When Mama Feels Overwhelmed

When Mama Feels Overwhelmed // jessconnell.com

Lots of things can be overwhelming to us as moms. Things like

  • Messes,
  • attitudes,
  • sickness,
  • a busy schedule, and/or
  • sudden changes in our routines

can push us past the norms of stress we’re used to, into a zone where we can feel like we might teeter over the edge into insanity.

On this particular day, I had ALL the overwhelming things: Monday, postpartum with a newborn baby, sickness, messy house, all on the day after Christmas.

Here’s how I handled it when I felt like exploding because of feeling overwhelmed:

Video Outline:

  • What made this particular day overwhelming?
  • 2:50- How I sorted out the stress of this day
  • 4:30- How things felt once I got things sorted out
  • 5:00- Is this only possible because I have older kids?
  • 5:25- Some of the ways I did it when I only had little kids
  • 6:40- Being deliberate, rather than reactive
  • 7:00- One thing I’m LOV-ING: Our toddler play yards – and WHY I love them

 

It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed as a mom, especially if we’re sick, or facing a messy house, unusual demands, or the sense that there’s too much to do.

But instead of yelling, or feeling hopeless, I’m trying to face these things head-on. When I do that, I find that the house gets back into good order, more quickly, and our relationships and moods aren’t dominated for the rest of the day by the slow-burn of my initial reactions and feelings.

 

IN THE COMMENTS, please share: What do YOU do when you feel overwhelmed?

 

p.s.– I seriously LOVE the toddler play yard for this postpartum season when I’m sitting and nursing for so much of the day. You can buy them here.

 

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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8 Responses

  1. Jessica says:

    So appreciate this! 36 weeks pregnant and really struggled last post partum with the overwelm and anger when the house is a disaster and things are crazy and I’m tired! So this encouraged me. It encourages me when I realize I’m not alone in struggling and that I can overcome! Praying a lot for the post partum period to have lots of grace. Thank you for sharing the video! We are having our fourth! We are so excited but also realistic about expectations and post partum hormones which for me have been very difficult in the past but I am taking your advice to heart about not overdoing it and focusing on rest!

    • Jess Connell says:

      So glad it encourages you. It’s HARD to master our own reactions when there are so many overwhelming feeling and hormones coursing through our minds & bodies. God is faithful to help us grow in this! He helps us through HIs Spirit & His Word and He also helps us by leading us to ideas like this that help us grow in our capacity to run our homes well.

      Hang in there and I hope this postpartum season will be one where you see the ministry of God to your soul, and where you experience growth in this area. ~Jess

  2. shannon bradbury says:

    When I feel overwhelmed I like to turn on worship music , do deep breathing + drink some tea..read. If it’s warm I send the kids outside, also exercise + the hot tub @ the gym helps too. Thx! For your tips Jess! I am a mom to 5.. 4 boys + 1 girl ages 15 , 13, 11(girl), 9 + 4….it’s great to learn from a more experienced mom.

  3. Leslie says:

    Thank you for sharing the video! I’m no longer on Facebook, but did get the podcasts set up through iTunes and also get the emails. Having things out of order/messy in my home is also a trigger for me to be angry or feel hopeless. I appreciate your tips for involving other kids in helping cleanup. We also have 2 of the Summer Playsets and they were wonderful. My littles are 3 and 4, so I haven’t used them in over a year, but they were well worth the money. Thank you for the encouragement you share through your posts and videos.

  4. Danielle says:

    I just had twins this summer (# 5&6). I really struggled with being overwhelmed. I have to stop and make a point to prioritize in my head what needs to get done first. Sometimes all I can do is see everything that needs to be done and it just engulfs me. When I stop and logically put things in an order of when they should be taken care of it and how long something will take- like do laundry first, while that’s running I can tidy up the living room- that helps a ton. I also had to let down my pride and ask my husband for help. He took over the dishes and did them when he got home in the evening. This was incredibly hard for me to ask (I had it stuck in my head that ‘all the books say a good wife has a calm and relaxing home for husband to come home to’ and I wasn’t being a good wife) and it was hard for him to see me struggling and him not knowing how to help. Once I asked for help everyone did much better. He also drove home to me that “all the books didn’t have six kids ages 6&under so those no longer applied to me…at this phase in my life. I am so thankful for him! And I’m happy to say hormones are leveling off, life is getting easier, and we’re into a good routine now.
    I also taught my 20mo old to continue to have rest time in her bed once she outgrew her morning nap. She gets a safe toy/activity to do in her room by herself, door shut, and I get an hour to rest if needed or get our school done for the day.
    I have a question- when hormones are out of whack, how do you get yourself to step back and realize it’s just hormones? I’m not an emotional person normally, but I still struggle with postpartum hormones. I’m always so convinced what I’m feeling is real. Looking back months, or even just a week later- it’s obvious it was just raging hormones. I have found that taking a nap helps everything but that isn’t always possible in the moment that I need it.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Yeah, I think we desperately need both truth and grace.

      Grace– recognizing that we are imperfect humans and God is the only perfect one. We are complex humans with a variety of inputs and we can’t always isolate down our reactions and say, it was definitely because of X. Things are stressful, and God has given us grace in the form of Christ. The Gospel says THIS… our weakness, humanity, frailty, imperfection… is the reason why Christ had to die. So we need grace.

      We also need truth. We need to make sure we are (regularly) planted in God’s Word… letting it shape our thinking, correct our errors, and convict us of sin.

      We also need grace from people around us and truth from people around us.

      I love how your husband said, ““all the books didn’t have six kids ages 6 & under so those no longer applied to me” — that’s total grace. I recently had someone say to me (not graciously), “Oh yeah, I know… you’ve just had a baby, or you’re nursing a baby, or you’ve just moved… there’s always something!” Well, yes, there has been. Right now, I am in a season of near-constant turn over in my life. That’s true by God’s design (because I’m still fertile… this is part of how He made me at age 37). So to act as if that is WRONG (to feel stress in response to stressful, ever-changing things) is in itself wrong. That’s not gracious. We need grace from people around us.

      But it IS helpful when my husband speaks straightforwardly to me, too. I NEED the truth from him. Last night, I snapped at him about something, and he said, “please don’t talk to me that way.” It was a good reminder. Yes, I’m going through stress, but NO I don’t need to talk to him rudely.

      I need grace, but I need truth.

      So… like so many things, the answer to this (for me) is “grace and truth.” We need both.

      I don’t think this answer is necessarily what you were looking for, but I think the short answer is…

      I don’t think you can always catch yourself in the exact moment when the hormones rush in and know that “it’s hormones, and by golly, I’d better speak truth to myself right. this. minute.” I think we learn these things over time and the more self-aware we become, the more honest we are with what’s really happening, the more God will give us discernment about the things that are truly going on in our bodies, in our hearts, and in our minds… and He will give us forgiveness for our sins and grant us grace to obey and grow.

      It’s been more like a process of continual growth (for me, at least), and less like a checked-box, lesson-learned thing. Hope this helps some, though… truth and grace, truth and grace, truth and grace…

      ~Jess

  5. Diana says:

    Thank you for this video! I love how you combine ideals with practicality. In other words, you tell how to make things work, but you don’t try to show a picture-perfect life/self/house during the postpartum (or any time that there are little children in the house!). That’s very reassuring. I find that picture-perfect type blogs can really be discouraging.

    Thanks for the tips! We’re about a month or so out from our next postpartum, so I’m loving all the postpartum tips you have to give! :)

    • Jess Connell says:

      Good, so glad to know it’s hitting the spot!

      It is very tempting to want to only have things look perfect, but if I waited for that, there would be NO videos. :) Haha!
      ~Jess

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