I hate overwhelm.
I think at least once a week or once a day or maybe twice a day I’ve sent a text or message to a friend describing how I’m so overwhelmed. Who am I kidding? Motherhood is just one of those most overwhelming places that we don’t talk about much. In fact, overwhelm makes me so unbelievably agitated that it makes me want to scream and then I think I’m the only one. And then I get overwhelmed about that too.
Who wants to admit overwhelm?
We cloak it behind busy, I’m fine’s and it’s no big deal.
But inside? Holy moly. Overwhelm can feel like drowning in the midst of one’s life. I know you know that feeling because even as I type this my jaw tightens and my heart quickens and I’m afraid to go down in the kitchen to see what kind of mess is left there again.
That causes me overwhelm.
So here’s the secret that can change your relationship with overwhelm.
Overwhelm is ONLY an emotion.
Let me tell you that again — it is an emotion and you are way greater than an emotion. Now, before you’re like, yeah whatever, just tell me how to get out of it, the first thing, the power in dealing with it is in being willing to understand that you are experiencing overwhelm but it can be fixed.
It’s the emotional response to a situation where something needs to change. Think of it as the warning button flashing or on a plane when the oxygen masks drop or the gas light popping on in your car.
Except society teaches us different about overwhelm. We’re taught to not talk about it or that fourteen steps in three weeks for thirty minutes a day in the morning can change our lives and we’ll never experience it. We’re told to have it together and to smile and to manage the 493 pieces of paper that seem to come home from school each week as well as manage all online communication.
Overwhelm isn’t a grade of mothering success.
Rather it’s the alert telling you and so often me, that we need to change something.
And it’s not something that will magically go away if we have it all together. It’s simply a fact of being a REAL mom in an imperfect world that preaches perfection.
So when I wrote about just doing the dishes and how the kids will be fine I was writing that because NOT doing the dishes makes me go crazy. And that feeling added up causes overwhelm.
So this is what I need you to do. I need you to get a piece of paper or a tube of lipstick or anything and I need you to write BREATHE on it. Because when we are in a place of overwhelm the first thing you and I need to do is catch our breath. And then you need to know that YOU WILL GET THROUGH. Your track record for surviving overwhelm days is one hundred percent. You are perfect there. It may have looked horrible and the house crazy — BUT YOU MADE IT. So put that breathe note to yourself in a spot where you can see it when you get to this spot.
And then, then lets work on one thing that will help you.
What can you do today that will make your tomorrow better, sweet mom? What one thing? For me, again, it’s the dishes. And once I got those dishes managed I moved to always keeping the kitchen a certain way. Or dealing with papers once a week.
Or getting rid of stuff. This times a million by the way.
Overwhelm doesn’t mean you don’t have it together. Or that you’re not a good mom. Or any of the lies the world tells you. It just is telling you – change something. And more often than not, that something is something that is for you. Taking care of you, your heart, your dreams. In fact, the more I mother (and it’s approaching twenty-one years now) the more I realize that when I hit overwhelm most of the time my tank is empty. And you cannot mother on an empty tank. So you have a priority, and obligation, to take care of you too in the midst of all of this.
So find you.
Discover just again how important you are and fight for you when overwhelm kicks.
That’s the life changing secret.
You see, when you see you as powerful you can start to kick that overwhelm to the curb.
And then, then in that space just a bit of happiness can creep in again.
One day, one change, one smile after another.
ps….and on those overwhelming days you just need to GET THROUGH. Don’t strive for perfection or fixing the one thing. Get through and tackle the WHY it happened when you’re chill again. Or after a latte from Starbucks….