(from a postpartum mental health therapist)
Let’s just address the facts of life. Parenting and motherhood is loud, messy, and overwhelming. It is wildly common to identify as an overstimulated mom by all the noise and all the touching. I am sharing today on 5 simple tips to help you manage the overload of motherhood.
1. Address the Noise Over Load (thanks kids)
Whether it be kids plays, wrestling, giggling or, arguing or TVs blaring. There is just a lot of noise when it comes to existing in motherhood. If you struggling with a sensory processing disorder, or perhaps have ADHD, ADD, or identify as neuro divergent in anyway, this can be a huge barrier to enjoying parenting. But also just being an overstimulated mom can impact your ability to enjoy parenting also. Let’s be honest, telling the kids to be quiet, isn’t realistic. We want our kids to play and have fun! Simple adjustments like utilizing ear plugs can really help manage the overall volume level your brain is processing without entirely blocking out all noise, got to stay safe.
2. Boundaries and Control if you are feeling Over Touched
Feeling over touched is so common in the newborn, infant, and toddler stages. Constant infant feeding, fussy babies, and clingy toddlers can really lead to feeling as though your body no longer belongs to you. As a therapist I often see families brush this topic off as something they just have to “deal with” or “suffer through”, when in reality feeling over touched can have a big impact on your mental health and relationships. Focus on setting boundaries around moments when you don’t want to be touched (meal time is a great place to start). If you and your partner are going to be intimate, the touch needs to be initiated by the partner struggling with feeling over touched. Increased self care that included physical care for your body can also be helpful ( self massage, long showers, self love). It is important to point out that breastfeeding and co sleeping are huge contributors of feeling over touched. If these above strategies don’t help, it maybe time to evaluate if these practices are best serving your family in this season.
3. A Sacred Space from the Mess
If mess is a trigger to you, join overstimulated mom club. Mess is often hard to cope with because it serves as a visual “to do list” as well as a visual overstimulation. Finding one space to keep clean in your home, and then using that space as a refuge is a great tool to ensuring you have an “escape” during your day. Covering a mess with a bed sheet can also be a nice trick to calm your mind without forcing you to clean constantly.
4. Sit Down, (be humble)
Okay, so you don’t have to be humble… but you should totally try sitting down. Often mess and noise is so triggering that it actually activates our fight or flight trauma response system. Sitting down is a simple act that will calm your nervous system. We forget that it takes energy to stand, so sitting can help clear up some space in your overwhelmed brain. If you can sit with your back against the wall, you get bonus points. This will block stimuli from behind you, leaving you feeling less overwhelmed as you just have to deal with what is in front of you.
5. Most Important for an Overstimulated Mom- Radical Self Forgiveness
It can be easy to feel as though you are failing at parenting if you are feeling overwhelmed. Remember that this is a normal reaction! If you grew up in a home where noise and mess were met with conflict, everyday chaos can be even more challenging. If you are neuro divergent, you physiologically process stimuli differently. It has nothing to do with your abilities to parent. Meeting yourself is radical self forgiveness is vital to finding solutions to help manage.
If you are struggling with sensory overload in parenting and would like additional support, schedule a complementary consult with Ashley, Postpartum Therapist today.