The Overwhelmed Mom’s Guide to Feeling Better

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It’s hard work being a mom, so it makes sense that you might be an overwhelmed mom, perhaps doing more or expecting more than is reasonable for one woman. Follow these practical tips to clearing the chaos in your mind and home so that you can feel better. You’ll feel happier and less stressed, and so will your family!

view of a hallway with laundry at the end of it.

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There is so much to do in a day, week, month, that you may find yourself completely overwhelmed from time to time. There are just so many things that fall under the purview of moms: household chores, bookkeeping, meal planning, grocery shopping, childcare or education, as well as our personal responsibilities at a paid job. There’s no end to the list of things you could or should be doing. 

Where do you even start in getting organized and thinking straight, let alone setting goals for the future? Family life can take up so much of your days that there’s little time to think your own thoughts.

Dear Mama, it’s okay. Really. After 27 years at this gig, I know what I’m saying. You are not alone. And there’s a way through.

Seasons come and go so quickly it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed sometimes. And that’s just with regular daily life! Illness, mom guilt, regular no-good bad days, financial troubles, and other unexpected things can really throw us for a loop. This, too, shall pass. 

You may not be a perfect mom, but the fact that you’re reading this means you care. It’s no small thing to admit you want to change things. 

And sometimes we do need to make changes, to find a better way of doing things to handle stressful times and avoid mommy burnout. Rather than be on auto-pilot mode or hold back hot tears, let’s sort through things and find the way through.

Here are some practical tips to help the overwhelmed mom get in a better place physically and emotionally. Consider this an (almost) complete guide to feeling better when you’re an overwhelmed mom :

stack of books and journals, with a coffee mug on top.

Do a brain dump.

Spend 10-15 minutes just writing down all the things that are weighing you down. It can be a diary entry or just a list of bullet points. The main point is to get it all out of your head and onto paper where you can sort it out. It doesn’t have to make perfect sense, just get it out. 

What is on your list that needs doing? What are the things you feel like you should be doing? What are the things that others think you should be doing?

Doing a brain dump can be a great way to sort through the junk and negative emotions to discern the most important things to do with your time. 

If you’re not a writer, consider drawing pictures, making a collage, or even recording yourself. Just get it out of your head so that you can sort through it all.

Eat something.

Moms are so busy taking care of other people that they often forget to take care of themselves. That’s a risk in mom life, so it’s important that you take care of you so you can keep being a a good mom. 

Grab a nourishing snack. I know, candy and sodas may be comforts in this moment, but they won’t give you the energy to do the hard work of overcoming the overwhelm. Get some veggies and hummus, a piece of fresh fruit, or some whole grain crackers or cheese.

Mom Food is the name of the game right now as eating well can make a huge difference in your stress levels and negative feelings.

a lunch of salad, yogurt, and muffin laid on a wooden surface with a spoon, fork, and can of soda water.

Take a shower.

For some reason a good shower can solve a myriad of problems. It’s almost like the water therapy helps get your mind in the right place. At the very least, it’s a much-needed break from daily life. 

It may sound cliche to new moms, but getting a shower each day does count as an accomplishment. Do what you can to make this happen. 

  • As soon as the baby falls asleep, hop in the shower.
  • Set up the littles with a short video and hop in the shower.
  • Put down the phone and hop in the shower.
  • Wake up a little earlier (or stay up late) so you can get your shower without interruptions.


Dehydration can cause a host of physical and mental issues that can contribute to mom burnout. Nip that in the bud by staying hydrated! 

No, a steady intake of coffee won’t help that. Focus on water, but remember there are lots of ways to make water more interesting. You can do flat or sparkling, add fruit or not, or even stock up on hydration powders that add flavor and electrolytes to keep you hydrated.

Take a walk in the fresh air.

Getting outdoors and changing your scenery can help clean up the mess in your head. Movement is good for everyone, so a walk is ideal. Run if you’re a runner. It doesn’t need to be a five mile hike, but it can be if that’s what helps YOU.

If health issues don’t allow much movement, get outside where you can observe nature and be still.

Best yet: you can take young kids outdoors with you so this is self-care you can do without a babysitter.

path in woods, with trees on either side.

Pray or meditate.

As a Christian, I know that time with God helps me find peace. Even if my circumstances don’t change, my perspective does. I find that writing my prayers in my journal keeps me focused, otherwise my mind wanders.

Meditating on Scripture and being reminded of the Truth usually helps, too. A deep dive into Psalms can remind you that you are never alone. Even a quick peek into The Bible Promises Book can be helpful.

Seek wise counsel.

Hopefully, you have a spouse, friends, and family members whose opinions you trust and who offer you emotional support. Reach out to them, even if it’s just to say, “Hey. I’m overwhelmed. Got any suggestions?”

Depending on the source of your overwhelm getting counsel on the topic can help.

  • You may not like what they say, and that’s okay.
  • They may not understand where you’re coming from, and that’s okay, too.

Being able to share your burdens and get perspective from others can help you know you’re not alone. They may be able to help, even indirectly by supporting you through a rough patch. Connecting is important even if it doesn’t solve the problem.

Serious overwhelm may be a signal to seek professional help, like a counselor or therapist, especially if postpartum depression may be at play. It may take some time to find a good fit, but it can be worth it. Post-pandemic, there are lots of options for virtual/online mental health therapy sessions — and almost all of us could use some help these days! 

Building a support group for yourself is vital! Even now as my kids are teen and beyond, I know that the counsel of my husband, friends, and therapist are invaluable to my emotional well-being. I find monthly vacation days perfect for this.

glass jug of water with limes, berries, and ice.


This is my standby process for finding a way through my overwhelmed mom days. In fact, most of my frustration often comes from when I have internal pressures or an unrealistic expectation of myself.

I know that I need to EADS on a regular basis: Eliminate, Automate, Delegate, and Systemate.

(I regularly work through this process. You can find an example of my EADSing my way through my own recent overwhelm here.)

In order to EADS, you’re going to need to know your base line. Go back to your brain dump. 

Have you included all the things that you think you should do on a give day or week? If not, jot those down. I know, it feels like a never-ending to-do list, but the best thing is to be aware of what’s on your list right now. Even if it’s subconscious, so get it out on paper where you can look at it objectively.

1. Eliminate. What can you eliminate from your list? Are there areas where your standards are higher than they absolutely have to be? Are there commitments you can pass on for this season? Are there things that really don’t have to get done right now? 

Are there things on your list that aren’t inline with your principles?

Consult your partner, spouse, or other adults at home or who know you well as you may be putting more on your plate than is necessary. They may see it more than you do.

If you’re an overwhelmed mom, this is a key time to practice the word, NO. You may very well need to stop doing too much.

journal open to a page with ideas for a better life.

2. Automate. What can you automate? The obvious things are grocery delivery and purchased or repeat meal plans (These crock-pot meal ideas are just the thing!), but there are some not-so-obvious things that technology can help you with. 

  • Consider setting up an auto-responder on your email so that you don’t feel pressure to reply right away. Likewise, set up filters for spam, promotional emails, and the like. The less you have to deal with, the better.
  • Let your calls go to voicemail. Screen them when you have time. The phone is for your convenience not that of others.
  • Set up automatic deliveries for things you know you will need.

In this step, you’re going to think about what you can put on auto-pilot. In some cases, it’s just a matter of reducing decision fatigue. “We will have tacos every Tuesday from here on out” is one way to automate something.

3. Delegate. What can you hand off to someone else? Can you hire a cleaner on a part-time basis to help you keep up with housekeeping? Can you ask your partner or a friend to pick up the groceries or run the errands?

How can you let others help you, paid or volunteer? What can you ask someone else to take care of for you? How can you get help with the household chores?

If you are an overwhelmed mom, I cannot stress this enough: You do not have to do it all!

4. Systemate. Think about the things left on your list. How can you make them easier? Streamlined? How can you adjust your standards to be “good enough” for this season of life?

There are so many things you can systemate. Do a google search for something on your list that you need a solution to. You may find that someone has already figured that thing out! There are so many clean home hacks or tips for saving time for both working and stay-at-home moms.

I find that between my journal and my planner, I can make sense of things jumbled in my head and mark my path forward. That’s usually my starting point for the brain dump, etc. I then use my Post-It Note To-Do System to start plugging away at the things that need attention. That system works for me, but you may find a different way through.

Start Small, but Be Sure to Start

You don’t have to have it all figured out today. You don’t have to be the perfect mother. But, making progress forward, however small, will get you moving in the right direction. You don’t have to live with the overwhelm. 

flowers in a vase with a white wall behind.

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