4 Ways To Manage Motherhood Amidst The Chaos: Part 1

Dr. Michelle Deering

Chaos words in chaos picture_motherhood chaos

Moms,  do you ever feel like you’re in the middle of motherhood chaos? As a mom of twin daughters, I know I feel that way often.

It’s especially hard to not feel guilty or ashamed of motherhood chaos when you are bombarded with messages  exhorting women to create balance in their lives.

But is balance really an attainable end goal for women, let alone moms?

This is what I pondered as the mounting array of tasks, meetings, and minutia began to pile up this past week.

“When and how is all of this stuff going to get done?” Don’t know; one task at a time, maybe?

“Is there anything I can take off my ‘list’?” No. It’s all important; well, it all feels important.

“Is there any way to delegate?” Not really. After all, I’m supposed to be “super mom,” right? (wink wink)

Over the years, I’ve often heard such musings of and seen similar patterns with my female clients who are moms. Consequently, I’ve concluded that there are four things moms need to manage in order to regain control of the chaos that arises in motherhood. Those four things are:

  1. Expressions
  2. Boundaries
  3. Passivity
  4. Freedom

In this blog entry, I’ll cover the first of these—Expressions.

Managing Your Expressions

I had a myriad of emotions run through me as my husband, daughters, and I watched Christopher Robbins for our family movie night.  I cried during this heart-tugging movie. As is our usual custom, we each gave our movie rating at the end and talked about what we liked and didn’t like about the film.  When the movie ended, we rated and winnie the pooh_piglet_pixdiscussed it. I pondered and talked about the many scenes that spoke truth and encouragement to me. I felt good and relaxed after a long chaotic week.

But then one of our newly-minted legally-an-adult daughters got contrarian and said something that wrecked the mood—my mood. It happened too quickly. I let her comment dampen my mood.

However, instead of lashing out, I looked at her and stated, “You know, I’ve had a long week and just wanted to sit, watch a movie, and relax with my family. Now that we’ve watched the movie, I’d like you and your sister to please go upstairs so your dad and I can spend some time together.”

My daughter quipped, “I’ve had a long week, too.”

I responded, “Yes, you have. But I’ve expressed to you what I need and plan to do. So, now I’m going to do it.”

And with that, our twin daughters went upstairs as I’d requested.

Managing Your Expressions: Slow-Mo Replay

Yes, the above recount is the actual dialogue that occurred between me and my twin daughters. But it was not always like that. It’s taken us—me, specifically—a few years to get to this point. Motherhood is a journey.

One  aspect of the journey of motherhood involves learning how to manage your verbal and non-verbal expressions. Part of the process of managing your expressions is:

  • Identifying what you’re feeling physically, emotionally, mentally.
  • Considering how your current state might get conveyed…and proactively planning an alternative response.
  • Expediting an optimal way for you to obtain resources to address &/or mitigate what you’re feeling.

So, using my family’s movie night as an example:

  • I identified that the tiredness and stress in my body makes me feel emotionally “on edge” and mentally foggy.
  • Knowing that when I’m tired and “on edge” I’m more likely to snap at others, I proactively implanted the word “Calm” in the forefront of my mind.
  • Since watching TV with my hubby usually lends itself to the kind of post-movie dialogue that “gets my mind off” a long week, I made sure I stated that I needed to have alone time with him.

Does this sound simple? It’s not. And being able to consistently do this does not happen overnight.

If this is hard for you to do, know that you are not alone. Change is possible.

Contact me to learn about ways to get help.

Next week, I’ll cover the second area moms need to manage: boundaries.

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