10 Tips to Help Stressed Moms Chill Out

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We all have those days. Those days when your patience wears so thin you feel like your head is going to explode into a million pieces. 🤯

The baby had an explosion poo: crap up her back, on her legs, living room floor, and on your clean shirt, just as you are headed out the door to an important appointment.

You just swept the kitchen floor for the fourth time in two hours because your kids insist on throwing their just-prepared food on the floor instead of feeding their tummies.  

Your teen responds with a bad attitude when you try to engage in conversation about school, ask for help around the house, or breathe near him.

Some days, it’s not easy to stay calm and composed when you feel like everything around you, even your tatas, is headed south.

It’s everything from more intensive parenting styles, higher expectations for our kids’ success, relationship demands, lack of time and support, and financial woes.

You’re not alone.

Apparently, “70 percent of U.S. moms say mothering is “incredibly stressful.” 96 percent also feel that we are way more stressed than our own mothers were.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, mommin’ ain’t easy.

Here are 10 ways to keep your cool and prevent yourself from becoming an exploding head emoji. 🤯

mom holding baby

Count your breath

Counting your breath is the quickest ways to calm yourself down. Sit in the bathroom, closet, or wherever is a quiet spot in your home, and start counting your breaths. Each time you exhale, that’s “1.” When you get to “5,” start again from “1.” Breathing activates your parasympathetic system (the one responsible for relaxation) and helps your mind simmer down.

“Practicing a regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”
Andrew Weil, M.D.

Go for a walk outdoors

Walking activates nerve cells in your brain which help you relax. You see the trees, you get a little fresh air, and you see life hustling around you on a grand scale. When you’re angry and frustrated, sometimes seeing things on a grander scale helps to redirect your attention and adjust your perspective. Your kids will benefit from walking around too. If they fight it, just pop them in the stroller and they’ll whisk off to dreamland.  

Jump in the car and go somewhere

Sometimes you need to change up your view. Schedule a park playdate, visit a local walking path, or explore a free museum near you. I like to set two days out of the week to go to somewhere other than a stroller ride around our neighborhood – the zoo, museum, forest preserve, a kid’s amusement park, a new library a little out of the way. Libraries have some of the best free entertainment areas for kids and also host loads of kid-friendly activities.

Related: The Four Parenting Styles: Which Type Are You?

Dance around the house

Blaring your music and dancing around the house really allows you to blow off some steam and can truly help to elevate your mood. Nothing takes the edge off more than a little 90s hip-hop blaring through your living room speakers. A little House of Pain, Busta Rhymes, and Salt-N-Pepa is good for your soul. You can dust off those killer dance moves you learned back in the day from MTV’s The Grind. Plus, your kids will be thrilled to have the chance to jump around the house with you!

Give yourself a break

Studies show that when you’re nicer to yourself, you’re happier and less depressed. On those days, when you’re overwhelmed by your kids or work, do something nice for yourself. Eat some fro-yo, sign up with a friend for one of those paint and sip parties, read a book, chill out in your backyard with a glass of bubbly. Treat yo’self.

Create quick fixes for your “hot mess” times

Stress can build up for mamas at predictable times, such as in the morning before you have your liquid sanity. Your kid is asking where his shoes are, your toddler is crying for milk, and your husband is wondering where his keys are. Identify when you are most irritable, and find a quick fix to curb the chaos during that “hot” time. If mornings are stressful because your kid can’t figure out what to wear: lay clothes out the night before. If your husband is frantic because he can’t find the keys, make an extra set. And, even better, put that coffee machine on an automatic timer so you can navigate the morning chaos with a warm cup of caffeine.

Readjust your expectations

Most days we expect our toddlers and teens to act more mature beyond their years. While we get lucky some days with regards to our children’s moods and behaviors, it’s just not realistic to expect children to behave as our thirty-something old self with life experience would. We need to get better at managing our expectations. We are going to drive ourselves mad if we expect our toddler to always sit politely and quietly in their high chair when they eat their PBJ sandwich and that your teen will graciously accept all of your “take out the trash” requests.

Calm Mind quote

Talk it out

The sound of someone screaming. Ermagerd. I think it’s worse than nails on a chalkboard. Yelling just aggravates situations, it elevates your heart rate, and it causes more stress. Establish a talk-it-out rule. You and your family members make a pact to to use only calm speaking voices when talking to each other. No throwing hands in the air. No angry loud voices. Just calm, every day speaking voices. If you are still too heated to talk it out respectfully, then use step #1 or # 2 to help center yourself.

Related: 20 Ways to Help a New Mom

Write down something you’ve accomplished recently

Our daily stress tends to worsen when we have loads of items on our to-do list and we can’t get to them. You needed to run to the grocery store and library, but then your baby’s teething has her in an on and off again screaming fit, and you just don’t want to risk a public meltdown…so you add it to your to-do list to complete later in the week. When you feel overloaded with your to-dos, try and write down a few things you’ve recently done or accomplished. It helps you feel more productive, and it will help boost your confidence.

Go off the grid.

Put your phone down, step away from your computer, and unplug from the electronic world. Otherwise you risk frying your brain and burning out. If you’re feeling stressed or angry, surfing social media and jumping on the comparison train is not going to help you one bit. Try to be in the moment with your children or if you need an escape, pick up a book.

What helps you remain calm in the heat of the moment?

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Author: Brandi Wiatrak

Hey, Mama! I'm Violet's mom and Chris' step-mama, Brandi. This space is a peek into my cold-brew fueled life navigating motherhood and the world. With brutal honesty, humor, and sarcasm, I talk about the joys (and sucks) of parenting, ways to live a simple & sane life, and awesome adventures to embark on with your family. Come aboard my crazy train! Wine and Gerber Puffs included.

12 thoughts

  1. thehabibihouse says:

    I have had to jump in the car only a few times in my parenting years and trust me the kids were standing with their mouths gaped open. Lol everyone knows if mom leaves it’s bad.

  2. Yes, great information to remember for sure. Life can be stressful alone but as a mom it can take the stress to another level.

  3. So funny, I just wrote a post about keep your cool, but I focused on how to do it when your tween has a bad attitude. You have some great suggestions here!

  4. These are some great suggestions! I will definitely be putting into practice. Thanks for this great post.

  5. Amanda Powell says:

    Great tips. I try to walk away when I get super frustrated. Sometimes a few minutes apart does the trick for calm times.

  6. Counting my breath is HUGE! And sometimes just having to walk away! Oh, and changing my expectations! SO IMPORTANT!

  7. Great tips! My favorite – Give yourself a break. My kids are very familiar with the fact that sometimes Mommy needs a time-out, and they are not to bug me when I’m in time-out 😉

  8. I love these tips. Many of them I use myself with my kids who are both on the autism spectrum. Thanks for sharing!

  9. hleguilloux says:

    Such great options to take care of yourself as a mom. I also believe that being able to remind yourself that your well-being matters and giving yourself permission to take some time for yourself is an important step, too!

  10. I love this list. I need to save it for a later date. It is amazing how simply getting outside can calm you down.

    Thank you

  11. While I’m not a mother, a lot of family & friends are. I’ll share these fantastic tips with them. I know SO MANY great moms who get super stressed out. You all deserve a break, (and perhaps a medal, for being awesome).

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