Motherhood can be overwhelming. There are so many pressures and expectations and new challenges. If you want to be a less stressed mom, simplify your life.
To be a less stressed mom, simplify
Becoming a mom is a major life transition. Remember those commercials about how having a baby changes everything? The goal was to sell Johnson & Johnson baby toiletries, but the messaging was legit!
Let’s look at the five reasons why simplifying is especially important for moms.
Stress and overwhelm
I recall preparing for my first child to arrive. During the pregnancy, I did a lot of research.
I tried to find out which cloth diapers were best, which bottles to try, and how to help the baby sleep more. I read the websites and bought the books and in the end, it really didn’t do me a lot of good.
There are so many options and opinions on everything and for new mothers, this information can be overwhelming, stressful, and even depressing. It all begins to set up our expectations that there is a ‘right’ or best way to do everything.
Immediately we start to feel this pressure to get it all right. This isn’t just about us anymore but will impact this child’s life forever.
Combine these thoughts with trying to recover from a small human exiting your body, the lack of sleep in early baby days, and all the crazy hormones and we’ve set ourselves up for a disaster.
And while we can’t change that some of these circumstances will be hard no matter what, we can make it easier by simplifying our expectations as well as our choices. During a time when it feels like life is out of control, there are some changes you can make to ease the transition.
Simplify by choosing not to spend hours reading everyone else’s opinions. Let go of some of the unrealistic ideals you may have set up for yourself. It’s harder to feel like you can be a good mom when you’re stressed and overwhelmed.
Sense of self
After becoming a mom, I realized quickly that the focus shifts to the children. I figured that would happen, but it was somehow still a surprise. People gravitate toward the cute tiny human you are holding rather than asking how you are doing.
Not only do they get the attention of others, but they need so much of your attention. In the process of constantly caring for children, it’s easy for moms to lose their sense of self. They can forget who they were before kids and what they used to enjoy doing before spending hours playing with blocks.
To be a less stressed mom, simplify so that you can rediscover yourself. When your focus is taken off caring for yourself for so long, it can be hard to get back to a better balance. It can take recreating your identity when you feel like you’ve lost who you are.
That doesn’t mean you need to drastically change everything in your life, but through simplifying your home and your life and getting rid of the excess you can clarify what is still important to you.
Old hobbies or passions may resurface in the process. Perhaps you have a love of reading but haven’t read anything beyond Go Dog Go in recent years.
Carve out some time to read and practice self-care. Decluttering has a way of clearing out the old to make room for what you truly treasure. In this process, don’t forget yourself.
Comparison & expectations
Want to know a sure-fire way to feel bad about yourself? Spend hours on social media comparing your life to carefully crafted posts and pictures of other people’s lives.
Stop comparing yourself with others. No one wins in that game. Quit following people who make you feel bad. If you’re hanging on to emotional clutter, let it go.
This is a time to adjust your definition of productivity and what a successful day looks like. So many moms are trying to do too much and are then hard on themselves when things aren’t going well. Simplifying your schedule will do wonders for helping you handle life again.
When you set your expectations impossibly high, failure is inevitable. Look at what you’re expecting of yourself. Is that reasonable in the season you are in? Don’t set yourself up for failure by thinking you can do more than is humanly possible.
Kids pick up on moms’ feel about themselves. If you’re always down on your appearance or the way you do things, your kids will see that. If you want to be a more confident mom, set yourself up for success by simplifying your expectations and not comparing yourself with others.
Set the tone of the home
There’s a reason we have the saying “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Moms, this is why you need to simplify. You set the tone in your home. If you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s hard to be the best version of yourself.
Stress often comes out as anger. Perhaps you snap at the kids or your spouse because you can’t stand the clutter that seems to keep accumulating. Or maybe that’s just me.
I don’t operate well when the space I’m in all day feels cluttered and disorganized. I also don’t do well when I’m overscheduled and running from one thing to the next. How long does it take for an eight-year-old to find the right shoes?
Decluttering my home and schedule helped me to breathe easier. I could relax more and feeling less stressed meant I didn’t snap at my kids as much. I decluttered with my kids and noticed they did much better too when they have less stuff to keep up with.
The tone of our home shifted when I focused on simplifying. It freed us up to spend more time on what we wanted. It also allowed us to have more peace with each other.
I don’t think it’s any mom’s dream to constantly be picking up other people’s things. It’s also not fun to repeatedly remind others in the household to be responsible for their things and put them away.
Part of that comes with being a parent, but many of us have taken on more stuff than we can manage.
There comes a point where your stuff owns you. When you have more than you can manage, it sets up a frustrating situation. Perhaps you feel like you should be able to keep on top of it, but you haven’t been able to.
Consider that the problem is not you. It’s the amount of things you have.
To be a less stressed mom, simplify so that you can stop trying to manage too much stuff. Stop feeling like a failure because you can’t get it under control. Instead, decide to have less to control in the first place.
In deciding to own less, you’re also setting an example for your kids on how to live within your means. In choosing a different path than the consumer culture, you’re showing them what you value most.
When you envisioned being a mom did you see yourself the way things are now? If not, what’s missing?
I thought a lot about the memories I wanted to share with my kids and the traditions I wanted to carry on. Growing up, we played a lot of family board games so that was something I knew I wanted to do with my kids.
Holiday traditions were very important to us as well. Family vacations were always the highlight of our summer. These are the things I wanted my kids to experience.
I wanted to be part of those moments, not just observe them. We need to get in the pictures and enjoy the moments. To be a less stressed mom, simplify so you can savor the sweet memories in this season of life.
Not everything will be sunshine and roses because that’s not real life, but when we simplify and focus on our priorities it can make everything else so much more clear.
How to simplify
These 5 steps will help you to be a less stressed mom by simplifying your life.
1. Determine your priorities
Do you know what is most important to you? What kind of mom do you want to be? What do you need more or less of to help you get there? Take some time to think through these questions and write down your priorities.
Are those priorities reflected in your home and your schedule?
2. Review your schedule
Reassess your commitments and see what may need to be decluttered from your schedule. Give yourself permission to say no and to create space for rest.
Don’t dismiss your needs. Choose to schedule less and not get sucked into the culture of busyness.
Is your home a haven for you and your family? If not, work through decluttering it. If that sounds overwhelming to you, check out this post with 7 steps to get started.
Do you feel mentally and emotionally cluttered too? Stop comparing yourself with others. Look at who you follow on social media. Notice what your triggers are that cause you to feel down. Work on minimizing them.
4. Change your habits
Decluttering your schedule and your home is great, but if you don’t change your habits the clutter will come back.
Simple habits like putting things away immediately when you’re done with them make a huge difference. Also, take a look at your shopping habits and identify where clutter is coming from in the first place so that you can stop the cycle.
5. Reassess and review
For most people decluttering is not a one and done situation. Periodically reassess your schedule and your home and see if things seem to be piling up again.
If they are, look at where the clutter is coming from and make adjustments as needed. To continue on your simplifying journey, it’s important to review your goals and make sure you stay on the right track.
If you’ve been feeling like your life is spinning out of control and your home and schedule are causing you to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed then it’s time to let go.
To be a less stressed mom, simplify. You are not the problem. The excess is the problem. Once you choose to declutter the things that are no longer serving you, you free yourself up for more of what matters most to you.
Being a mom will still be challenging, but simplifying helps you clarify your goals and priorities. Embrace the season you are in and learn to love your life again.
If you enjoyed this post, check out the two other posts in this series:
- Want your kids to be happier? Simplify their lives
- Want to be a more connected family? Simplify your lives
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