Family, Self

6 Ways To Stop Feeling Overwhelmed As A Mom (And Finally Feel In Control Of Your Life)

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feeling overwhelmed mom

Most moms utter the words, “I am so busy and overwhelmed” several times a week. We constantly feel like our to-do lists never get accomplished and that just when you think you are caught up, something else comes up.

It’s a never ending cycle of housework, work demands, kid activities, returning emails and texts, cooking, and worrying about finances — and results in moms feeling overwhelmed and stressed-out nearly 24/7. Even just thinking about everything a mom has to do in one day is exhausting! This is why so many moms experience what I call "mommy burnout."

In my private practice, I have found that there are strategies that actually do work to help counteract feeling overwhelmed. We really can make a difference in how we handle the hundreds of tasks and responsibilities that we have on our plates.

RELATED: 10 Life Hacks That Will End Mommy Burnout, Once and For All

To stop feeling overwhelmed and start feeling more in control, try these 6 tips over the course of two weeks, and see what a difference they can make in your life (and stress levels!):

1. Let go of unnecessary to-do's.

If you continue to skip over a particular item on your to-do list week after week, it probably isn’t that important. Just drop it! Some women keep things like, “manicure” on their to do lists and day after day. They realize that they aren’t going to get to it, but it still stresses them out because it’s another thing on their “still didn’t do it list!”

Guess what? When you really need a manicure (say you are going to a wedding) you will get it.

2. Create structure for your day.

You will be much more likely to feel accomplished when you have a plan for the day. Your to-do list should have a time by it that you write in hourly order in which you can reasonably get the task done (for example 6:30 am: return emails).

Just map it out, and you will quickly see what you can realistically get done and what you either need to delegate, move to another day or just drop from your list entirely.

3. Distinguish between needs and wants.

If you have a hard time prioritizing ask yourself the question, “Is this a need or a want?” This question helps you cut right to the chase, whether it’s getting together with a friend or baking cupcakes for the school bake sale.

I have a personal to-do list rule that helps me from feeling overwhelmed: The needs come first, and then the wants. It’s like work first play later — they are both important, but in order for me to relax at a dinner with a friend, I have to feel like the things I needed to get done were accomplished.

4. Know your most productive time of day.

Become aware of when you work best. Take an honest assessment of when you are most likely to be in the right head space for responding to work emails, getting a work out in, going food shopping or catching up with a friend.

For me, I am in the best spot to breeze through to-do's first thing in the morning, so I do the things I really need to accomplish that day soon after I wake up. I also know that breakfast really does fuel me, so when I wake up I take moment to express gratitude, I eat breakfast and then I get done whatever has to be done finished before 8:00 am.

I have a daily agenda, and I do my best to stick to it and to mitigate distractions. That might mean turning my ringer off, changing my work environment or not looking at incoming emails. You have to find a system that works for you, but the point is: Most of us benefit from a personalized system.

5. Learn to say "no."

Set boundaries for yourself when it comes to others, and learn to comfortably say no. Easier said than done, but practice in this case really helps.

Start with small things, like not volunteering at a school event, and experience what it feels like to turn down an opportunity and how people handle it. I find that among moms, there is a level of respect that comes with seeing another mom hold her boundary and know her limits.

The only way you are really going to know that you can do it is by trying so start small and build up from there. When you value your time, so will others.

6. Be a good example to your kids.

Remember that you are a role model to your children. You are setting the example for them on how to manage time, your emotions, stress and other people.

If they see that you are constantly feeling overwhelmed, they will think that is just the way life is. They will be less likely to practice the skills necessary to self-regulate all that life has to offer. Our children are already stressed and overwhelmed in their childhoods with all of the opportunities that they are afforded, so teach them through your actions how to create a sense of control in their lives.

RELATED: 10 Tips For Raising Perfect, Unspoiled, Angel Kids

Today’s moms report record levels of stress in their lives. By following these tried and tested strategies you really can make a difference in your own life and the lives of those around you. You can accomplish more in less time and have time on a daily basis to schedule in something for yourself, which is key to managing stress and anxiety.  

Dr. Sheryl Ziegler is a mother, Doctor of Psychology, speaker, and author of the new book, Mommy Burnout: How Addressing Yours Will Make You A Better Mother And Create A Better Life For Your Children. You can follow her parenting advice in her newsletter by signing up today or visiting

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