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The Parenting Coach: Tips for Stressed Out Moms

Posted By Karen Young On January 26, 2010 @ 12:19 am In Family,spotlight,The Parenting Coach | 1 Comment

gilabrown110BY GILA BROWN, M.A.

The sentiment among my most recent clients has been the same. Mom is overwhelmed. Mom’s are waking up early, getting the laundry started, struggling to get the kids dressed and out the door, staying home with little ones, worrying, planning meals, preparing meals, cleaning the house, worrying, entertaining kids, refereeing fights, facilitating bath and bed routines, worrying, quickly checking e-mails and then doing it all over again the next day. This frenzied schedule leaves moms feeling overwhelmed, alone and unsupported. One mom shared that she is angry with her husband from the moment he walks in the door, simply because he’s been gone all day at work.

If you belong to the group of stressed out, over-extended moms, here are some tips to help ease you through the mothering frenzy.

Get a Mother’s Helper. A mother’s helper is a responsible, local 10-15 year-old kid, who is willing to pitch in. For a few dollars an hour, a mother’s helper comes over a few hours a week, while you are home, to be with your kids. This gives you some time to focus on your own things, knowing that your kids are close by and being supervised. To find a mother’s helper, consider contacting local schools or talking to neighbors. Make sure to invite your helper over for an initial introduction visit. You need to make sure that you are comfortable with this person, but also that your kids are just as comfortable. You might need to try out a few helpers to get a really good fit.

Make use of your older kids. Once kids are about 5 years old, they are perfectly capable of pitching in. However, if housekeeping becomes a series of forced chores, you are certain to encounter on-going power struggles. The good news is that kids do like to be able to help. They like to feel that they have something to contribute. The key is that they not be forced into helping. Consider sitting down as a family to discuss housekeeping. Together, create a list of all the things that need to get done in a typical week. Allow kids to chose which chores they would like to be responsible for. Give them ownership over those chores. Know that there will be days or weeks when the chores are neglected. But, remember, the minute chores become requirements is the minute kids lose interest and the power struggle begins.

Take care of Mom. We can’t give what we don’t have. When we neglect taking care of ourselves, we diminish what we are able to truly give to those around us. Typically, moms put taking care of others ahead of taking care of themselves. Ask yourself what would make you feel really good and peaceful. Taking a bath? A girl’s night out? An hour of quite reading each night before bed? Take some time to identify what you would truly need to in order to be able to feel more at ease. Once you have an idea of what you need, make that a priority. Communicate to your family members how important it is that Mom gets this time to take care of herself. Get help from your kids, your husband or hired help, but do not neglect yourself. You aren’t doing anyone any favors. You will be able to be so much more present with your kids if you also take care of yourself.

Ultimately, taking care of Mom results in taking better care of the family. Be honest about what you need and make it happen. Life is just too short not to.

© Gila Brown, 2009

Gila Brown, M.A. is a Child Development Expert and Parent Coach, with over 10 years of teaching experience. She specializes in parenting school-age children with grace, using principles of attachment parenting, positive discipline and effective communication. Visit www.GilaBrown.com to sign up for a free newsletter.

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