This post by Leanne Page, BCBA, can also be found at Today Parenting Team.
In this crazy time, too many moms are now wearing ALL the hats. I mean we already wore too many hats, but now moms are doing even more somehow! Teacher? Check. Mom? Check. Chef? Check. Driver? Check. Housekeeper? Check. Activity planner? Check. Argument Intervener? Check. Potty assistant? Check. Laundry Maven? Check. Work outside the home? Check. Work from home? Check. Work as a stay at home mom? Check.
These are TOO MANY hats! It’s no wonder you are feeling tired, emotionally exhausted, and over it. You are being stretched too thin.
As a Parent Coach and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, it’s my job to share behavior tools to make these jobs a little easier. So here are my top three tips for moms who are stretched too thin today.
- Systems or routines. Do you follow the same basic routines every day for things like getting ready in the morning, bedtimes, mealtimes, etc? Then make those routines easier for your kids by using a visual schedule. This means to just use some pictures or words (if your kids can read and enjoy reading) to show the steps in order. “But they already know the routine and they should just do it every day!” I hear you. I know that. I feel it in my bones as my own two littles *should* remember their routines every day. But they don’t. So we support them with some visuals displayed right where they need them- where that routine takes place. Boom. Now you’ve got an extra 60 seconds in the morning to drink your coffee instead of nagging about the morning routine. Again.
- When our kids feel connected to us, they are more likely to go with the flow and do crazy things like actually listen when we talk. “But remember that I’m stretched too thin. All the hats…” There is a super easy way to increase connection with just 5 minutes. Fill your child’s bucket first. Spend just 5 minutes playing with your child- doing something with them that they are really into. No phone, no work email, no multi-tasking chores. Just pure bonding time. This prevents attention-seeking problem behaviors so you can get some work done, some virtual school done, some chores- all those exciting things we get to do in our mom lives these days. Just 5 minutes at a time can make a huge difference in how your whole household runs. Increase connection to decrease issues and arguments.
- When life is overwhelming and you are about to react in a big way, pause. Model this for your kids. When they are having big feelings, do you want them to pause and think about it for a minute before reacting? Then you need to do that also. Say it out loud. “Pause. I need to take some deep breaths.” That pause can be the difference between you regretting what you said to your family and your kids learning a new emotional regulation skill just by watching you. Pause more often. Narrate what you are doing so your kids can model after your amazing emotional regulation skills. Pause.
Mom life is harder than ever these days. But the good news is you’re not alone. Right? Right? It’s kinda good news? We can use these simple strategies to ease a little of the burden and make things go smoother in your home.
Don’t forget to pause. You got this, Mama!