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Stressed-out moms need to take care of themselves, too

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.

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 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 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.

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