Feeling overwhelmed as a Mother, employee, wife, friend, anything (!) is just horrible. That feeling of almost helplessness. So much to do and where to even start. It literally can make you feel like you are drowning.
There’s a guilt that comes with feeling like that. I feel it. I don’t work at the moment, as on maternity leave. I’m self-employed with my blogging of course and I should see that as a job, as I earn but often I don’t! I just think I’m at home most of the day; how am I not keeping on top of things? A small 7 month old may be the cause of that! He’s on the move. He’s into everything and I can’t leave him alone for long to work or catch up on jobs. We spend quite a bit of time when we are together out and about, walks, groups and classes so he can safely crawl about and learn a bit too! This doesn’t really equal productivity though and the fact he doesn’t nap for long makes it worse. I hear of other Mums who have babies who sleep for 2 hours and I internally imagine all the things I could get done in that time. Twenty minutes to half an hour is what I get usually and by the time I’ve faffed about for a bit, that time is gone.
So it’s pretty easy to see how the overwhelm creeps in. I get lazy with my blog if the work is quiet and then suddenly I have loads to do. Piglet’s birthday. Housework. Homework. Remembering everything for school for the gremlin. Keeping up with a baby who is everywhere, the kid’s mess, pick ups, prepping food and actually having some time for self-care.
My hubby has been away a lot recently too and I’ve been solo parenting my brood. This leaves even less time and makes life that bit exhausting. I’m used to at least passing a clingy baby to him at the end of the day and when that goes, often does my sanity. My head feels like its about to explode and I’ve no idea what to do first.
But I do get through it and I do have strategies to overcome this feeling of overwhelm. It passes with a bit of work and these are the sorts of things I do to help myself:
– Ask for help. I find this hard sometimes, as don’t like to admit I need help but we all do. I sit my hubby down and say I may be feeling a little overwhelmed or I ask my Mum to pop over. Just her watching the little man for a bit can help me catch up.
– Prioritise. What NEEDS to be done. It’s easy when I think of my blog work; oooh I need to update that post or make a pin when I’ve got a post that’s due tomorrow! Similarly I’ll be thinking how I need to clean the kitchen properly when I need to cook something for the little man. What is urgent? What needs to be done NOW?
– Make lists. It’s simple. It’s easy but it really helps me when I write everything down. I spit up areas of my life; blog, family etc and list what I need to do. Ticking something off when it’s done is also a real boost.
– Say no. Another thing I’m shit at, as I feel I should do everything when people ask but I am getting better at saying no. With three kids, life is crazy and they have to come first sometimes.
– Use your time wisely. I have to live and breathe in twenty minute slots it feels, so if I get that USE it. I have started leaving my phone in places I can’t get it, as I waste so much time scrolling. The other day, the little man did actually sleep for longer than 20 minutes. I grabbed the laptop and banged out a blog post. You have to focus and use that snippet of time. One job is done.
– Don’t start lots of jobs at once and I am so bad for this. I start cleaning the kitchen and will so a bit in the lounge and this means half jobs get completed, if I have limited time. Focus on one task and stick to it. Don’t dot about.
– Take time for self-care and relaxation. I make time for the gym. I’m determined to read more. The little man fell asleep on me recently and I left my phone in the kitchen. I sat and had an hour of TV. I was relaxed, mindful and really needed it. I couldn’t really move and it was perfect timing. I needed to chill.
Feeling overwhelmed will come and go and it can be dealt with. I feel I am getting better at handling it. Trying not to panic and use the strategies above to help me.
Life is always going to be hectic but if you use your time wisely and get the tasks done, it is manageable.