Taming The Stress Monster

 

stress and mothers

(Photo credit: Dreamstime)

Remember when you were first pregnant?  That first pair of little socks you were given?  That first kick you felt?

Newness.  Optimism.  Excitement.

And maybe a little bit of fear.

By the time round three came for me, I understood that with the sometimes unbearable joy little people bring comes hard work, a lot of work, worry, learning, tons of inner growth, and a little bit of insanity.

My kids stretch me in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

We love our kids more than anything else I can think of, and yet there are times they drive us to hit walls and say unmentionables.  Yes, I know you have.  And I’ve done it too.

And then I see a friend’s new baby.  The little hands, the look of contentment, the Baby Smell.  Could I do it again?

The roller-coaster ride of mothering.

One of the things mothering has brought to the surface for me is that stress is a very real, a very raw energy that needs to be managed.  I see the image of a tornado when I think of stress.  Its energy can destroy beautiful moments, can pull apart relationships, can rip through an otherwise beautiful day.  Stress leaves chaos in its wake. You can read a few of my tips for managing mama stress in this post but in this post here I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about one powerful strategy we mamas can use to lessen our stress in the first place.

Parenting is stressful. Period.  I have not met one parent, ever, who is not stressed out by some aspect of parenting.  The cost, the behaviour, the sleep issues, the doubt, the decisions, the choices, the colds, the fear of an insecure future…. if we don’t tame the stress monster it will takes us down.

We are stressed because we want to do right by our kids.  We are stressed because sometimes, though we try to hide it, we lack confidence.

Stress is a physiological reaction based on the perception of a situation.

That’s right.  Perception.  Change your perception, tame the monster.

How do we change our perception?  By gaining confidence.  That’s the strategy I want to talk about.  We feel stressed by a situation when we are shaky, insecure.

Lack of confidence leads to stress.

Think about something that you are not the least bit stressed about.  Is it because you have a system, or a plan, or you’ve done it before, or it’s a comfortable place to go for you?  Confidence.

So, what do you do to feed your confidence?

Think about this…. knowledge followed by action brings confidence.  You learn something, you try it out, you gain a little confidence that you could do it again or you decide you need to learn more about it before you try it again.

Knowledge, followed by action brings confidence.  Confidence tames stress.  Confidence allows you to take a deep breath and carry on.

If you’re a new mother you can’t possibly not be stressed.  You are doing something deep and meaningful that you have never done before.  It takes time and mentorship, knowledge and practice to build the confidence that will ultimately lead to less stress.

What do you think?  What, in your mothering, has brought you the most confidence and how has that lessened your stress?  Tell us in the comments below…

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