top of page

Finding Peace in Motherhood: 10 Tips of How I Decreased My Stress in Motherhood

Mother going for a walk holding a child's hand

Before giving tips, I should start by introducing you to the person that I was prior to motherhood because we bring that woman with us. It is true, motherhood in-and-of-itself transforms us into someone almost completely new but in some ways it reveals who we were the whole time without us ever knowing.


Prior to motherhood, as an enneagram 6w5 or maybe 5w6 (still not totally sure on that) I found my footing in the world through understanding it. I did not feel naturally motherly, at least in the obsessed about babies kind of way, so I read a book or two to help me feel somewhat prepared but all the while knowing I was going to be FAR from knowledgeable or intuitive.


Motherhood can be quite jarring for an enneagram 6w5 with the 5 thriving on knowledge and understanding and the 6 having a tendency to doubt our own intuition in general. Not to mention the 6's tendency to be fearful and let's be clear, advertisements make a lot of money on mama fear (fear of metal in baby food, fear of not having the best learning opportunities, fear of our children's boredom, fear they will never sleep, and the list goes on and on).


So that is what motherhood was like for me in the beginning, jarring. I'm pretty sure our whole family didn't sleep nearly a wink the first night. We (my husband and I) didn't know how to put a baby to sleep. I remember returning to the books in my first couple days and realizing they were only so helpful. Even now as a mama of two, when a new mom asks me a question, I feel like I need to ask her a list of questions prior to giving an answer because of the uniqueness of each baby and experience.


I remember being slightly scared to hold my baby, she seemed so floppy and fragile, which is slightly amusing in light of the fact that I have eight pound babies.


Motherhood cracked me open and left me feeling very exposed and vulnerable.


My foundation of knowledge was ripped out from under me like a rug and I felt like there was no floor beneath, almost like a freefall.


Only when I learned to trust Jesus a little more and my knowledge a little less did I begin to feel like I had solid ground beneath me.


Below I am sharing a mix of some serious and some practical tips that have helped me lighten the load of motherhood and feel a bit more grounded and peaceful.


1. I chose a few priorities as a mother so not every good thing had to be done.


One of the greatest challenges of being a mother in 2023 is our access to information. With that access, we become keenly aware of the ideal in numerous areas within our children's lives. We are told the ideal way to get our children to sleep, what they should eat, how much screen time they should have, the best philosophies of education, and the list truly does go on and on and on and on and on.


I am a conscientious person so knowing what is "right" and not doing it was an enormous source of guilt for me.


This is what I had to make peace with—I have limits. I cannot possibly do everything well. But I do not want to throw in the towel and do nothing well either, so I CHOSE what I would focus on. Instagram, news, and so on shout "FEED THEM LIKE THIS," "DISCIPLINE THEM LIKE THIS," and "MAKE SURE THEY AVOID THIS," and it truly felt like I was being shouted at all the time despite being in the living room alone.


So I chose five priorities in my motherhood, and if I couldn't nail the food, or the sleep, or the [fill in the blank], I chose that I would still be pleased with my efforts if I did these five.


If you wish to know what they are: Life skills, Enjoyment, Values, Character, Security



Would you like a blog where I go into more depth on my top 5 motherhood priorities?

  • Yes please!

  • No thank you



2. I decreased my workload.


Decreasing my workload has looked like a mix of things, such as: my husband having ownership of some of responsibilities in our home (for example laundry. If I forget about laundry or do not touch it, I know he will still do it), and also, things like making the responsibilities I was doing strategically easier.


I simplified cleanup by toy rotating and decluttering (here is a blog on prompts to ask yourself when decluttering toys but I declutter everything, not only toys).


I have significantly simplified my meal planning, which previously was a huge burden each week.


Lastly, whenever appropriate, I teach my kids to do their part. I have my preschooler help dust, clean up her place at the table, put her shoes in the closet, put her laundry in the basket, and clean up toys.


3. I decreased excess stimulation.


I don't know if I am particularly sensitive, but I am going to guess that I am since it has been spoken to me frequently that I have a sensitive temperament. Too much sound, too much emotion, too much light (not the natural kind, love that stuff), and too much color all can make me feel a bit wound up.


In regards to sound, light, and emotion (haha), there is a time in my day for an hour to hour and a half, that my house rests. My kids sleep or rest and I turn off the music and all the lights and let everything rest. I know that this is age dependent for kids, and I did not have this predictably prior to my youngest being on two naps, but this is always the goal and aim.


If you have younger children, I have always loved the quote, "Begin with the end in mind," so as your toddler or preschooler transitions out of a nap, start a quiet time or "room time" (this is what we do because I don't necessarily care how quiet it is within reason) right away.


In regards to color, for me, one major way I have decreased this is less branding. Have you noticed how much branding there is? It is on almost everything we purchase. I hide my cleaning products away in big plastic containers. I put my seasonings in clear jars. I put our toiletries in clear containers when possible. Branding feels like it is everywhere, and visually, for me, it is unpleasant unless it is Good and Gather (love theirs.) Additionally, I am a white-all-over kind of house, but you don't have to be; I just find it to be very calming.


4. Less Choices


Have you heard of decision fatigue?


According to Cleveland Clinic, "It is a phenomenon (as opposed to a diagnosable medical condition) where the more decisions a person makes over the course of a day, the more physically, mentally and emotionally depleted they become."


Depleted.


I feel being too tired or depleted is a HUGE source of stress for so many of us.


While some do not have the privilege to decrease many of their choices, especially at work, many of us have more control to decrease this kind of overwhelm at home than we maybe even acknowledge.


Here is a list of a few areas you can decrease your amount of choices:


  • Where you get your recipes for the week (I get mine almost completely from 2 cookbooks).

  • What you will eat for the week

  • When snack times are

  • What shows the kids get to watch

  • When they get to watch shows

  • What snacks you have/own

  • The distribution of who is going to do what chores among the adults

  • How the kids know if they can have candy or extra snacks

  • When you purchase new toys

  • When you will do certain chores

If you find yourself asking the who, what, when, where, why questions all the time, you may benefit from choosing ahead of time on a few of them or simplifying your process. Only do it to the degree that this is a source of peace and not stress, but I love only choosing 2 meals a week each week when I used to hate meal planning.


5. Less social media


As I write this, I used Facebook for a total of 1 hour and 18 minutes for the week and Instagram for a total of 1 hour and 11 minutes for the week.


That's an average of 12.5 minutes per day on each app, while creating a business using social media.


Now, I am not sure whether this will increase or decrease as I continue to pursue my business, but I shared this to demonstrate that I really do practice what I preach. This is an area that I had to learn to overcome as my own social media habits were excessive. I used to be on Facebook and Instagram probably an hour each day. Some of the working moms may not feel the same challenge (or maybe they do) as those of us who are stay-at-home moms who are trying to connect with the outside world or trying to escape the overstimulating inside world.


Here are some of my hang ups with too much social media:


  • Its tendency to be a source of anxiety and comparison

  • It sends our minds down paths we never meant to be on

  • It is a shallow version of the real connection we are seeking

  • It undervalues the people that I am actually with

  • It steals our presence

  • It is overstimulating (too. much. to. process.)

  • It is paralyzing (too. many. problems. to. solve. aka compassion fatigue)

  • Spending time doing something of generally low-value rather than making an impact

  • We are becoming known as the distracted-parenting generation (just like distracted driving isn't safe, this probably is not either)

  • We consume way more than we create

  • It uses our discipline (finite resource) to fight the bad more than feed the good

And honestly, the list goes on and on.


If you are having a hard time with social media and want help, consider scheduling a one-off coaching session with me and we can work to get to the bottom of it together. Send me an email at intentionallyannecoaching@gmail.com and title it Social Media Session and we will get you set up.


6. Use my alone time to actually rest rather than always work


I must admit, since starting up my business, I do use a lot more of my alone time for this kind of mind-work, but what I don't do is clean during my alone time. I have a reasonable cleaning schedule that I do mostly while my kids are awake so that when I have alone time, it is for what I want to do more than what needs to be done.


7. Having a family meeting


There is this really odd tension between needing to talk about what is important and logistical, and actually being in the right frame of mind to do it.


I am sure most of the men can imagine this scenario, they walk in the door from work and are mentally drained from a long day at work and their wife says something along the lines of, "We need to explore school options for our children," or "We need to come up with a new way of doing discipline because what we are doing is not working," or, or, or the list goes on and on. From watching the reaction of my own husband, it would seem as if I had just dropped a bomb. The thing is, it is too heavy, too much creativity, too much problem-solving after a long day of work and his mental resources are drained.


So what about the weekend? Well, from my experience, that same man has set his mind to rest and relax to replenish that spent energy and gear up for another week.


Enter a family meeting. If you have ever wondered WHEN is a good time to talk about all the important things of life because NO TIME SEEMS LIKE A GOOD TIME, having something predetermined has helped us both be in the right frame of mind and talk about the truly most important things of life, all while managing to become more on the same team rather than working against one another's agendas.


Creating our family meeting has been such a source of peace.


8. Learning to surrender knowledge, control, and my kids needing the best of everything.


I am not going to say that I can't/don't Google with the best of them, however, this is an area where I have significantly cut back.


A question I have been pondering is, "When do mamas get to stop being a professional in everything?"


Raising children in the times we do, with access to SO MUCH information, we mamas feel a strong underlying pressure to figure it all out.


  • How much television SHOULD our kids watch?

  • What is the BEST sleep schedule?

  • What is the BEST schooling option?

  • What are the BEST Christmas traditions?

  • What are the BEST discipline tactics?

  • What are the BEST books, clothes, and toys?

Are we allowed to be average anywhere anymore? Are we allowed to say that we don't know and we don't care to find out? Is it okay that our kids do not get the best of everything and every opportunity? Even more vulnerable, how long do we have to pursue that medical answer that we and the doctor can't figure out (is it forever)?


We love these little humans so much, and in that, we try to give them the best, healthiest lives with the very most opportunity, but I for one, have hit my wall of limits many times over. I am not infinite. I am not all-knowing and pursuing those things are exhausting. I want permission to be human, to be limited, and to trust that that is okay.


For me, this is only found in a trust in God. Knowing life does not have to be perfect to be purposeful. Also, learning to not lead myself with "best" and "better" questions all.of.the.time. That means, stop asking myself what the best is or what could be better. Rather asking:


  • How can I rest?

  • How can I trust?

  • Is this from love?


Man, I am tired even writing this section, looking clearly at the pressure many of us mamas feel on a day to day basis. Give yourself a break mama and get you a piece of the KitKat Bar.



9. Increasing my confidence


One way I have combatted all the pressure is increasing my confidence by having some self-trust, increasing my preparedness, nixing the negative self-talk (not completely, but mostly), and trusting in my ability to figure things out. As Marie Forleo says, "Everything is figureoutable." Solid word coining.


We all have more inner resources than we know or acknowledge, and they will help us if we trust them. Additionally, we need to stop beating ourselves up all the time. It is okay to be limited. We aren't meant to be everything all of the time. It's fine. It really is fine, but for a good laugh:








10. Use my discipline to feed the good, not fight the bad


I touched on this in my social media section, but since it is worth going into a little more depth, I am bringing it up again here. Our self discipline is a finite resource. It can be strengthened but is not endless (like a muscle), but as we use it, it depletes and needs replenished. That's why when a day is going bad, it is easy to snap at those around us by the end of the day. We tried to keep it together but we snapped. That is why I have to protect myself from the unnecessary bad. Generally, for me this looks like no social media for the most part and I definitely don't use it first thing in the morning. If you see a post from me early in the morning, I used a planning app. This also looks like my friends are super low-drama. I don't watch scary movies and I don't listen to true crime podcasts. I am generally uninterested in fighting anxiety that I induced in the first place.


When I am not spending so much energy fighting the bad, I can use my mental energy to create better habits. I can find the capacity to write this blog. I consider my kids character and if I am shaping it intentionally. I can think on traditions I want to create. I can ask myself if I am living by my values. I can make time to write thank you cards. I can declutter. There are many beneficial things we do if we don't feel the need to numb-out with social media or a show.




Y'all, truthfully I could add many more tips to this list but for the sake of somewhat-brevity, I am going to land the plane. If you are having a hard time in motherhood, please reach out to me about coaching, otherwise I am doing some free coaching in my Facebook group that I would love for you to join.


I am rooting for you truly.


Be blessed.

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page