What Does Maternal Overwhelm Mean?
Maternal overwhelm is huge. If you’ve felt it, and we’re pretty sure you have, you know that it defies description. But in a few words, maternal overwhelm is what you feel when you hit your breaking point and have to keep going, not just for a day but for several months or even years. It’s that feeling you get when you’re so tired that you can’t concentrate or make decisions, and you feel like everything is falling apart. Overwhelm is that sense you get deep in your body that something’s wrong, but you can’t put your finger on the problem. You just feel bad, and you keep feeling bad.
Mom overwhelm shows up in different ways for everyone, but everyone who experiences it knows that core feeling of being ‘off’. We don’t talk about it, because as moms are supposed to be able to do it all.
But here’s the first secret: you don’t have to do it all. It’s okay to take a step back; it’s okay to ask for help.
If you want to be there to show up for your family, you must show up for yourself too. If you’re not sure how to do that, you’re not alone.
Here are a few ideas from a St. Louis, Mo Therapist to help you manage your Maternal Overwhelm and start feeling like yourself again:
Redefine Self Care
Self-care gets a bad rap these days because we think it’s either all bubble baths and cake or keeping your life together and pretending it’s relaxing. Self-care isn’t either of these things. Instead, it’s sitting down with yourself and realizing what you’re missing, and then doing your best to attend to that need.
If you’re missing time to be yourself, think about spending a little time out with just you. Leave the kids with your partner or a sitter and go be with friends, or go shopping alone, or just run errands while only worrying about yourself.
If you value feeling productive, figure out which tasks on your inevitably endless to-do list truly make you feel accomplished. There are a thousand things to do, but if you pick the ones that give you actual satisfaction, even chores can feel fulfilling and give you the sense that you’re doing something for yourself and not just for the others around you.
Call In Reinforcements
Even if you don’t work, running a home is absolutely a full-time job, and so is caring for children. There’s no shame in asking for or hiring reliable help. There’s this expectation that not only can a mom do it all, but if she doesn’t then she’s getting off easy.
This expectation is wrong. Full stop.
Part of being a good parent is using your resources wisely. If you’re able to hire help and it will make your life easier, you should. You can get help cleaning the house, watching the kids, or doing the household
finances. None of it is shameful, and all of it can help. If you saw this tip in our blog on mom guilt, it’s because community is that important.
Finances sometimes mean hiring help isn’t possible, but even if you don’t have the money to hire someone, you should still reach out to your support system and ask for help. People aren’t meant to work in isolation. And it’s in your community’s best interests to help you so that everyone in your family turns into the best and least unpleasant person they can be.
Go To Therapy
This might sound a little self-promoting given that we’re therapists, but this is truthfully the best advice you can get. Therapy gives you a time that’s all for you; it’s actually illegal for us to involve anyone else. We are completely focused on you and your needs; you don’t even have to consider us in return.
Therapy is also a chance to air out all the thoughts and feelings you’ve been bottling up. So many moms deal with thoughts they’re deeply ashamed of, so they never talk about them. But you know what? Lots of moms think lots of the same things. They passively think about leaving, or they fantasize about breaking every single plate in the house. These thoughts are hard, but they’re not abnormal. And it can provide a huge amount of healing just to say them out loud and process them with a non-judgmental person.
Therapy can also help you figure out how to hold onto your own identity. Being a mom is a consuming job and can come with so many benefits. But many women feel like they become mom first and themselves second or third. These identities don’t have to be at odds with each other, and your therapist can help you blend them together, so you don’t lose yourself in your new responsibilities. When you have a solid foundation of your own self, you will feel less adrift. There is a place to land, and that place is the core of you.
Maternal Overwhelm can be hard and scary. It can be loaded with shame and fear. But there are things you can do to help. And you should do them. You might have to make adaptations to these suggestions to find what works for your situation. But it’s important that you value yourself enough to take steps towards coming back to yourself. It will make your kids’ lives better, and most importantly it will make your life better. You’ve more than earned that happiness and peace; it’s time that you come find it.
Coping with Maternal Overwhelm with a St. Louis, Mo Therapist
If you live in or near St. Louis and want to find a safe and compassionate place to process your maternal overwhelm, or any other problems you’re dealing with, the therapists at Marble Wellness are here for you. You can Reach Out Here to make an appointment. Let us help you start feeling as fantastic and valuable as you actually are.
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.