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TODAY contributor
updated 5/11/2012 5:07:10 PM ET 2012-05-11T21:07:10

Moms have a lot going on these days. And that’s probably a HUGE understatement. Our days can often feel like an insane roller coaster of needs, requests, deadlines and never-ending demands. It’s no wonder that the constant daily juggles and struggles can take their toll and zap even the most resourceful mother’s energy reserve.

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The common term for this phenomenon is “the stressed-out caregiver” and there’s no better time to get this under control than around Mother’s Day. In fact, Care.com recently asked a group of its favorite mommy bloggers what they wanted for Mother’s Day and they all said the same thing: a break. (Read their hilarious — and true responses.)

It turns out today’s mothers, whether they stay at home or work outside the home, are more stressed out than ever. One of the reasons for this could be because moms take on the brunt of all of the household chores. And on top of this, many moms tend to internalize the impossible-to-achieve image of the “idealized or perfect mother.”

The dangers of this are real. One study from the Journal of Pediatric Psychology found that stressed-out mothers were more likely to view their children as temperamentally difficult. Past studies have also suggested that extremely high levels of maternal stress are also related to children exhibiting poor behavioral tendencies. Built-up stress can also cause long-term health problems, including depression and anxiety, which clearly is not a desirable emotional state.

Here are five signs your stress level might be getting the best of you:

  • You frequently feel frustrated and cranky, even about the little things.
  • You experience chronic feelings of guilt and self-doubt.
  • You feel like you’re just going through the motions of your day.
  • You tend to feel tired and unmotivated.
  • You have repeated physical symptoms such as headaches and insomnia, as well as other sleep-related difficulties.

So what can you do when stress levels build up and life starts to feel way out of control? This is the time to incorporate some productive strategies to overcome this all too common mommy phenomenon.

Here are four tips to relieve your daily stress:

  • Take care of Mom. Identify what you truly need to make your life feel more manageable. For example, make a change in your schedule, get help with dinner or have quiet time by yourself. Once you have an idea, make it a priority to make it happen.
  • Get help. Maybe it means getting help from your kids, partner, family, a babysitter or errand runner, but DO NOT NEGLECT YOURSELF! Moms need to learn how to delegate and pass off some of the jobs they manage.
  • Join a mommy group. It’s important to know you’re not alone. Sites like Care.com have online communities for moms to share information and feel understood and supported by other moms — and even get meal ideas.
  • Learn to say no. It’s OK to set boundaries, especially for moms who have too much going on. No, you can’t pick someone up at the airport. No, you can’t watch another parent’s kid for the afternoon. If it’s going to add stress to your life, say you can’t do it.

Get more Care.com tips on managing Mommy Stress.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: Pamper yourself on Mother’s Day

  1. Closed captioning of: Pamper yourself on Mother’s Day

    >> this morning on mom's rule today, pampering yourself for mother's day. it's a good time to take a break and recognize all of the hard work you do every day for others. and here with some ideas is robi ludwig a psychotherapist and care.com contributor.

    >> good morning.

    >> love this idea of nurturing yourself on mother's day.

    >> absolutely.

    >> the kids and the husband which is all great, too, but you say really take time to pamper yourself.

    >> we need to. and moms are so good at giving to everybody else . but if you give to yourself and you're happier, you're a better mom.

    >> you have some good ideas for us. you say first do something old.

    >> right. think about what you love to do, maybe before you were a mom, and you just didn't have time to put it into your schedule. maybe it was singing. it will be different for everybody.

    >> right.

    >> dancing, creative writing . something that gives you joy. and find a way to fit it into your current life.

    >> gives you that freedom of -- okay. next you say try something new.

    >> all we know --

    >> -- as enjoyable.

    >> doing something new helps us to feel really good about ourselves. think about something you've never done before. maybe it's trying a new food, wine tasting , something that you can incorporate into your day that helps you feel like you are the person you want to be. and it also helps moms feel like they're not in a rut. because we can feel that way sometimes.

    >> reinvigorates you.

    >> that's right.

    >> you also say and i love this, extend mother's day.

    >> extend --

    >> does this mean every day becomes mother's day?

    >> it was inspired by my college roommate who made her birthday like a month.

    >> right.

    >> why does it just have to be one day.

    >> exactly.

    >> make it every day. sometimes a day is too short to get to everything that we want to do. so maybe you want to hire a baby-sitter and have a couple's night out or a girl's night out. or hire somebody where you can delegate things to so that you can incorporate more of what you want into your life.

    >> sounds good to me. i'm signing up for that.

    >> i know, me too.

    >> also you say make it a ponytail, no makeup kind of a day.

    >> i love this. sometimes we're so worried about looking good, it's nice just to not have to worry about that. and realize we're loved anyway. and perhaps even more so.

    >> absolutely. just go casual.

    >> yes.

    >> on the other end of it you say buy a luxury item you may not necessarily need. but maybe want.

    >> right. i highly recommend this. and of course-ish.

    >> a nice pair of shoes.

    >> you don't want to break the budget. so set how much you want to spend on yourself. maybe it's shoes, a dress, perfume, nail polish . but something that says, i love me, and i deserve this. and i don't know if moms do that enough.

    >> that's absolutely right. we get to everybody else . but we're the last ones to take care of ourselves. and you say, intentionally relax here. now the key word intentionally.

    >> right. and moms often feel very guilty in that they should be doing all the time. so they have to intentionally say to themselves, it's time to slow down. maybe it's putting on great music. lighting candles. getting that massage. or putting lotion all over yourself, on your hands and your feet, so remind yourself it's good to slow down every now and again.

    >> and then finally, and you say we should be doing this any day of the year is really to read some inspiration.

    >> i love this. because we can get so frazzled in our day, and lose sight of what's really important, and if we book some time to read some inspirational ideas, it's very good for our mental health . both for ourselves, and those that we're interacting with.

    >> helps you keep everything in perspective, as well.

    >> yes, absolutely.

    >> happy mother's day.

    >> to you, too.

    >> we deserve it. today is


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