I’m cooking fajitas, the five year old is abusing me with names like, ‘You fatty idiot’, because he doesn’t like fajitas, the phone rings,’Hello, is that Mrs Chapman? This is Children’s Social Services?’, and into the kitchen walks my two year old, pooey bare bum and a trail of toilet roll stretching from the bathroom to me. (I wish this was all for dramatic effect. It’s actually all true).
The kids are back to school and I’ve actually had quite a stressful week. Which has prompted me to write this post, the second part of my managing mum stress, you can read the first part here.
Focus on the cause of your stress.
This point is fairly obvious, but it’s amazing how all of us often neglect to do it. When we are feeling stressed it’s helpful if we try to be objective, and look at our situation from the outside. Is there something that is causing the stress that actually we may be able to fix? Can we address the cause of the stress? For example do we constantly feel like we’re rushing with very little time? If this is the case perhaps we can organise our time better and re-evaluate our commitments. If the cause of our stress is something more complex or more severe perhaps we can think about who and where we need to access some support. For example if we have a child who may be exhibiting some really challenging behaviours is this something we could discuss with healthcare professional such as a visitor?. Problems and stress often get worse when we try to deal with them on our own and sometimes we just need reminding that there are actually ways of accessing help.
Be realistic about what you can achieve.
This is not to say don’t be ambitious or don’t aim high, I mean on a more mundane level. None of us are superhuman. Back in the days when I had like, say, a mere three kids, I would still try and achieve what would’ve been difficult with just one child. For example, having a perfectly tidy house, cooking complicated meals, having the time and energy to drive the kids to numerous after-school clubs and holding down a very demanding job. It’s simply not possible. Think about what’s important and make these priorities. This point is especially important for women who have had very successful careers and enter into motherhood. They sometimes set themselves unrealistic goals and eventually end up getting stressed or maybe even worse anxious and depressed because they can’t achieve what they think they should be. Being a mother is like no other job.
Be mindful of your social media.
This is so, so important. This is not going to be a social media bashing post at all. There are so many positives from the likes of Instagram, Pinterest but it’s still relatively new and I don’t think we have really got a grasp on how this technology is affecting our brains.
Firstly, think about whether the amount of time you’re spending on social media is actually causing you stress. Instagram, Twitter etc are incredibly distracting and if your brain is constantly going from trying to respond to someone’s tweet or posting a picture on Instagram back and forth to your children asking for the millionth snack, your husband moaning about something, the oven beeping, the dog barking, the baby crying…..(my average evening ha, ha), it’s no wonder you’re going to be feel a little bit stressed. I try and do simple things such as leaving my phone in another room, switching it off or using an app, (yes I know it’s ironic using an app to monitor your phone usage but it helps), to ensure that I’m not letting my phone distract me too much.
Secondly, and so importantly just remember when you are reading other peoples Facebook statuses or looking at their Instagram pictures they are presenting to you, most of the time, very filtered version of their lives-the version that they want you to see.
Social media sites make more than half of users feel inadequate, according to a survey of 1,500 people by disability charity Scope, and half of 18- to 34-year-olds say it makes them feel unattractive.
I think as mums and probably dads and pretty much everyone, we can become very stressed if we’re constantly comparing ourselves to other people on social media and can start to feel quite inferior. We need to keep reminding ourselves that what we are seeing is not really real. Lots of people will only present certain sides of themselves and often can make their lives appear perfect. There’s nothing wrong with that but we just need to remember it when we are scrolling through.
Oh, and by the way if you are wondering, social services do not, that I’m aware of, have concerns about my parenting. We actually privately foster children sometimes which is what the call was about. Didn’t take away from stress of the situation though!
I hope this post was helpful in some way. Please feel free to comment below. How do you manage your stress? What have you found helpful? I would love it if you would like, share, and follow my blog.