My father was Italian, so I’ve always been emotional and prone to tears. It’s my Latin blood. Since I’ve had children though, there have been days when it seemed I was on overdrive. Don’t get me wrong. As a mother, I feel blessed. I adore my kids. I am so full of love for them that every day I thank God for the gift of my children. But there are times when I feel overwhelmed, unable to cope, almost helpless. Those are the days when I haven’t slept much, I’ve been up every hour in the night and the kids are full of energy while I have none. Sometimes it’s when they’re sick or I have a million things to do and no time to do them. When all the worries of the world descend on my shoulders and I think for a moment I will go mad. It’s then that I remember I’m not alone, I’m like every other mother in the world and actually, I’m probably normal! But it’s also at times like that when I need a ‘coping mechanism’ to fall back on, to make sure these feelings are indeed only momentary and to help me get back on an even keel.
I have found my own ways to do this, but have benefited over the years from wonderful advice given to me by other mothers, all of whom have their own secrets to coping with the stress and pressure that motherhood brings. Now, I would like to share some of those secrets with you. When you are having a bad morning or feel that life is getting on top of you, remember first, that you are not alone. Then fall back on the tried and tested advice of mothers everywhere to dry the tears and bring a smile to your heart.
Gathered here are the words of wisdom from mums around the world. I hope from all of these you will find some tips that work for you!
Danielle, mum of two from Sydney
- ‘When both children are grizzling and driving me up the wall, I run a bath and we all three have one together, filled with bubbles of Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Bath. After the bath, when we're all nice and warm, I add a drop of lavender oil to moisturiser and cover them both in it. I put a few drops of lavender oil behind my ears and the back of my neck and this calms me down too!
- ‘Put both kids in the pram and go for a walk, taking deep breaths and actually walk slowly, stop to smell the flowers (literally) and look at the birds and the trees. Very calming for us all.’
Amy, mum of four from the UK
- ‘When you’re feeling really down and your kids are driving you mad take time to sit back and be grateful for what you have. There are people in the world that can’t have children or have lost them, so count your blessings even if at times it feels hard.’
- ‘Get your kids out of the house! Take them to a field, let them run loose and scream to their heart’s content. And you can join in too!’
- ‘Send a saucy text to your partner to take your mind off the stress!’
- ‘If all else fails put your child in their room/cot (somewhere safe), make a drink and relax for five minutes until you wind down enough to be calmer.’
Vickie, mum of eight from the USA
- ‘Having a good sense of humour and not worrying about what other people think is a big stress reliever. Stress goes up big time when you’re embarrassed. Cut yourself and your kids some slack and have realistic expectations.’
- ‘I'm not a perfect mum and I try not to be a perfectionist. I've given up on being the perfect anything – I just take baby steps, progress in the right direction and deal with situations before I hit boiling point. I also don't have the cleanest house and my kids don't look perfect either. I try to have an eternal perspective and to be grateful that the situation isn't worse- it always can get worse!’
- ‘Don't hold in your stress. Tell others mums, find out how they coped and ask for help.’
- ‘Put a single fragrant rose or flower in a vase and keep smelling it often! Try fresh lavender, soothing oregano or peppermint as well. Scented handcrafted soaps and beautiful fragrances help me de-stress in the shower or simply by washing my hands.’
Alexa, mum of one daughter from Paris
- ‘Don’t listen to other people's comments or criticism. It will drive you up the wall. Stop feeling guilty when you think you’ve done something wrong with your baby...he or she will probably not remember at twenty years old!’
Laura, mum of two from Suffolk
- ‘My advice would be to go with it... If the kids are stressing me out I try to stand back and think why. Children tend to mirror the behaviour of those around them, and they are probably feeling the same as me. So if it looks like we’re all tired, I'll get a movie out and we'll have a rest and watch it together. If it looks like they’re caged and fed up with me doing chores (me too!) then I'll get them out for a couple of hours run in the park. Basically, sacrifice a couple of hours to give them some 'mum time' in order to get more of the chores etc done later!’
- ‘I suppose opening a bottle of Chardonnay at the end of the day or popping into Thorntons for a pick me up is not really the right answer but it works for me!’
This is a collection of quotes from mums who have all used The Parent Coaching Company
- ‘As a busy stay at home mum always on the go I was feeling like a terrible mother. I’d wake in the morning determined to be Mary Poppins and fall into bed at night feeling like Cruella de Ville. My days had become a constant tirade of nagging, telling, shouting, bribing and threatening. Now I know that sometimes it’s better to keep quiet than nag or remind children to do their chores. It is no coincidence that parents who nag frequently complain of 'deaf' children. There is usually nothing wrong with children's hearing. They simply listen to what they want to hear.’
- ‘Focus on children's positive behavior. I know everyone will have heard this a million times before, but please include this one. I was a mum, doing a good job, raising a toddler whom everyone told me was just in the ‘’terrible two’s’’ stage. I discovered what was normal and what was naughty and found out how to catch my child being good rather than continually pointing out his bad behavior which was getting me nowhere other than exhausted and sick of the word ‘No’!’
- ‘Make time for mum. I was exhausted, grumpy, shouting and generally fed up with the world. I discovered how time for me was nothing to feel guilty about but was a BIG investment for the whole family. Now I feel great and my family feels great to. They have their mum back!’
- ‘I learnt the most valuable parenting lesson of all: how to stay out of my children’s (constant!) fights. I became an observer and not a referee. My kids have learnt how to resolve their own disputes and I’m a far less stressed mother.’
- ‘Talk about it. I found it helped to talk about my kids, the stress and the tiredness to my mates who were mums; they simply listened and it helped.’
Mandy, mum of two from Ipswich
- ‘I think the stresses we have today are centred round the idea that to be a good parent you have to have a tidy house and perfect children. When my daughter comes in from the garden and you can't see any clean skin on her body, just mud because she was making "a very important recipe", I just tidy up the mud when it's dried! It doesn't matter if the house is a mess. It is an old cliché to say 'they grow up too quickly' but it’s so true! These days we have to be the perfect parent, wife, cleaner, career woman, cook, nurse and negotiator. What ever happened to just being a good mummy? When my children grow up I would like them to remember a happy childhood where they weren't afraid of making a mess!’
- ‘If you’re stressed, stop what you are doing and spend time with your children, really get to know them. It’s amazing how therapeutic doing a Tweenies puzzle can be! Obviously you can't spend the whole day playing, but you will be surprised how taking a bit of time out to relax with your children will help them to be less demanding.’
- ‘Every Sunday night we have family games night, the children choose board games and we play them as a family. When we first started this my husband and I weren't really into the idea, but we did it because our eldest son has Autistic spectrum disorder and we wanted to encourage social interaction, taking turns, learning to win and lose etc. Family games night has become something we all look forward to each week, and if we have friends over they have to join in as well.’
The responsibility of motherhood can sometimes weigh us down and cloud our vision. If you’re having a bad day or a mad moment, stop and take a moment to think. Our children are so precious; their love is unreserved and unconditional. Remember what’s really important, count your blessings and focus on the good things rather than the bad. Enjoy a cuddle, feel those little arms around you and hug them tight. There is no better antidote to the saddest heart than the innocent smile of a child gazing lovingly at their mother. Stop worrying, stop stressing and simply enjoy it while you can. It is truly a gift beyond all comparison.