Be the Best Mom: Managing Stress

Be the Best Mom in 2013

I started off 2013 by sharing my New Year’s resolution to “Be the Best Mom” with more positive thinking.  Every Thursday I will be featuring a different mama and her plan to “Be the Best Mom” in 2013, including specific steps that you can implement, too!  So far we’ve heard from Karyn about her great ideas to teach her kids about good nutrition and from Stephanie with her great tips to get organized in the New Year. Now let’s hear how Sara plans to manage mom stress in 2013…

 6 Steps to Manage Mom Stress at B-InspiredMama.com

Managing stress is something that I really needed to be thinking about a lot sooner. Lately I have had a very overwhelmed feeling when dealing with just about everything. Sometimes when things start to spiral out of control we just let the situation suck us in and spin us around a bit before we even realize what is happening. Things end up not getting done, tempers flare, there is chaos everywhere and we do not even know how it started let alone how to stop it. To put things in perspective and get everything back on the right track there needs to be a new game plan. I have a few ideas on how to get things turned around in 2013.

Managing Stress in 6 Simple Steps

1. Get ready for your day – You need to start your day ahead of your household. Even if it is just ten or fifteen minutes earlier than everyone else gets up it is worth the time. As for me, I am a Christian and it is important for me to take time to pray and focus on the word of God to get myself centered on the Lord before I start my day. It is important to get yourself up, get your coffee, tea, or whatever and get your mind prepared for what the day has in store. It is important that the person running the household is clear headed and focused on the children and responsibilities at hand. Waking up just a few minutes earlier can really make the entire day go a lot smoother.

2. Plan your days – Whether you write it down or just make a mental plan for what needs to be done ahead of time it will expedite what needs to be accomplished every day. This includes chores, errands, school trips, and play time. I like to write things down because it helps me to see them on paper and check off as I go. When I was growing up it used to really irk me that my mother planned out each day’s events and would not deviate from the plan. I am not suggesting that you put these plans in cement but it helps to stay close to the plan to get things done. Even recreational time is important to plan if you have young children. Craft time, or play time, and even homework time are all things that need to be considered. Do not put more on your plate than you can handle. And do leave room for changes in plans because as we all know things do not go according to plan all the time.

3. Don’t be a control freak – Now that I have told you to make a plan I need to speak to those of you who plan everything. As I stated above, things do not always go according to your plans and you can not be so rigid in your planning that you can not make adjustments. My own mother who was a planner had a very difficult being flexible. Even if she stopped doing what she had planned it upset her whole day and her demeanor. Everyone pretty much knew that if she was into something that we should steer clear and sometimes it was frustrating being around someone like that. Over the years as I grew up Mom learned that things could not always be the way she planned and she was able to ease up a little. This is especially true when you have young children. You do not want to make them selfish and give into them all the time because you will end up hurting them. At the same time there are times you need to stop and roll with your day and your children because they need you. This is a structured stop, not just for the sake of chaos!

4. Everyone gets a time out –I once heard a wonderful idea from a very wise woman who had eight children. For her sake and the sake of her children they had a time every day that was called quiet time. As I recall it was when she put the smallest ones down for a nap. The older children each went to their rooms and played quietly, read, drew, or whatever they wanted to do that did not include television or computers. I believe she said it was for an hour. Mom got quiet time and the children were learning a valuable lesson especially in the day and age we live in today! How to entertain their selves, have self control, use their imaginations, and be happy doing it! She started it early on in their lives so it was a normal part of the day for them and they all thoroughly enjoyed their individual time. It is not too late to do this with your family but make sure you do not make it look or sound like a punishment. Make it pleasurable and let them know that it is something that will benefit them and you. After all, if Mama and Daddy are happy then the whole household will be happier.

5. Enlist the help of your children – Even toddlers can begin to do chores, it is never too early. Sit down and think of chores that each child can do according to their age and maturity. Toddlers are generally eager to help with chores and as they get older they get wise to the fact that it is not always so fun. Do not let them snow you into thinking that they can not do certain things (the older kids). Toddlers can pick up their toys and put them into the toy box, put away their folded clothes, put their shoes away, etc. Older children can help with meals, set the table, fold the clothes, learn how to do laundry, feed the pets, make their beds, vacuum, and the list goes on. You need the help but also they need the responsibility. They need to learn to clean house and take care of their selves in the long run. It is not child labor, it is love to ensure that your child grows into a responsible, self sufficient, not to mention clean adult. Do it to help yourself and your children. It is a win-win situation.

6. Plan meals for the week – This not only cuts down on stress but it helps with finances. If you sit down each week before going shopping or every two weeks, however your family does the shopping it can really help. You can include the family in these decisions as well by asking each child what one favorite meal they would like. Then go shopping in your pantry and refrigerator first because often times we have many things on hand that we may end up buying in duplicate. After checking for ingredients make a list and stick to it.  I write down my meals on a paper for the week or you can use a calendar. It makes it so much easier to see things for me. If what I am making requires that I have the recipe I go and check my recipe index or my bookmarks on the computer to make sure the recipes are easy to get to. This will also cut down on the stress. I have spent fifteen or twenty minutes looking for a recipe in the past and it put a kink in my time that I did not need! It also makes it so much easier to shop with a plan for meals and a clear list. Include breakfast items, lunch items, and snack items that you may be out of and you are set to go. Stick to the list and it will save you time and money.

These are some of the ways I am planning to improve this year for myself and my family. I hope some of them will be helpful for your family as well. It is important to have plans made, quality down time, time to get your thoughts straight, and follow through. It may be necessary to sit your family down and have a family meeting about how to implement these changes for the well being of each member. I wish each and every one of you a very happy and productive New Year!

Sara is an active nanny as well as an active freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor of http://www.nannypro.com/.  Learn more about her at http://www.nannypro.com/blog/sara-dawkins/.

How do you manage stress?  Any tips for the rest of us crazy, stressed out mamas? 
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About Krissy Sherman Bonning

Krissy Sherman Bonning is a former art teacher turned homeschooling mama of 3 who authors B-Inspired Mama to share inspiration for simple kids crafts, family recipes, learning fun, and creative parenting.

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