4 Tips To Fix Overwhelm By Motherhood

It was the end of the day. I was pretty new at this “mom of two” thing.

I was dragging myself through our bed time routine. It was just me and the kids since my husband was out of town for work.

While reading a book to my two year old, my 3 month old started crying. I picked him up and cradled him in my arms as my two year old snuggled on my lap.

The crying became louder. Then my two year old started crying because he couldn’t hear his story.

I was on the floor with two hysterical kids in my possession. I felt so helpless at that moment that I started crying too.

Not only was I exhausted from the day, but I was feeling severely overwhelmed.

What Does It Mean To Feel Overwhelmed By Motherhood?

Overwhelmed mother with text that says 4 Tips If You Are Overwhelmed By Motherhood

For the sake of this post, we are talking about overwhelming in the negative sense. Overwhelm is a state of emotional being. Underneath overwhelm can be a bunch of emotions that are difficult to manage like stress, irritability, hopelessness, depression, uncertainty, dread, etc.

When feeling overwhelmed, you might think that you can’t keep up with the demands of motherhood, or you’re barely keeping your head above water.

Why Is There Overwhelm in Motherhood?

I truly believe that overwhelm in motherhood is truer now than ever before. There a few reasons why:

  • So Much Information – There is so much information out there. Within seconds you can read about how other moms is managing parenthood. Though it’s awesome to have so many ways to get ideas and learn from others, the information can make you feel inadequate and like you should be doing more/better.
  • Increasing Work Roles – Not only do many mother’s work outside the house, but moms can now work from home too. These are all great things for women, but unfortunately, there’s a strong expectation that mothers can perfectly balance both the household and their job.
  • Unprepared – There really is no way around this one. No one can prepare you enough for motherhood. It’s one of those things that you learn as you go. If you are like me and thrive on routine and predictability, having kids throws you into the eye of the hurricane. The overwhelm is intense.

Signs That You Are Overwhelmed By Motherhood

There are many ways that overwhelm presents itself:

  • Procrastination – You can’t get off the couch to change the laundry or make that phone call. You just don’t want to do it!
  • Indecision – You have a hard time deciding what step to take next. Little things like figuring out what to have for dinner take up a lot of brain space.
  • Lack of Focus – It’s rare that a task is completed because you keep getting distracted by the kids, or by the running to-do list in your head.
  • Crying – You find yourself crying over spilled milk – literally.

4 Tips To Reduce Feeling Overwhelmed By Motherhood

Overwhelm is a completely normal part of motherhood. However, there are a few really small steps you can take to reduce the overwhelm so that you can enjoy being a mom more.

Tip 1: Stay Consistent with Decluttering

If your kitchen counter is cluttered with toys and mail and school papers, your mind feels cluttered as well. When your mind is cluttered, you feel overwhelmed.

A cluttered counter that adds to overwhelm

Simple steps you can take to cut down on the clutter:

  1. Do a 5-minute pick-up at the end of every day. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in 5 minutes.
  2. Have kids put their shoes and coats away. A disheveled entryway creates a sense of chaos.
  3. Keep the kitchen table cleared off. My whole house could look like a bomb went off, but if my kitchen table is cleared off, I feel peace.
  4. Have kids pick-up their rooms before bed. As part of your bedtime routine, ask your child to put away toys, books, and any clothes laying around.

None of the steps above take much time. And by decluttering your outer environment, you feel more inner calm.

Tip 2: Make Planning a Habit

I know that planning ahead of time can seem daunting. Like it’s just one more thing you have to do! But this is one of those tips that will make the future you so happy.

A planning journal to help feel less overwhelmed by motherhood.

Simple steps you can take to make planning a habit:

  1. Decide on dinner the night before. While cleaning up after dinner, decide on what you will have for dinner the following night. One less thing you have to think about at 4 pm the next day.
  2. Do a 5-minute prep for the next day. Set your timer for 5 minutes and lay out tomorrow’s clothes, or get the bottles ready for the following day.
  3. Swap babysitting with a friend. Find another mom you like and trust and plan to swap babysitting once a week. You will get some time to yourself and in return, your kids will have friends to play with.
  4. Stick to a morning and night routine. Routines add predictability and create a sense of control.

When planning is a habit, you tackle the day feeling more energized and less overwhelmed.

Tip 3: Implement Self-Care

When you are overwhelmed self-care is imperative. When you are giving to others all day, it’s important that you give something back to yourself. If you don’t, you end up feeling empty and resentful of everyone in sight.

Reading a book and drinking tea to help lessen feeling overwhelmed by motherhood.

Simple steps you can take to implement self-care:

  1. Lay on your bed for 5 minutes. It’s amazing what 5 minutes of getting off your feet can do for you. I tend to do this while my kids are taking a shower.
  2. Create a To-Do list. Taking time to write out all the tasks that are swimming around in your head can calm you down and motivate you to start checking off that list.
  3. Wake-up before the kids. Starting the day before the rest of the house wakes up makes you feel organized and optimistic for your day. You can use this time to drink your coffee in peace, exercise, read a book, or plan for the day.
  4. Write out your thoughts. Spend 5 minutes with a piece of blank paper and a pen. Write out everything that is stuck in your mind. This a great way to gain some clarity and relieve overwhelm and stress.

When you take the time to implement these simple self-care tips, you will feel less overwhelmed and have more to give to your family.

Tip 4: Have Fun

It seems like fun went out the window once you became an adult. It’s more important than ever to have fun once you have kids. Doing something you enjoy that makes you happy will produce good feeling hormones. Plus, it’s important for your kids to see that no matter what age you are, having fun is important.

A mother and her kids having fun lessen feeling overwhelmed by motherhood

Simple steps you can take to have fun:

  1. Binge YouTube videos. It’s so easy to find a YouTube video on any topic. Search for a topic you are interested in, and get lost in the videos. Some may make you laugh, and some may provide inspiration for whatever you need help with.
  2. Take the kids to the playground. When you are feeling really overwhelmed, it helps to get out of the house. Watch your kids run around the playground and get some energy out. You can have a few quiet moments to yourself.
  3. Play a game with your kids. Games are a fun, structured way, to play with your kids. You will both enjoy the quality time together.
  4. Browse stores alone. I think you can agree that there’s something about walking around Target by yourself – it’s therapeutic. It’s fun to check out the latest styles or home decor, without the frustration of monitoring the kids.

Make sure you take the time to have fun as an adult. Motherhood can feel like serious business sometimes. Making time to do things you enjoy will bring you more joy and lessen overwhelm.

Use These Tips To Feel Less Overwhelmed by Motherhood

I wish I could say that I figured everything out after the family cry during bedtime and I never felt overwhelmed again. That’s not the case. In reality, I called my husband after I was done crying and we talked about some things I could do to lessen the overwhelm.

Through the years, I slowly started implementing the tips I shared here with you and noticed that the overwhelm was no longer so intense.

It’s impossible to change everything overnight. Instead, focus on one area (decluttering, planning, self-care, and fun) and implement just one step from that area. Changing just one thing can have a domino effect in other areas of your life.

I’ve made this easy for you by listing out all these steps plus more in 38 Mom Hacks That Save Your Sanity. This is a free printable that you can print out and tackle slowly to lessen overwhelm. Grab your 38 Mom Hacks printable.

What step are you going to implement today? What do you do that helps you feel less overwhelmed by motherhood?


Hi, I’m Kristen of This Routine Life! I am a wife and mom of two young boys. I couldn’t live in a world without books, podcasts, Bravo TV, coffee, cross-stitch, planners, and my sneakers. I mostly love anything that lets me be sedentary, but I do try to get in a walk almost every day for my sanity. And I am obsessed with routines.