Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Stress Busters for Moms

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Stressed out mom sitting in a chair as her two young sons hit her with foam toy swords
Here are five things you can do today as a mom to rein in the chaos you may be feeling in the midst of family life.

I revved the engine of the minivan, anxious to get home. Ethan, then a preschooler, was telling me in no uncertain terms, “I have to go number two!” My nap-deprived 2-year-old daughter was getting crankier by the second. So I did what any stressed-out mom would do: I put the pedal to the metal.

Then I heard the siren.

Yes, I was pulled over for speeding on my way home from grocery shopping. As I rolled down the window, the officer could clearly hear my 2-year-old crying.

“I’m sorry,” I said as sincerely and pathetically as I could. “My girl is cranky and needs a nap. And my boy has to go to the bathroom. Big bathroom.”

I still got the ticket, which only added to the tension I felt.

Motherhood can be a nonstop white knuckler, a ride where it’s often impossible to please everyone, or anyone — including yourself. According to a Barna study, eight in 10 moms report being overwhelmed by stress. Seven out of 10 say they do not get enough rest. How can we avoid being part of these disheartening statistics?

Many of us know the basics: Eat healthy. Get plenty of rest. Take care of our needs — which is often difficult when our job is taking care of the needs of others.

Yes, parenting inevitably leads to some tense moments, but it’s also true that the way we parent can make a huge difference in the amount of stress we experience. Instead of diving into a bag of chips, try these stress busters:

Take the lead

Who’s calling the shots on most days — you or your kids? (Huddle in and repeat after me: “I am the leader, and my children are the followers.”) These days, it’s all too common for these roles to be reversed. We cave to our kids’ demands, rearrange our lives to suit theirs and almost apologize when they don’t get their way.

Psychologist John Rosemond, in his book The Well-Behaved Child, points out how often parents tack “OK?” to the end of their instructions to their children. For example, a parent might say, “A friend of mine is visiting in a few minutes. How about let’s get these toys picked up, OK?”

“What does that mean?” Rosemond asks. “If it’s not OK with the child, he doesn’t have to do it?”

Recently, as I dropped my daughter Lucy off at kindergarten, I heard myself say to her, “I don’t want you to chase that boy around the playground, OK?”

I was caught red-handed, saying the same “OK” I had promised to purge from my vocabulary.

“Bad habits are hard to break,” Rosemond writes, “but they can be broken. Before giving an instruction to your child, ask yourself: What do I want my child to do, and how can I phrase it in the most authoritative way possible, using the least number of words?”

Lucy probably didn’t recognize my personal training in progress, but I managed to quickly correct myself:

“Lucy, do not chase that boy on the playground today.” Period. End of sentence. Stop asking your children to pick up their toys, to do their homework or go to bed. Tell them. It takes practice to parent like a leader, but this decisiveness is a key strategy toward minimizing stress in your life.

Create powerful consequences

You’ve probably uttered desperate phrases like, “Mommy’s going to count to three,” or “If you do that one more time, I’m going to…” We can threaten, warn, plead, cajole and thunder until our faces turn red. But all we’re doing is allowing stress to build with every futile threat. Instead, plan ahead with powerful consequences for misbehavior. Be creative and decisive. Most of all, be consistent so your children clearly recognize that certain behaviors always lead to certain consequences.

In the Pellicane household, my husband and I were constantly harping on the kids to hang up their backpacks, help set the table, put away their dishes. Instead of the daily nagging which yielded few results, my husband, James, made an announcement:

“If I have to ask you to do something around the house that’s expected of you, such as putting your shoes away or hanging up your backpack, you will owe me one dollar. These are reasonable tasks that shouldn’t need reminders. If your sibling does a task for you because you were lazy, you will owe him or her a dollar.”

But this is only one side of the equation. As our kids do their chores and other tasks over and above the everyday expected — cleaning up all the dishes after a meal or helping a sibling with homework without being asked — they earn a dollar. As parents, James and I now have less stress in our home because of those dollars circulating between us!

Quit babying your children

When my son, Ethan, was in fifth grade, I would bring him a clean pair of white socks at bedtime, putting them on his feet as I had done since he was a toddler. One day, it hit me: Ethan is way too old for me to be putting his socks on for him. I threw a pair of socks at him, and he’s been putting them on by himself ever since.

Often, it’s not our children who have a hard time assuming responsibility around the house. The problem lies with us. We don’t want to let go of the feeling of being needed and important. We complain about being stressed out and pulled to do every little thing that revolves around our children, yet we are often the ones who engineer that dependence.

Sometimes, our childhood contributes to this problem. I grew up as an only child and did my first load of laundry in college. But my husband was the last of four kids and was running the washing machine before he was done with first grade. Thankfully, his background has guided this area of our parenting. Our older kids (9 and 11) do their own laundry, and my 6-year-old does hers with a little assistance from me.

Are there tasks you are routinely doing for your children that they could be doing for themselves? Give your children age-appropriate chores and responsibilities around the house. As you work yourself out of many household tasks, you will lighten your mommy load and create some breathing room for yourself. This will lessen your parenting stress, and it’s a win-win because your children will gain experience in teamwork, responsibility and service. They’ll discover dinner doesn’t magically appear on the table and the laundry doesn’t fold itself.

Meditate on God’s Word

If your mind can worry and stress out, then your mind can be trained to meditate on God’s Word instead. And you can integrate this into your busy parenting day. Put some verses on your phone, bathroom mirror or car dashboard to remind you of God’s promises. One of my favorites: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6, NIV). Or maybe listen to an audio version of the Bible on your phone. Fill your mind with truth and not the stress of the economy, mom gossip or the race to replicate other “perfect” families around you.

Fern Nichols, the founder of Moms in Prayer, says this about meditating on the character of God: “A mom with little ones around her feet can get up 10 minutes early and meditate on an attribute of who her God is.… When you focus on an attribute of God — like His goodness or faithfulness — it will give you stability throughout the day because your mind will be on the God whom you have just praised.”

Stress decreases as appreciation for God increases.

Sweat it Out

Exercise not only keeps your waistline from expanding, it also lowers your stress level, boosts your mood and immune system, and helps you get a good night’s sleep. One study showed that depressed adults who took part in aerobic exercise improved as much as those treated with antidepressants. Don’t feel guilty about going to the gym twice a week or putting in an exercise DVD at home. You will be setting a great example of physical fitness for your family — and reducing stress at the same time.

My mom and I have attended a weekly cycling class together for more than 10 years. There’s no way I would have kept spinning and sweating on my own; I think I’ve ridden our home spin bike maybe twice in five years. But when I’m motivated to get my mom to class and am afraid of my instructor’s wrath if I don’t attend, I get on the bike every week without fail. That’s the power of having an exercise appointment with someone else. Environment is stronger than willpower. You may want to exercise, but you really won’t until your environment demands it.

These stress busters have helped me reduce my mother load. And powerful consequences have not only improved my kids’ behavior; they have also changed how I handle the tense moments of motherhood. After spending some humbling time in traffic school, I haven’t been caught speeding since.

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom.

The free CSS beautifier allows you to organize your style sheets.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

About the Author

Read More About:

You May Also Like

Anxiety

How to Handle Stress in Your Children

While the cause of stress in your children depends on a variety of influences, you can provide hope and support through security and comfort.

Woman thinking about self-care for moms
Emotional Health

Self-Care for Moms is Essential

Moms, are you busy, stressed, and tired? Take the self-care assessment below to learn what areas of self-care for moms you can strengthen.

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

see life episode 4 normal version

Please check back soon for an updated version of this episode!

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!