can Use to Cope with Stress
Work with someone you trust to see you objectively. This is how we grow and develop. We foster mentoring relationships, we develop career coaching opportunities, and, yes, we invest in our mental health by getting therapy when we need it. When we can verbally process with someone, we can identify destructive cycles, rectify self-defeating patterns, and choose opportunities for growth.
2. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Someone once said, "Give yourself the grace you'd give a friend." Sometimes you forget the lunch in the fridge. It doesn't make you a failure - a bad day is not a bad life. In a sense, a perfectionist is always disappointed by something; choose to accept imperfection as a part of life.
To put it another way, think of the amount of imperfection that you can tolerate in your life. Instead of aiming to be a perfect parent 24/7, loosen the grip in two places. First, expect yourself to be a good parent. This might mean you shift from 100% parent perfection to a range of, oh maybe 76-83% quality.
Then, reduce that 24/7 expectation. Let’s maybe bump it down to 71-80% of the time. This still allows you to have standards for yourself as a parent---after all, you do want to do right by your kids and also feel good about yourself in this role. But it also sets the window to a more appropriate degree, and allows some not-so-perfect moments to already be baked into the cake. Which means that those not-so-perfect moments happening….now they are expected, and might not throw you so much when they occur.
3. Laugh. Perhaps it seems overly simple, but for an overwhelmed mom, isn't that part of its appeal and beauty? Laughter is so effective! And it is so simple. It might take time before you can laugh about a situation, but laughing reduces the sting of a situation. A problem or a dilemma seems significantly less overwhelming if you can find some sort of humor in the situation. This is a bit of a double-edged sword because while self-deprecating humor can be funny and stress relieving, it can also spiral to unhealthy levels. Laugh - but you needn't be the butt of every internal joke.
Now, let’s go back and re-imagine that lunch in the fridge scenario with these tips in mind:
The Blue Line comes racing towards you and in that moment, you remember your lunch in the fridge. Instead of saying, "Wow, I'm an idiot. I spent my Saturday in Costco for nothing," you could say something like, "I guess it's a sign to have lunch with Ashley." Instead of spiraling into other thoughts of failure, you could think, "Maybe I need better organization strategies. What could I look into to develop those?" Or, possibly even, "This is bothering me. Maybe I should discuss it with my therapist."
The reality is that we make mistakes, but our mistakes don't have to make us.
Want more tips so you can go from an overwhelmed and stressed out mom to a mom who feels capable, content, and confident?
Contact us today and we will get your first appointment scheduled. We offer in-person therapy in Chicago and St. Louis and virtual therapy for all residents of Missouri and Illinois.
Talk to you soon!
Additional Counseling Services at Marble Wellness
Counseling services designed to help set you on a path of living a more fulfilled, calm, and happy life. We specialize in anxiety, depression, grief, chronic illness, therapy for men, couples, and maternal overwhelm. We can also help new moms with various postpartum concerns, moms in the thick of parenting, and moms with teens. We can also chat from wherever you are in the state with online therapy in Missouri and online therapy in Illinois. No matter where you are in your journey, we would love to support you.