Overwhelm. Now there’s a snazzy little buzzword. If you’re feeling like you’re going to smash a few plates with all this juggling, keep reading, mumma. We’re going to fix all of that in a jiffy…
(Also – when did overwhelm become a noun as well as a verb?
Was it when we all became so overwhelmingly overwhelmed, that some flashy business guru had to invent more jargon? Well, don’t let it be said Brazen Mummy doesn’t keep you on the cutting edge of fancy schmancy lingo.
So are you suffering with this overwhelm too?
And what does it look like?
Err, you know that thing when you’ve got so much stuff to do you can barely stop for breath? When you might just yank your frazzled hair out and scream big ugly swear bombs just for the eff of it? Yes, well that. (So a friend tells me…)
You may wonder why Brazen Mummy would suffer with this overwhelm. Aren’t I “just” a stay at home mum? Well, firstly, this mumming is a damn sight more demanding than my years of swanning around the office. The days when I could pee solo and make coffee the first time the kettle boiled.
Mumming is a twenty-four hour Piccadilly circus, with no pay and a two foot boss who can tantrum like a b*tch.
I’m on a mission to become a work at home mum, which takes a lot of groundwork. It means getting up at 5am to write, scribbling during nap times, and writing again in the evenings whilst I breastfeed the little one to sleep. (SLEEP POLICE ALERT – flagrant “rule” breach! But they can jog round and sort out bedtime themselves if they fancy.)
Overwhelmed by writing?
But what is all this stuff I’m writing? Eeeee, now there’s a brave question. The early adopters amongst you may know to run for cover at this point. If you didn’t read about the epic marathon of a novel I’m writing, you’re welcome to bring yourself up to speed here. Now don’t ask again!
Soooo, writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bejesus out of it. I wouldn’t power out of bed at ridiculous o’clock to fire up coffee and a laptop if I didn’t. It feeds my soul with tasty little morsels, and therefore can surely only make me a better mum.
Overwhelmed by housework?
But that doesn’t leave much time for housework (read – my house is a dump!) When Little B is awake I get mum guilt if I don’t focus on him, and when it’s the weekend I try and champion a bit of family time. So I often feel like I’ve got ALL OF THE JOBS and no freaking hope!
I mean, motherhood is a juggle-y ball weirdo show at the best of times. But when you add running the household (sounds grownup), pretending you have a proper job and keeping on top of social admin into the mix, don’t you sometimes just want to bite your own arm off? (So this friend of mine keeps saying, anyways…)
So here’s what I do when it all gets a bit much, I’m feeling frantic and I just want to hide in a cupboard with a packet of M&Ms (peanut, if you’re asking.)
(PS does anyone actually read these intro bits? Can I say what I want here and go undetected? I KILL SPIDERS. I HATE CATS! Only joking. Cats are great. Let me know at the end if you caught this bit…)
Overwhelm Tip #1
Take a Break, Mumma!
Counter intuitive, but at times you just bloody need it! And don’t you dare think you don’t deserve it, or we’ll be having words. Sometimes you need to pause and replenish before you can come back fighting like the tiger woman you are.
So take time out. Put your feet up, have a biscuit. Breathe, goddamn it!
Overwhelm Tip #2
Don’t pretend you don’t! I’m always going upstairs to grab something, starting five more things whilst I’m up there, then coming down without the original thing. Oh, and whilst I was gone I’ve burnt the toast and the rain has ruined the washing I started hanging out then forgot about. Oops.
And now you’re only going to do one task at a time, consider this:
It’s irrelevant how many jobs are in the mountain. You only ever have to tackle one at a time. That’s all. Not all of them at once. Step by step, bit by bit. Slowly does it, and you’ll reach the end.
Just like life.
If you burst free from the womb to be immediately told you’d have 31,000 days to live through, four schools, forty two exams, ten jobs, three kids, two husbands… Wouldn’t you go straight back in? I know I would. But it’s not like that.
One day at a time, one job at a time. That’s all you gotta do.
Overwhelm Tip #3
Ooh, controversial! But to be able to breathe without the constraints of big brother on your back once in a while is a beautiful thing. (I’m old enough to remember it! We’d be out playing all day before mobiles were even invented. Nope, didn’t die.)
To just exist without juggling a whole world of apps and crap for a few hours can be bloody priceless. Now and again I can nearly leave the house on time if I’m not faffing about with my screen. I said nearly…
So go on, try it for half a day. I dare you.
Overwhelm Tip #4
Write it all down. Get it off your mind. And then work through it, one job at a time. It’s less overwhelming that way. I’ll even let you add things to your list that you’ve already done if you like, so you can bask in the satisfaction of ticking them off! Yep, I totally do this.
But it’s my list and I’ll boss it how I want to!
Overwhelm Tip #5
Start With the Jobs Which are Bugging You Most – Because They’re Draining Your Happiness!
You know the ones. Those jobs that taunt you every day and subconsciously chip away at your chirpiness until you want to fling them out of the window. Like that picture that never got hung on the wall or that cupboard that never got cleaned.
What? Can I see into your house?!
Ha! You know we’ve all got one (or maybe several…cough cough). So either get these done first, or go with the window flinging plan. But don’t let them eat you!
Overwhelm Tip #6
Done is Better Than Perfect
I don’t know about you, but this is a thing I’ve definitely had to come to terms with since motherhood. My house may never be fully clean and tidy again – where’s the time, unless you want to ignore your kids and ensure all their childhood memories involve following you around whilst you hoover.
So maybe you haven’t got a spare hour to give that room a clean. Instead of closing the door and waiting ‘til the whole thing rots, give yourself ten minutes on the clock, shove some music on, and smash what you can. (Err, not literally.)
I tried this the other day, and do you know what? A bit of a superficial de-clutter is surprisingly better than nowt.
Overwhelm Tip #7
Just Say No!
Come on, we were brought up on this. No to strangers, no to drugs, no to over-zealous losers trying to get into our knickerbockers. (Ok, Google tells me that does not mean underwear, but nice word.) So why give up now? If people are trying to dump too much stuff on you, make a stand. Say no! Or I’ll send the boys round.
Overwhelm Tip #8
Re-programme Your Brain
Oh my god, I’m crazy about this idea at the moment. Because the glaring but often overlooked truth is that our mind thinks what we tell it to. We own that beast.
So guess what.
If we tell it we’re too busy and we can’t cope – well, we won’t cope. There’s a bit of our brain that delights in collecting corroborative evidence, and it will clutch on to all signs we’re losing and rub our negative noses in it.
But if we decide to keep telling ourselves we’re winning at life, at some point our brain will start rewiring and believing our own hype. We will actually change the landscape of our brain. Can you imagine?
And who wouldn’t choose winning? Well, not my friend anyway. It’s a no-brainer.
So come on, why don’t you join me in the beat the overwhelm revolution. Let’s have a ten minute tidy up to Lady Gaga, tell other people to do their bloody own, and rewire our brains until we think we’re bossing it.
And let me know how that goes!
Over to You
Do you have any tips on how to stay on top of the mountains of stuff life throws at you? What do you think of mine? And can you recommend any good housework tunes, because Poker Face is getting old. Answers in the comments box – what are you waiting for!
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Give Me More!
If you enjoyed this, you’re going to love my previous post where I give us all a motivational kick to help us stop comparing ourselves to others.
And there’s that juicy one about beating Impostor Syndrome too. Enjoy!
Goggles lady – Gratisography – Pexels