It’s so easy for a mum to become overwhelmed that it often happens before we even realised that it has. Being a mum is amazing and watching your little humans learn new things, discover and experience life is beautiful. Sometimes, however, it can all just get a little bit too much. With all the good bits, also comes the hard stuff – teething, sleep deprivation, keeping your house look vaguely tidy and ensuring the entire family’s admin is in check. Being a mum isn’t just ‘watching the kids’, it’s teaching them, playing with them, feeding them, bathing them, allowing them to experience new things, comforting them and so much more.
It’s no wonder that mums find themselves feeling overwhelmed and stressed. It can be hard to ask for help or even admit how you’re feeling when you find yourself in this situation. I wrote this blog post specifically for the friends and family of overwhelmed mums. I have seen so many posts aimed at the overwhelmed mums themselves, but none aimed towards the family and friends who want to do their bit to help out a mum in need.
Here are 3 ways that you can help an overwhelmed mum without upsetting her or worrying that you’re imposing on her life.
1. Listen to and support her.
When I say listen, I really do mean just listen. It can be so tempting to interrupt and offer suggestions or jump on someone she mentions for not pulling their weight. Overwhelmed mums might have tonnes to say when given the opportunity or they may want to just keep it to themselves for fear of judgement or upsetting other people. It’s important to coax the conversation without pushing, without bitching about other family members and without relating the difficulties faced back to yourself (this is especially important if you don’t have children!). Offer your friend in need a cup of tea, a piece of cake – because cake really does make everything better – and some of your time. She’ll thank you for it later!
2. Offer your help.
As a mum myself, I know that motherhood comes with a massive amount of pressure. Not only are you to look after your kids and keep them alive, you also have the weight of the entire family on your shoulders. You need to remember every appointment, be on time every time, make lunches, do the washing, cook dinners…the list goes on and on. Sometimes the pressure gets to you and if you have a bad day, you forget something or make a mistake, it can really feel like you’ve failed at being a good mum. This is, of course, ridiculous. However, in the heat of the moment, this can be a real emotional struggle for an overwhelmed, stressed out mum. Offering to help out with some simple tasks could make a huge difference to someone’s day. My sister helps me out loads with both of my kids and without her, I would permanently be exhausted, overwhelmed and anxious.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can offer your help to an overwhelmed mum:
- You could offer to take the kids to the park, to the shops, or just out for an afternoon and give mum some peace and quiet.
- Picking up small, inexpensive essentials from the shop such as bread and milk is a nice way of reducing the mental workload of an overwhelmed mum.
- Similarly, offering to run errands, such as running to the post office is a great way of relieving some stress.
- Offering to help out with some basic chores is a lovely way to help a stressed mum. Of course most mums like to think that they’ve got everything under control, but washing up your mug after sharing a cup of tea together or wiping down the kitchen surfaces will take you no time at all, but will save her a job.
- If you’re a close friend or family member, offering to do the school run is an amazing way of helping out. My son’s school is a good 30 minute walk each way, plus another 20 minutes of faffing around carrying Oscar’s buggy up and down 3 flights of stairs. My sister does most of my school runs for me and it saves me loads of time each day. It also saves me the stress of power walking a few miles and allows me to focus on writing blog posts. It’s also really handy if it’s raining!
3. Suggest going out for a walk together.
Anxiety is something that has been with me for years now, so I know that when the going gets tough, the best thing to do is get outside and get some exercise. It’s really hard when you’ve got children though, especially young toddlers or babies. Suggesting going for a nice walk is a great way for you both to get some exercise, have a chat and de-stress. Exercise is so good for your mental health, as is being in nature, so really it’s a win/win situation. Country walks work best for me – or anywhere that has trees! I like walking in my local parks, local Nation Trust sites and other random nature reserves that are dotted around. Having a nice walk into town and rewarding yourselves with a Costa is also pretty nice!
Hopefully this blog post has given you a few ideas on how you can help a loved one who is feeling overwhelmed and a little bit lost. Motherhood is a daunting, scary and emotional place to find yourself and having a strong support network can really make a huge difference. If you’ve read this far then you’re clearing a kind, loving person who wants to help out your friend or family member and I hope that with these tips, you can help a mum in need.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any other tips for family and friends who want to help their overwhelmed mum.