Self-preservation when it all gets a bit much

Do you ever get that feeling of being completely overwhelmed when you’ve taken on too much? Like you want to tell the whole world to sod off for a bit and leave you in peace?

Oh good – not just me then.

As a parent, having to deal with lots of sh*t at once, of both the literal and figurative kind, comes with the territory.

When things get overwhelming I have to suck it up. I can’t just hide under the duvet all day drinking tea and eating my body weight in chocolate. Even though (especially since the arrival of my second child), there have been plenty of occasions when I would have given my right arm to do just that. But, he’s only little and, you know, relies on me to keep him clothed and fed, so I haven’t.

Instead, when it all starts building up and the stress levels begin to rise, I find that the best tactic for self-preservation is to quietly have a word and remind myself to do the following:

Take some time out

Have a bath. Read a book (or the same paragraph three times before falling asleep as usually happens). Write. Meditate if that’s your thing. Pour a glass of wine make a cup of tea and switch off the phone for an hour. Watch something mindless like Geordie Shore on telly.

It doesn’t have to be for long but I find just making the effort to do something for myself (and not feeling guilty about it – see below) makes a big difference to my state of mind.


My vision of taking time out

What happens

What actually happens

 Say no to people

One of the biggest causes of stress for me is having too much stuff planned. I hate saying no to people. I want to keep everyone happy. But whether it’s family, friends or someone at work, by constantly agreeing to things I end up spreading myself so thinly nobody gets the best of me.

It’s not always a bad thing to turn down a friend for coffee, a play date for my daughter or extra work if the result is me feeling less frazzled.

Having no plans is sometimes the best plan.


Clear out some crap

I’m naturally a messy person. When I was a child my mum drummed into me ‘tidy room tidy mind’, in an effort to get me to keep my bedroom tidy. It stuck with me and – as with most things my mother says to me – she was right, I tend to feel a lot less stressed if I’m not tripping over stuff.

Again, kids and mess come hand in hand, but having decent storage and regular decluttering prevents me from losing the plot on a regular basis.

Recently, this has been difficult to achieve as we’ve had some building work done at home and it’s been hard to keep on top of things. I’m slowly working through things though and sorting stuff to either chuck, give to charity or sell on eBay. It might not look much different but just 20 minutes here and there (while the boy naps) clears my head as well as some space.


Expectation vs reality


Stop feeling guilty

A lot of parenting stress is caused by pressure we put on ourselves. We want our children to have the best of everything, even if that means running ourselves ragged to achieve it.

I always beat myself up if – due to lack of time/planning/being bothered – I give my daughter a ‘lazy tea’ (e.g. spaghetti hoops on toast, cheese and crackers, erm, even Weetabix if things are really desperate). But will a bowl of cereal for dinner once in a blue moon really do her any harm? Or an unironed school uniform? Or a few hours in front of the telly just so that I can get things done?

My children eat a balanced diet, they start the morning with clean clothes and I try to spend quality time with them every day. I may not be wonder woman but I am generally pretty good at this parenting business so I need to cut myself some slack.


Do you thrive on stress and feeling under pressure? Or can it get the better of you too and if so how do you manage it?

Pink Pear Bear
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

32 thoughts on “Self-preservation when it all gets a bit much

  1. occupation:(m)other says:

    Haha, that picture is great! I think we can all be too hard on ourselves trying to be perfect and feeling all the guilt that comes with cereal for dinner…which I often quite fancy myself so why wouldn’t a child!? I definitely don’t thrive on stress and I Definitely agree with the tips…I really need to do some clearing, I always feel better if things are tidier but it can all build up around the place a bit and let’s face it, I’m rubbish at it! #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wendy says:

    I need that giant wine glass in my life. You have made some really imprtant points here. It definitely is important to take time to ourselves and not feel guilty about it. I get stressed if I have too much planned too. I don’t think it is possible for anyone who has kids to have a living room as imaculate as the one in the picture!xx #bigpinklink

    Liked by 1 person

  3. anxiousmummyblog says:

    This cheered me right up! I love the choice of pictures, you are spot on. I think we are all far too hard on ourselves. Parenting is bloody hard and we all need to a break sometimes. I would have done anything to hide under a duvet today and eat my weight in chocolate! Jemma x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This Mum's Life says:

    Oh yes, I can relate to this on all levels… I am particularly finding things stressful at the moment, because I’ve taken so much blog stuff on, and I still want to give the children proper attention during the day, and my husband and friends attention in the evening, and write something that looks like I’ve had all the time in the world to write it! I’m constantly guilt tripping myself, feeling like I’m failing, and letting everyone down. I’m also terrible at accepting help, and taking time out for myself. I keep making lists of things I think will help me, and places I’d like to go by myself for ‘me’ time, then never actually seeing it through.
    I am working on it, but it seems to be a universal thing amongst us mums that we take on too much, and end up in a state of burnout!! It’s great to have some methods like you have outlined, to try and recover, and be yourself again. I like the large glass of wine, plus the mindless tv idea…!
    Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarah - To Maternity and Beyond says:

      It’s a constant struggle isn’t it? I really do think so much of it is pressure we place on ourselves, though. My mum (yep her again!) is a firm believer in keeping life as simple as possible. She’s always saying to me – you can’t do it all, something has to give. I never want that to be the time and attention I give my family, so I’ve been making a concerted effort to drop some of the things that really don’t matter. There’s probably a whole other blog post in there somewhere! Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I’m off to watch some rubbish telly on catch up now 😉 x


  5. mummuddlingthrough says:

    Yes yes and yes. I specially agree with the saying no bit. I have gone so far that way I have to make an effort to say yes now! The arrival of baby #2 and Tigs being at preschool every morning means we are all pretty content chilling at home a few days a week. It definitely helps me to be home for the ‘teatime prep’ as getting dinner ready with hungry kids is my parenting-hell!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jaylan - Diapers at Dawn says:

    Another mummy that agrees with you! I try to make most of baby K’s meals from scratch but some times fish fingers and peas it is! Totally understand the guilty feeling but we’re only human and need time to ourselves as well. I can’t wait for the weather to get a bit warmer and do the winter to summer swap that’s usually when I go all cleaning crazy and have a complete deep clean/declutter day 😊 x #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  7. madelinelittlejohns says:

    Oh I’m with you on all of these things! I’ve found a lot lately that the clutter in my house really does add to my stress, so we’re working on clearing stuff out (and hiding other things away) to try and create a more relaxing atmosphere for all of us. x #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  8. babiesbiscuitsandbooze says:

    That wine picture is hilarious!! It’s definitely ok to have lazy days and to say no sometimes. I totally agree that we need a bit of time to ourselves too, when my partner is here and I get to have a bath on my own or read a book for half an hour I feel so much better. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Pramshed says:

    I completely agree with you about that feeling of being overwhelmed, I very often experience this on a daily basis! Worryingly I will be going back to work in a few months, so who knows what my level of overwhelmness (is that a word?) will be. Like you I often try to take some time out, by going for a run, although not sure that is possible with a small child. And, also do my very best to say “no” but I really struggle with that when it comes to friends, family, work, house work etc…..There are some brilliant tips here, I just need to get better at doing them to stop stressing. I hope you manage to reduce some of your stress with your tips. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back next Sunday. Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons says:

    Crawling under the duvet and hiding is something that tempts me a lot! I’m definitely guilty of putting too much pressure on myself and I do try to force myself to find time for me every now and again (cringey as the phrase ‘me time’ is!) – a bath, a book, or just blogging. I trying to be kinder to myself – I wouldn’t judge anyone else by the standards I set for myself!! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  11. To Arizona......and beyond says:

    This is very true! Everyone puts too much pressure on themselves these days. As a new mum I have been surprised just how little you can get done in a day now but I find by breaking cleaning into 15 minute chunks I can get at least 1 thing a day done which makes me feel better. Thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A Moment with Franca says:

    Oh I’m with you on this! I’m also always feeling that there is no time to all the goals for the day!! I’m constantly trying to find a better way to organise myself so things could be better and I always fail at this!! It is so hard. I tend to get stress a lot and I don’t like it. I think what you are suggesting are good ideas. Just go for a walk and have some fresh air is always refreshing, have a lovely shower or even better a bath, all things that help to have a “me time” is necesary to help avoid that stress. I will be trying more of that! Thanks again for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I also love that you have been very active within this linky and have commented a lot. I really appreciate that! Thank you! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

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