Motherhood can be quite chaotic and overwhelming. There are so many things to think about all the time – things we need to do, things we need to remember, things we need to remember that when we have a minute we need to think about, and there are just so many decisions that we have to make.
Even the ones that seem quite simple and straight-forward are taking up quite a lot of brain space – like what to make for dinner? Or what after-school club is on a Thursday?
They all take energy that put simply, we just do not have.
So here are a few ways that you can make life a bit simpler and less overwhelming.
While some things are going to make you feel an instant sense of peace, other things you are going to have to begin to do a bit more regularly to feel the benefits of it – but once those benefits start, there is no looking back.
So let’s go.
1. Have less stuff.
Kinda obvious I know, but it needs saying. A lot of us fall into the trap of thinking that if we become more organised our life will feel less stressful, and while yes, that is true, it is going to be short-lived because you can’t organise clutter. You have to get rid of the things that you do not use or need.
Go through your home one room at a time, or one area at a time – break it down into a way that suits you and the time you have available and just get rid of things that don’t serve you anymore.
Getting rid of the excess is going to have so many benefits:
- you will feel less stressed instantly because a good declutter just instantly makes you feel good
- your home will look more picked up and organised
- you will have more brain space because there is less things to pick up and think about and move to get to something else etc
- you will feel a sense of calm and lightness
- you will have more time because you will have less stuff that needs your attention (to be cleaned, tidied, picked up off the floor etc)
The important thing to remember here is that it is an on-going thing. It’s not a do it once and it’s done thing, you need to regularly declutter to get the benefits because there are always new things coming into your home.
I have a blog post here all about why mums need less stuff if you want to read a bit more about it!
2. Have a family calendar
This one is important.
We have a calendar on our kitchen wall, everyone has a section so everyone can see at a glance what they have going on for the day/week but also can see what everyone else has going on too.
It keeps us all on the same page and it stops so much stress.
- Appointment? Write it down.
- Yours or your partners work shifts? On the calendar they go.
- What day is bin day? Write it on the calendar.
- After school club? On the calendar.
- Event like Fathers day? On the calendar.
- Non uniform day next week? On the calendar.
- Your son needs 20p for an event in school three weeks from now? On the calendar.
- Library books due back a month from now? On the calendar.
- You need to be in at a certain time for a parcel to be delivered next Wednesday? On the calendar.
If you use it like a tool to help you remember all the things it is going to make your life so much easier and take so much stress off your shoulders. That list above is only small snippet of things going on in our life, and all those things you need to remember is a lot of pressure and stress on you – so just write it down.
Make it a habit that every evening before you go to bed, and every morning as soon as you get up you check your calendar to see what you have or what everyone else has going on for the day.
There is nothing more stressful than waking up and realising your child needs ingredients or needs to wear a red top for school that day and you don’t have anything in the house.
You may feel that your family would do better with a digital calendar, so download google calendar, start a shared calendar with your partner and your kids and do it that way instead if paper doesn’t do it for you. It does have the added bonus of allowing you to set reminders if you want to!
3. Write everything down.
Following on from that last one, write your todo lists and your shopping lists down, and any other lists that you need to keep track of.
Get it out of your brain and free up a bit more space.
I’ve got a blog post here all about brain dumping if you want to get started with this.
4. Know what is important
There is always going to be a lot of things trying to grab our attention, and they all seem to be just as important as the last.
So one of the best ways we can reduce stress and overwhelm and make life a lot simpler is to know our values.
Once we know what they are, it is easy to make decisions or to know what to focus on first because we know what is important to us and our family.
It will help you make decisions about what to turn down and say no to (and take away a lot of the guilt too!)
It will also help you to decide what to focus more of your energy and attention on so that you feel like you are actually getting somewhere.
If you ever get that feeling of being frustrated and overwhelmed and like you are just not heading in the right direction there’s a good change you aren’t living to your values.
I have a post all about values here if you don’t know what yours are yet!
5. Make decision making easier
I am an over thinker (if you are into human design I have an emotional authority which kinda explains alot!)
I can get stuck for a VERY long time sometimes when making a decision, which can be both frustrating and annoying.
If asking yourself is this one of my values isn’t quite giving you the clarity you need then try this.
Something I am trying to train myself into doing is instead of going on an overthinking journey for every decision, is to go with my instant feeling.
So if I am trying to make a decision about something, I now ask myself ‘is this a hell yeah?’ if it isn’t, if it’s a ‘hmm I am not sure what to do’ or it’s a ‘well I could do that or I could do x’ then it’s a ‘hell no.’
I’m only a few weeks into trying it and honestly it has made such a difference to how much overthinking I do and that has made decision making (and my life) so much easier.
For example, I couldn’t decide lately whether to keep reading a book I wasn’t sure on, and almost half way through I was still ‘should I carry on reading? Should I abandon? Maybe it will get better…’ So I used my ‘is it a hell yeah?’ and it wasn’t so it became a ‘hell no’, I passed the book on and started reading a different book (which is really good).
Give it a go if you struggle with decisions!
Routines sound boring – but honestly, finding routines that will work for you will change your life.
They take so much pressure off you because you don’t need to stress about when you will get around to certain cleaning tasks, laundry loads etc, because it is all a part of the routine – it will get done.
The three routine I recommend you start with are a morning routine, a before bed routine and a cleaning routine.
Those three things will make the biggest impact on your stress levels and give you more brain space for all the other things that you actually WANT to do.
Having routines for the things that you do regularly will make your life a lot simpler.
7. Plan your meals
Nothing is more stressful than getting to 5pm and realising you haven’t pulled anything out to defrost and have no idea what to eat.
I know for a lot of people meal planning is daunting, so a way of making it simpler would be to make a rotating meal plan – it is completely up to you for what amount of time your rotation is for – you could have a 2 week, 4 week, 6 week or 8 week rotation.
The idea is that you sit down once and make a meal plan for that number of weeks – for example 4 weeks – have those meals for 4 weeks then at the end of the 4 weeks the cycle starts again.
You could take it one step further and write down all the ingredients you need for all those meals as well and your shopping list is also taken care of too. All you need to do each week is check whats for dinner, check what ingredients you need to get and away you go.
While your first instinct may be that you don’t want to eat the same meals on repeat, if you think about it you are probably eating the same meals on repeat anyway.
Another tip is to have one day a week as a *new recipe day* (which is what I do) so every week a new recipe is added in to mix things up a bit!
You could have a summer and winter rotation.
You could rotate the same 4 weeks all year.
Just keep it simple and do what works for you.
8. Work out exactly what it is that is causing you overwhelm and stress and find a solution
This one sounds extremely obvious.
But we don’t do it.
We say ‘the school mornings stress me out‘ or ‘cleaning the house stresses me out‘ – and we just sort of accept that that is the way it is, we might do something slightly different some days but on the whole we just sort of accept it.
Make a list. Write down what areas of your life stress you out.
Then actually make a plan.
It doesn’t even need to make sense the thing that stresses you out, if it stresses you out, write it down and find a solution.
9. Outsource what you can
Whilst the word outsource may make you think of a business – you can actually do it too.
You could get your groceries delivered.
You could ask someone else to do an errand for you.
You can share lifts with another mum for one of the groups your children go to.
Use the schools after school clubs etc if you need a bit more child-care.
Think about the things that stress you out and see if there are ways that you can outsource them or get some help with them.
10. Ask yourself, what would make this simple?
Do you ever do this?
When you feel overwhelmed about something – ask yourself what would make this simple or what would make this easy?
It might surprise you that you are actually really over-complicating something and it is possible to make it a lot less stressful by just going down the basic and easy route.
Remember – things don’t need to be perfect.
I hope these help you to make your life a bit simpler if you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the things motherhood brings with it.
Let me know what stresses you out in the comments!