10 Tips for Overwhelmed Moms by Catherine Wehlburg, Ph.D.

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In Women
Mar 13th, 2013
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overwhelmed momI have one daughter, and how moms function with more than one child is an amazing thing. I think that each one should be automatically given sainthood! Here are some of my suggestions/thoughts/and a few rants.

  1. Make friends with moms at your child’s school. I have sometimes had to call someone when I am running late and just can’t pick up after school. An occassional call to a mom asking if she could pick up my daughter gives me a bit of a safety net.

  2. Be adamant about bed time!! I think that most kid’s behavior problems stem from a lack of sleep. When a child is tired, they simply can’t function well. Establish bedtime patterns early on (starting at birth!!) and then stick with them. We read for about 1/2 an hour before bed. My daughter gets her teeth brushed, etc., while I read outloud to her. She’s 11 now and still loves to have me read outloud to her. It’s a special time.

  3. Get everything ready the night before for school and work. We put bookbags, sports clothes, keys, everything by the front door the night before. I put lunch in lunchbags in the fridge and I put out what I can for breakfast. Then, when we’re running out the door, we can just grab everything in one shot. It helps to teach organziational skills, too!

  4. Let go of some things — breakfast is not always going to be home cooked, the floor isn’t always going to be perfectly swept, but you can always have time for a hug, a smile, and a snuggle.

  5. You may be the main chauffeur, chef, and bottle-washer, but remember that you don’t have to do everything. Give age-approporite tasks to your kids, your spouse, and hire out when you can and want to do so.

  6. Insist on polite treatment from your kids and that they extend that to everyone. This starts early on — but it’s never too late to start. They should always say “please” and “thank you” to you (and everyone else, but especially to you!). I have always told my daughter that she doesn’t always have to be nice, but she does always have to be polite. I’ve revised that this year since she is playing volleyball and basketball. It turns out that you shouldn’t be polite on the basketball court.

  7. This sounds crazy, but teach your child to shake hands well. So many kids don’t know how to properly “meet” an adult. And so many don’t know to shake hands and don’t know how to do it well. We started practicing when she was a toddler and now she extends her hand when I introduce her to friends and colleagues. It makes her feel comfortable and it is a surprisingly important skill.

  8. Clean out your car weekly (or more often if you need to!). I know that you feel like you live in your car — and you practically do. But, get the dirty socks, extra shoes, school uniforms, and mail out of your car on a regular basis. It makes you feel better when you get into the car and less clutter makes you feel less frenzied. And, yes, I’m speaking from personal experience here!

  9. Carve out special time for each child on a regular basis. Every Sunday morning, my daughter and I get breakfast together before church. Just the two of us — and it is something we both look forward to doing.

  10. Give yourself something to look forward to every week. Take a class, get a book you can lose yourself in, go to dinner with friends. I started taking a glass blowing class on Tuesday nights. I look forward to doing it and love it!

© Catherine Wehlburg, Ph.D.

Dr. Catherine Wehlburg is the Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness at Texas Christian University. She has taught psychology and educational psychology courses for more than a decade, serving as department chair for some of that time and then branched into faculty development and assessment. Dr. Wehlburg regularly presents workshops on assessment, academic transformation, and the teaching/learning process. Her books include Promoting Integrated and Transformative Assessment: A Deeper Focus on Student Learning and Meaningful Course Revision: Enhancing Academic Engagement Using Student Learning Data.

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And if you liked these tips, feel free to check out Putting Pockets in Your Personal Life: 52 Tips to Implement Immediately. If you know you are operating without any “pockets,” and you realize that you have lost sight of the difference between calm and crazed, then this booklet will help you regain that realization and subsequently DO something about it.

Inside, you’ll find practical ideas to implement, letting you actually choose to put in pockets in your personal life (i.e., some protected space, both the physical and metaphorical). With these 52 tips in-hand, and you’ll be well on your way to greater peace of mind and productivity.

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