Inside this post are nine tips for when I am feeling overwhelmed as a parent. I have used these tips and tricks over the last eight years to build breaks into my day and enjoy the time more with my children.
Guess who else sometimes feels defeated and exhausted in motherhood?
This mom right here.
That’s right. Some days get the best of me.
I am tripping over magnetic tiles, and the boys are on their 12th snack of the day because they are staaaaarviiiiing, and laundry is on its third wash: Nope, no mildew smell over here. We are smooth sailing. Some days even channeling these ways to say good job isn’t working.
These things make me want to hop in the car and peel out of the driveway.
I wouldn’t even go very far. Probably just around the block a couple of times, listening to the birds as the windows let ALL the air in.
But we all know. That just isn’t possible.
These little people inside need me to be home. They need me to be present.
And so, I try to find little ways to make myself happy so we can all hang together in harmony—a little for me and a piece for them. Here are nine ideas when feeling overwhelmed as a parent to help us enjoy our time with our family.
RELATED: Read how kid activities can help with parent burnout.
I call these Mom Needs a Minute stress-free life hacks.
So here they are. When the playroom looks like it exploded, and you are on your last sip of cold coffee, take this list and do something that will make you (and your kids) smile.
RELATED: Need a starting place to create a predictable routine with kids? Check out our startup guide.
1. Leave the house when things feel heavy
This may sound obvious, but I mean it. Pack them up. Put them in the car, and leave.
Keep in mind that leaving does not mean you have to spend money. See our list of 50+ Free Ideas Here. Print it. Then take your finger, scroll down, and go where it lands.
Leave even if the house is a mess. Do you know why? Everyone is cranky. Cranky kids clean worse than happy kids. Get them out. Give everyone a break, and come back to clean.
2. Buy a stroller that fits all
…and keep the ones you’ve always had.
Have you seen our quad stroller?
It gets all sorts of reactions as we pass people. Some roll down the window and others smirk as they pass. It is ALWAYS entertaining to watch and see the responses.
But this quad stroller of mine is my lifeline. It helps me press the reset button and jump back in once my endorphins are given a gigantic boost. What it is not as easy to push. But I feel stronger doing it.
I think of new blog posts and ways to solve personal issues when working out. It is impressive what movement can do for your mind. Here is an ultra-satisfying 15-minute workout from Mind Body Green.
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We also have a double and single stroller.
Not because we love to spend money on strollers, but because we use strollers every day.
We purchased a single with our first child, a double for the middle, and a quad for the last. – Don’t overthink that fourth seat. It is strictly for groceries.
We purchased strollers with good tires to last over four years of everyday use.
Strollers can be expensive, but I find it worth it when they are both physical and mental health. Below are affiliate links:
One trick we stick to is creating a destination point for them to get out and move. “When we get to the grass area down the hill, you can get out.”
Stroller list to help families get out of the house
- Bob single stroller – We have used this one for eight years! Whoa.
- Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double Stroller – Used for six years!
- Foundations Quad Stroller – Five years and the best memories!
3. Phone a friend when feeling overwhelmed
When I was talking with Susie from Busy Toddler about this, she said:
When I am about to give up, I start to text everyone I know. It’s much easier for parents if someone is sitting with you and you can parent together. Someone always answers.
Sounds brilliant to me. I need to do more of this. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my schedule that I forget how important socializing can be.
Text your friend these five kid activity ideas to sit and watch them play together!
4. Phone a babysitter
Is that friend not answering? How dare she.
Next up, try a babysitter that you know and trust.
Repeat after me. “It is okay to ask for help.” Now say that three times.
I used a neighbor for 2 hours a week this summer for $10 an hour. It wasn’t much time OR money, but it bought me some time alone. – Time alone means I still have my youngest with me, but it felt like a much-needed break.
Find someone you trust; get yourself a break, even if that means sitting at Starbucks alone. Who doesn’t love people-watching?
5. Add water
Some days you cannot leave and feel like you cannot survive. The clock seems to be creeping. These tips when feeling overwhelmed as a parent are tried and true!
Do you know what to do?
These winning water games are our favorite! Scooping, pouring, dumping, and filling are essential for child development and allow you to sit back for a couple of minutes as you watch them play. Here is an essential article about the importance of sensory play for kids.
Let them get wet.
My solution is to toss the clothes straight into the wash when they are finished. Then throw them a change of clothes. It is pretty simple.
I stay very close to my youngest (15 months) and observe him. I also fill the large storage bin with just a little water. A swim diaper helps when I have the energy to change it.
6. Stretch your mouth
Okay, imagine this. Take your mouth and stretch it all the way open. Now, take your mouth and stretch it in every direction. FULLY EXTEND your mouth in every way.
This will look strange. But it helps release the tension in the neck.
Full disclosure, I tried to Pinterest an image for you, which was a fascinating search. I don’t suggest it.
Our first tip when feeling overwhelmed was to leave the house a mess.
Yet sometimes, when you cannot go, finding something to clean or clean out (that storage closet) can be very therapeutic.
Take just a few minutes to find that closet or draw bothering you and have at it. It will feel as if you just lifted a heavy load off your shoulders when it is done.
RELATED: Invite the kids to help with this chores for kids post.
8. Make a list
For tip number eight, when feeling overwhelmed as a parent, I asked my Instagram community what they do when they feel overwhelmed. Many people responded that they made a list. Some even mentioned that “take a shower” gets added if they haven’t yet.
Making a list can be such a helpful tool. You feel accomplished when you cross it out; it is a visual reminder of all you do daily. I am 100% adding this to my bag of tricks.
9. Try Turmeric ginger tea
I have found the most calming tea by Rishi. I try and drink Rishi Turmeric Ginger Tea every night before diving into work.
Here is a homemade turmeric shot (and learn the benefits) from my friend, Aimee, at Clean Cuisine.
Craving a calmer morning?
Breakfast Invitations are simple learning games to begin the day with play.
More tips when feeling overwhelmed as a parent
Are you ready for this? They are SO GOOD!
The following are more amazing ideas from my Instagram community that I have not yet mentioned. You guys BLEW me away with your strategies.
You are not alone!
- Count to 10.
- Get drive-thru Starbucks and drive around singing silly songs together.
- Get an Oreo milkshake from Sonic!
- Go outside. It seems backward, but it helps to be surrounded by things “bigger” than me.
- Hide in the pantry and eat chocolate.
- I used to eat, but currently, it is exercise!
- Let my kids play in the shower.
- Lower my expectations of myself and’/or my kid. I also yell and cry.
- Make something easy for dinner, like french toast and eggs!
- Put the phone in the drawer and focus on my kiddo.
- Pray. Then make a list of JUST 3 things to get done so I am not looking at my never-ending list.
- Set a timer. Take a mommy timeout. Pick one thing to complete.
- Stop. Take a deep breath and remind me they are only little for a short time.
- Take them outside if I am not already.
- Tell my husband so the stress and anxiety don’t have power over me.
- Turn on good music to reset, or hop in the shower for a breather. Both work!
- We play a sensory game. My kids get (relatively) quiet, and we listen for five things. It grounds me at the moment.
- When I get a moment to myself, I flip through photos on my phone of my kids and remember they’re not constantly annoying.
Which tip work for you when feeling overwhelmed?
Whichever strategy you choose, remember that in 1/2 day, I had over 100 people message me sharing stress management ideas.
If that doesn’t tell you we are in this together, I don’t know what does!
I am a mom of three boys. Over the last three years, I have created tools and resources to help manage your day with kids. Try the start-up guide for those looking to hit restart on their day. Use activity cards for ideas when you need them. The starter kit is a great way to have everything you need to feel more confident about your days at home with kids. Here is a list of our resources when feeling overwhelmed.
No. Having more than one baby certainly does add a challenge to learning the hose, but it is not impossible. I keep outings simple, like some time at the park, lunch outside on a blanket, or the grocery store. Also, nothing beats an hour at Target in the toy aisles to pass the time. Grab the Starbucks and start roaming!
I do! I have created Days with Grey and witnessed the challenges of having young children at home as I try to complete household and work tasks. My secret to doing it all? You don’t! Think about what you can do with kids vs. what you cannot and save your time away for something you enjoy doing without the kids in tow.
Rachel Bhatia says
I totally needed this post today and should have read it this morning before the day got easier aka Miles got picked up for school. Thankfully I used a few of these techniques – made a list of to do’s which included looking at your Breakfast Invitation ideas and phone a friend. Mama needs a break sometimes! xo
Days with Grey says
It is funny how powerful a list can be. – and so true, Mama does need a break!
I love everything about this post!!! I think the worst part about feeling overwhelmed and stress is that when you go on instagram it often looks like all these moms have it all together. Then I am left just feeling like, it is just me!! So thanks for the real pic and real post about mommin!!!
Days with Grey says
I understand that! I feel that way about people that have perfectly blow dried hair every day. LOL – When do they find the time? I am still working on that one.
Emily Honea says
Love this! I have used several of these, but I think my favorite is lowering my expectations of myself and my kids. Not every day has to be amazing and I will definitely fall short of perfection in parenting a lot. And that’s okay. My sweet 4 and 2 year old boys are so quick to forgive me when I screw up and I have to offer myself that same grace. And extend that grace to my little crazies as well. Thanks for the encouragement!