Moms are stressed and depressed at unprecedented rates. And this was before a pandemic that shifted everyone’s way of life.
There’s the childcare, the mental load of home administration, the normal day-to-day problems, and our uncanny ability to create expectations and standards that we never quite live up to.
While life is certainly stressful, the Holy Spirit empowers us to live with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
What’s one way to move our lives in that direction?
Make sure your home is a place of peace and calm.
If you walk into your home and your heart rate goes up, you dread the cluttered surfaces, and you automatically feel like you want to escape, then good news, there’s nowhere to go but up!
Let’s dive into some ways mothers can lower the overwhelm, ratchet up the peace, and live a little bit happier with their families.
Pray for a week about your home and family life.
Before diving into any big changes in your life, take some time to pray through what your reality is. Spend time pouring your heart out to God, whether it’s your feelings, dreams, or problems.
Spend time in God’s Word to get refreshed and realize that His heart is for you and your good. While it won’t solve a broken HVAC machine, it will calm your spirit and give you wisdom and a place of grounding for what’s to come next.
Write down all the areas of your life that are a mess.
Next, grab a journal or a note app on your phone, and keep a tally of areas of your life that are out of order or problematic. This includes household items, relationships, home routines, or anything that gives you angst or worry.
You may have ideas swirling around, but this isn’t the time to solve them. Just brain dump them into a central place.
- Are there things in the morning that don’t go well?
- Kids won’t get up on their own?
- No one puts away their breakfast dishes?
- Toddlers waking up at 4:45 a.m.?
- Always late for weeknight commitments?
- Bathrooms never get deep cleaned?
Jot them all down and continue this practice for up to a week. Give yourself plenty of time to really brain dump all your worries, concerns, and red flag areas.
If you can solve it, fix it, or throw it out quickly, do so.
After you’ve compiled a long list, you’re going to go through the list and make categories.
- Quick fixes
- Needs a good routine
- Needs a strategy
If it can be thrown away, solved, canceled, or decided in one period of time, then do it. Clutter can be removed. You can schedule appointments or handymen immediately. Commitments, lessons, or ongoing activities that no longer work can be canceled after giving proper notice.
If lights are out in the house, there’s no bathroom rug, or something else is annoying but easy to fix, then purchase what you need online and cross it off the list. You’ll likely be able to cross off quite a few items on your brain dump in one big go.
Decide if you need a strategy or a routine.
Other things will need a good routine or strategy to solve or work out.
If bedtime is always chaotic, nobody’s getting enough sleep, or you spend too much money on takeout because it seems like there’s never food in the house, then home routines will solve a lot of this.
Create specific routines around these problem areas so they begin to happen on autopilot. You can create morning, afternoon, and bedtime routines that help children cooperate more.
Choose specific days of the week to do various things like meal planning, grocery shopping, and checking finances. You may not stay on top of your routine perfectly, but aiming at regularity will help prevent haphazardness in a variety of home life areas. See all my mom life routines here.
These things on the list will require more prayer, wisdom, and a strategy. This might include mental health issues, relationship struggles, financial problems, or other situations that need either a multi-pronged approach or time to help solve.
Take one issue at a time. Brainstorm possibilities or steps to take. Pray about this particular issue and then create a strategy to tackle it head on. If wise counsel is needed, get some!
Even making a plan to address a lingering issue will help you feel more empowered and encouraged for the future.
Don’t automatically assume that YOU are wrong, guilty, or impatient.
We are all imperfect people, every one of us. We will sin, make mistakes, and get caught up in worldly attitudes and beliefs. But as believers and Christ followers, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us that counsels us (John 14:26-27) and helps hone our God-given intuition (Job 38:36).
One thing I see frequently in my work is that mothers have very valid, real, reasonable feelings, and then instead of acknowledging what’s causing these feelings they blame themselves for being untrusting, unloving, or living in fear.
Many moms automatically assume that what they’re feeling is wrong, and then guilt and shame pile on. Let’s take an example.
Hannah is an overwhelmed mom of three kids, five and under. Her day starts too early, before 5 a.m. most days, and she needs regular cups of coffee to keep going. She feels anxious and stressed since her house is always a toy explosion, there’s never a quiet moment, and by late afternoon she’s counting down the hours until they go to bed.
Because she is worn out, weary, and stressed, she feels guilty. She feels guilty because she thinks she’s doing something wrong, doesn’t have enough faith or peace, and must be a bad mother since she longs for those hours after the kids are asleep.
We see how Hannah views her situation and how it doesn’t help her to be at peace since she feels bad for feeling bad.
Another perspective is that Hannah is exhausted because she’s not getting enough sleep for optimal functioning. Nobody can survive on five hours of sleep for years, no matter how much you try to justify it.
Her home is stressful because there is too much unnecessary stuff and toys, which she hates but feels guilty each time she begins decluttering.
She yearns for after bedtime hours not because she doesn’t want to be with her kids, but because she longs for alone time to recharge and refresh.
Hannah needs sleep, space, and an ordered home, NOT guilt because she’s struggling.
It can be overwhelming to feel like your private world is out of control. It can feel even more overwhelming when you start making moves to create boundaries and routines in your home. Start with the thing causing you the most stress and go from there. Without the condemnation, stress, or guilt. Take heart, mama, you’ll get there.
If you want more life-giving routines and strategies, check out my book If Mama Ain’t Happy!
- 6 Strategies for Overwhelmed Moms Who Are Stressed in Their Own Home - October 11, 2022