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Feeling overwhelmed and questioning your choice to become a mom is just another part of being a mom.
We rarely talk about it, but that doesn’t mean we don’t all go through it at one time or another. What do you do when you feel like you can’t go on?
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When Being a Mom is Too Much
Take a break. Find a sitter or ask your partner to take over childcare for the time being. See a therapist. Meditate. Most importantly, remind yourself that it’s okay to feel like being a mom is too much. You are not alone.
The Trials of Being a Mom
This is a true story.
Years ago, long before I became a mom, I grew close with a woman who was about twice my age. She had three daughters who were much closer in age to me than my friend was.
Still, she and I had a lot in common and quickly became best friends. She confided in me one day that she didn’t like being a mom anymore. It was too much.
She fantasized about leaving home and never coming back again. I tried to be supportive, but secretly I thought, “What a monster.”
It took becoming a mom to realize that this feeling is normal. As moms, we have tremendous burdens. We need to care for our kids’ physical and emotional health.
We constantly worry about them.
We never know if our parenting choices are the right ones and we really can’t know until they are grown and it’s too late. Sometimes, the feeling of it all being too much takes over.
This is doubly true for those moms who don’t have partner support.
Whether you are a single mom or your spouse is often unavailable to parent, you have no downtime to collect yourself and let the other parent take over. Your constant state is one of frazzled parent.
Add to that the mom guilt of feeling like your children are too much and the stress often feels unbearable.
Even if you have a partner who parents along with you, you don’t get a break from being a mom. My husband is as hands-on as any parent could ever hope to be.
I have a steady support system and know that he is always there. He is not my helper; he is my equal. Still, I often feel mommy fatigue. We all feel it from time to time. It is okay.
When “Too Much” Feels Impossible
It has happened more than once. I’m trying to be the best mom I can be, but I feel like I can’t do it anymore. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it either.
Being a mom is high-stress at all times. Anyone who can mother her children without experiencing the anxiety either has superpowers or imaginary children.
The first time I felt overwhelmed was about four days after my first child was born. My husband had no paternity leave, we lived far away from family members and I had just had a whole person cut out of my body.
I was then expected to use that body to feed him, hold him and care for him. I also suffered from postpartum depression and had a difficult time bonding with my son.
That feeling didn’t last but it has returned many times over the years. It usually happens when I am having a particularly hard time getting through to my children.
When discipline doesn’t seem to work, when one or both of them are overly needy or when I feel like I have failed them in some way a voice in my head asks why I decided to become a mother.
Luckily, I have discovered a few ways to manage this frustrating problem.
Getting the Help You Need
No one should feel like they have to live a life of frustration. You won’t help your children or yourself by suffering. When you feel like being a mom is too much, get the help you need.
1. Take a Break
The first thing you should try is a simple step away from your kids. Let them watch dumb videos on Youtube for a couple of hours while you take a breath. Hire a sitter and go out for the evening.
Ask your partner to tackle sole parenting for a bit while you take a long bubble bath and focus on you. The break you take might be a few hours or, if feasible, a few days.
The best thing I ever did for my family was to go on vacation without them. I felt tremendous guilt going all the way to New Zealand without my husband and children.
However, I also felt an incredible release. My children were fine without me and my husband had a deeper appreciation for me once he had to perform all of the duties of both mom and dad at the same time.
You don’t have to travel half-way around the world for a week like I did.
Get an airbnb in a neighboring town, spend a girls’ weekend with some friends or ask your partner to take the kids camping while you stay home. It will be good for you.
2. Seek Therapy
I am a strong proponent of therapy. I think everyone can benefit from talking with a therapist. There are two problems with seeking therapy: the time and the price.
The good news is that there are now a number of therapists who operate online. This includes online support groups, which are almost always free.
Truthfully, they can be a mixed bag. You might need to try a few different ones before you find a good fit.
You should also check with your insurance provider. They will offer at least some mental health coverage. Some plans will fully cover your therapy while only charging a deductible.
3. Try Yoga and Meditation
I am a certified yoga teacher so I recommend yoga for most things. I wouldn’t have received my certification if I didn’t fully believe in it.
Yoga relieves stress while strengthening your body. Meditation gives you an outlet for your feelings. It helps you find peace in your own space and at your own time.
Yoga and meditation are things you can do with your children or on your own.
It can be a bonding activity for you or it can be a way to find solace during the day. It might take some time to form this new habit, but it will become second-nature to you after about a month of daily yoga and meditation.
4. Talk it Out
Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. I promise you, your mom friends have felt the same thing you are feeling right now.
Telling them how you feel doesn’t just help you. It also gives them permission to have those feelings themselves. I suggest when you do talk, only look for other moms.
When my best friend told me she felt like giving up on her children, I didn’t understand. It’s an issue that is impossible to understand unless you have been there.
It might be worthwhile to talk it out with your own mother. She can tell you how she got through those feelings when she had them.
It can be a touchy subject to bring up, so only talk to her if you have a very strong relationship with a history of being open and honest.
5. Find Your Bliss
A hobby is a great way to take a step away from your daily stress and focus on you. The great thing about hobbies is you can do whatever makes you happy and you don’t have to justify it to anyone.
I write, I do yoga and I also craft. Whenever I can, I sew new patterns, knit, crochet, make candles, make soap, practice origami and tie-dye. I love these hobbies because I enjoy making new things.
I have the good luck of having many mom friends. One of them joined a movie club; she watches a new movie with friends once a week and attends a discussion afterward.
Another runs a half marathon every month. I have a mom friend who is making mosaics and learning how to make stained glass. Others make pottery, practice photography, play tennis and read.
Try lots of different things until you find the one that makes you happiest. Focus on that when your children overwhelm you.
Part of being a mom is questioning why you wanted to become a mom in the first place.
It is a natural feeling that we all have. Don’t feel guilt over it and don’t ignore it. Give yourself some breathing room or talk it out in our comments.