I used to think I was a queen at multi-tasking. Productivity was my jam. I was like Super Woman, always checking off as many of those to-do items as possible. However, these days it feels like that Super Woman skill is slowly slipping away. My mom brain is on overload with all of the demands of life. From trying to attentively listen to each child, keep the house in order, work, exercise and cook, plus be a good wife and friend, there are times I feel totally drained.
For example, I’ve been trying to write this post for a few days now, but you guessed it, my brain feels like it’s on overload. So, scrolling Facebook and Instagram always seems like a better choice. I polled the people of Instagram asking them one simple question in an effort to make my scrolling feel productive.
How do you feel when you are overloaded?
The answers sounded all-too-familiar:
- Tearful and frustrated
- Stressed, lonely, empty, exhausted, confused
- Frantic, crabby, failing, in need of Jesus
- Like I am going to burst or I want to throw a temper tantrum
- Like time goes by way too fast! (Not enough hours in a day)
- The more overloaded I am, the more I try to convince others that I’m not.
The answers were relatable but also heartbreaking. It leaves me wondering, is this really how life is meant to be lived? Is there ever a light at the end of the tunnel? How long is this tunnel, anyway?
We might often find ourselves thinking that we want to slow down, but have no idea where to start.
When my mom brain is on overload, I turn into someone I don’t recognize. Every little interruption sends me into an irritable tizzy. I want to keep the peace but I am battling a storm inside of myself. I am often snappy and unhappy.
But here’s the thing; I don’t want to be irritable and crabby with my family and I don’t like how I feel when I am on edge. I feel guilty about how I parent my children. My home feels like it’s in total chaos and that work will never be caught up. And my poor husband; he always gets the brunt of it. He’s the other adult here, so he should just get it. But when my mom brain is on overload my loving communication is anything but loving.
That’s just not the mom and wife I want to be.
I don’t want to be the wife and mom who gets a little too snappy too often with her family. It took me a long time to figure out that the reason that I felt so irritable and snappy was because my brain simply could not do one more thing. I could no longer multi-task the demands of my life and my family. I wanted to do everything well, but the truth was I could no longer do it all well at the same time. Something had to give and it all came down to how I was communicating with my family. If I wanted this to change; I had to make some changes.
It was up to me.
First, I needed to take a step back and get all the things that were in my head out onto paper. “Brain dumping” can be very helpful. It helps me see the tasks and emotions that are consuming my mind. When they are out of my head and onto paper, it gives me a moment to prioritize, organize, and eliminate unnecessary tasks/thoughts. Most of the time, I have inadvertently piled things on my list that simply don’t need to be there. It’s a great opportunity to let some things go. And yes, that means the house won’t get cleaned again this week, either.
Next, I needed to figure out a way to communicate my brain overload without snapping at my family. I sounded more irritable and cranky than intended when I tried communicating my needs in the stressful moment. So I decided to pin point certain patterns in my life that made me feel the most crazy and started to work through them. One was simply explaining (multiple times) to the kids that I can only help one of them at a time. This not only helped me serve one kid at a time well, it also gave them an opportunity to learn manners and patience.
Last but not least…
I started treating myself more lovingly. I let things go off my to do list and set aside those Super Woman multi-tasking ways. Exercise became more of a priority because of how much better my brain felt afterwards. I continued to find ways to stick up for my needs and communicate them before I was burnt out. I figured out how to recharge my body and mind that was unique to me.
And then there’s grace. I started giving myself and my family lots and lots of grace for the days we all could have done a little bit better.
Momma friends, I mostly just want you to know that if your mom brain feels overloaded you are not alone. Especially right now, when we are ALL feeling overloaded.
So take things off your plate, communicate with your family, and care for YOURSELF, too. You are important, so take the time to elevate and care for your needs.