5 Empowering Choices for Overwhelmed Moms


Last month we explored the assumptions that contribute to moms becoming overwhelmed, stressed out, and drained. As a mom you respond to pressures and expectations by trying to meet everyone else’s needs. Meeting your own needs as a mom is often an after thought.

Most don’t recognize they are overwhelmed until they develop emotional, physical, and/or behavioral symptoms. When you become short fused, your stomach is in knots, or you are drinking more glasses of wine, these cues invite you to tune into yourself. And with greater awareness of what keeps you doing whats not working, new choices start to emerge.

In this way, overwhelmed feelings are a gift to invite you to slow down and tune in. But what if you could also stop yourself from becoming overwhelmed before the signals cue you to slow down? What would it take to retain some energy for yourself before you notice you are completely drained and need to let go of something?

An Invitation to Tune Into Yourself

Before I share how to get out of mom burnout, I want to first invite you to tune into your own wisdom. Each of you have personal wisdom, but it often gets clouded by assumptions and expectations. When you are busy and overwhelmed, you don’t realize you have more choices than you can currently see.

Pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and get ready to tune into yourself. Write down 1-3 things that would help you prevent becoming overwhelmed. Identify something you could do (or not do) instead of something you have to get someone else to do.

5 Empowering Choices to Prevent Becoming Overwhelmed

Now let’s explore 5 more choices we have forgotten we have as moms. These choices can be challenging when life is coming at you, but can help you navigate by considering yourself too.

Choice #1: Do Less Even if Others Don’t Do More – If your happiness is tied to getting others to do more so you can slow down, then you will be very frustrated. If you are over-doing it, then invite yourself to do less even though others don’t do more. Your happiness can be freed from what others do or don’t do. If you pick up one more dirty clothing item and become frustrated that you are doing it all, then don’t do it all. Learn to tolerate the undone in order to save your sanity. In doing so, you become more regulated by your own rhythms than your environment.

Choice #2: Decrease Digital Overload – We have so much coming at us in these digitally distracted times. Update the notifications feature on your phone, so you are only notified in the way that doesn’t overload and distract you during the day. Then identify when you will check and respond to messages and notifications, otherwise you will be at the mercy of others timetable.

Choice #3: Define What’s Best for You – Instead of only focusing on what others need, also ask yourself what you need. Many moms don’t consider their own needs until they are resentful and burned out. Stop, tune in, and reflect before you get to that point by considering what’s best for you along the way. Be careful not to compare yourself to your social circle or Facebook network, since that isn’t truly knowing yourself. Trust that you know what’s best for you.

Choice #4: Reserve Open Time in Your Calendar Instead of Filling Up- Set realistic daily goals by keeping open space on your calendar. Just because there’s an open spot on your calendar, doesn’t mean you have to fill it. Stop before saying yes and reflect on the cost and benefit to you in adding one more thing to your calendar. Ultimately, how much energy do you want to give to others and how much do you want to reserve for yourself? If you don’t stop and reflect, you may easily give away any free time in order to get others approval or acceptance.

Choice #5: Let Others Experience Discomfort – It’s hard to sit next to others we care about who are struggling and not be tempted to make it all better. But growth doesn’t come without some pain and discomfort. You will be able to be more present emotionally for your loved ones when they are struggling, if you aren’t adding to your workload of being responsible for one more thing. Let your loved one solve their problem while also caring for them as a person.

I know we want the best for ourselves, our children, and our friends and family. And I also know that you want to be less stressed, resentful and irritable when you are with your family. So it’s time to make some empowering choices that can be both better for you and your loved ones.

Lastly, stop criticizing yourself for being irritable, resentful, or withdrawn. Instead of beating yourself up for having these symptoms, listen to the message they are delivering. Tune into yourself and develop a respect for yourself and your own needs, just as much as you care about others.

Please share in the comments what you wrote down that will help you prevent burnout. Or share which of the 5 choices you want to work on over the next week.


I love working with moms from all seasons of life! If you tired of being overwhelmed and want to feel less stressed out, set aside an hour to devote to self-care and consult with Marci at her office. Or Missouri residents can also consult with her online via Talkspace.


5 Myths Overwhelmed Moms Believe


Being a mom has its exciting and tender moments. But it can also be stressful and frustrating, especially in today’s busy, fast-paced, indulging culture. We care so much for our children, and want the best for them. But we can lose sleep over them, because we want everything to be just right for them the next day.

When we over-give of ourselves, we can become drained and begin easily yelling at our children for the little things. To cope with feeling overwhelmed and irritable, many moms are turning to prescription stimulants or alcohol to get through the day.

In an age where we are trying to do more for our kids than ever, it can be hard to realize we have choices. It’s no wonder the movie Bad Moms has been such a hit. Moms are tired and want permission to slow down, breathe, and do less.

So I’m here to help lend a hand. I want to invite you to tune into what’s driving you to be overwhelmed when it comes to being a parent. I realize my invitation is being delivered in a crowded sea of Pinterest inspired ideas to be the perfect, creative, organized mom. But in this moment, I want you to reflect instead on what’s best for you.

Identify Mindset that Drives You to Be an Overwhelmed Mom

Let’s first take a look at the myths overwhelmed moms typically believe. Before you can see your choices, you need to be aware of what’s behind your frenzied pace, mom meltdowns, or sleepless nights. Read through these myths and note which ones you relate to the most:

Myth #1: “I can do more if I speed up.” To get more done, I need to schedule more things into my day and on my to do list. I almost always feel hurried to get somewhere or get something done at a certain time. When I hurry myself, I am more forgetful, less present, and more irritated.

Myth #2: “I must protect my loved ones from rejection and unhappiness.” Moms that believe this myth believe their primary role is to raise kids that are happy and well-liked. Its hard to see my kids upset, so I usually let them have what they want even if I said no the first time. I don’t think my kids can handle rejection, so I try to talk to mediate their social problems at school. I give my kids advice often, because I don’t think they know how to solve their own problems.

Myth #3: “No one else will do it (or do it right).” I can’t stand the way my kids or spouse clean up, so I need to do it myself. If I don’t do everything around the house, then no one else will do it. I wish I could do less, but it’s so hard for me to leave things undone.

Myth #4: “If I meet my families needs, they will meet mine.” If I invest in others, they will invest in me. I don’t need to carve out time for myself, because I’m waiting on others to tell me it’s ok to slow down and do less. If I make them happy, they will make me happy. I don’t know how to make myself happy without their actions.

Myth #5: “I must always be prepared for every possible outcome.” Moms that believe this myth are always prepared and a step ahead. As a mom, we need to possess super-human ability to take care of others. We must know what others need even when they don’t know themselves. We must have everything ready for them to be successful. We must protect them from failure, as others can’t handle learning from their own mistakes.

Increase Awareness on What Drives You to Drain Yourself

Awareness can be uncomfortable, but it is the first step toward change. Doing so takes courage, so thank yourself for taking the time to answer these questions. Which myth are you believing that creates more fuel to hurry up, over-give, and drain yourself empty?

I struggle with Myth #5 the most. The idea that I don’t have to be prepared for everything and that my kids can prepare themselves is something I’m still working on. Problems can go unsolved. My kids can experience their own consequences for being unprepared, learn from them, and be ok.

When you stop doing it all, your kids or family may blame you. They don’t want you to change. But that doesn’t mean you don’t still have a choice and an invitation to slow down, reflect and choose differently next time.

Christine Arylo in her podcast on the “Super Power of Slowing Down” invites all women to complete this sentence: “If I slow down, I fear ________________.” How do you complete this sentence?

Share your answers to these reflections in the comment section, so other moms know they aren’t alone. And stay tuned for Part 2 in the “Overwhelmed Mom” series. We will explore how to make “Empowering Choices” as  a mom in a world that doesn’t make it easy to slow down and tune into what you need.

I love working with moms from all seasons of life! If you tired of being overwhelmed and want to feel less stressed out, set aside an hour to devote to self-care and consult with Marci at her office. Or Missouri residents can also consult with her online via Talkspace.


Married and Lonely: Being Emotionally Intimate


Last week we explored what contributes to emotional distance and how to address your own distance to be less lonely in your marriage. Most of you will naturally be more open, positive, and playful with your spouse when you address your own distancing mindsets and behaviors. But others of you will need some help taking down the walls you’ve built up and moving toward your spouse.

Let’s start with an example: You are feeling lonely, so you nudge your spouse: “I wish you listened to me like my friends do. It’s so hard for me to talk to you.”

Spouse responds with, “What are you talking about? I’m listening now.”

“When you stare at me with that blank face, I think you don’t care at all about what I have to say.”

Spouse reacts with, “That’s insulting. Of course I care about you.” Then your spouse storms out of the room.

Has this ever happened in your relationship? You give subtle nudges for more attention and approval. Yet when you try to get closer to your spouse, you end up co-creating more emotional distance!

That’s because our mate’s can sense when we are emotionally pulling and pushing on them, even if it’s subtle. And when we feel pressured or pursued, a natural reaction is to withdraw, shut down, or defend. Thus trying to pull your mate closer can actually bring more distance.

The key to increasing emotional intimacy is to be more intimate yourself, instead of trying to get your spouse to be more intimate first.  We are naturally competitive beings and tend to look for ways to shape up others to meet our needs. Learning to first look at how we are contributing to the things we are upset about will take practice and repetition.

Define Emotional Intimacy

First, let’s define what emotional intimacy means and looks like. Dr. Dan Papero, family therapist and international speaker, said it best when he defined intimacy as:

“…the ability to have a relationship with another human being in which I can be myself. And you can listen without correcting me or backing away. You can stay connected to me, and I can do the same for you.” ~ Dr. Papero, Divorce Video

In this definition, emotional intimacy comes from seeing your spouse as separate from you emotionally while maintaining good personal contact. Emotional intimacy isn’t merely expressing every thought and emotion you have, it’s getting calm enough to keep learning about each other. Often we listen to our assumptions, expectations, and hurt feelings more than keeping ourselves open to learning about each other.

It’s very hard to be open and listen if you are protecting yourself from hurt or assuming harm. On the other hand, when you feel less emotionally responsible or threatened by your spouse’s reactions and emotions, than you can be more open and emotionally available with your spouse.

Openness can be playful, light and easy going or it can be serious, curious, and interested in your spouse. We are open when we are calm and not reacting as if there is a threat. This openness comes and goes, and it can be hard to see our part in the times we feel less open.

3 Steps to Being Emotionally Intimate

Let’s break down how to feel closer without trying to pull your spouse closer, so you can find the choices you never knew you had.

1. Observe & Identify Your Own Distance: 

Instead of blaming your spouse, observe your own emotional distance. Observe what makes you switch from playful and open to closed off and distant. And identify how you switch back to being open again.

I know many of you are tempted to blame your spouse in this step. While your spouse plays a part, it’s important to not get sidetracked and convinced your reaction is completely your spouse’s fault. Read “Married and Lonely: Addressing Emotional Distance” for descriptions of behaviors, mindsets, and triggers to help increase your self-awareness of the part you play.

2. View Your Spouse as Separate Than You:

If you think you spouse’s behavior is a reflection of how he or she feel about you, then you will start getting critical and increase your emotional distance. Instead of assuming your spouse is avoiding you, find a more objective way to think about his or her actions.

For instance, if your spouse is being quiet when you talk, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you. He may be concentrating hard, preoccupied with his own stress, or nervous about how to respond. When you think of your spouse as emotionally separate than you, then his or her behavior doesn’t define your self-worth. In this way, you don’t need to protect yourself and are more open to learning about your spouse.

3. Move Toward Your Spouse:

Most people will ebb and flow between how much time you want to spend with yourself and how much time you want in solitude. If you are wanting to be closer to your spouse, then move toward your spouse. Reach out without pressuring your mate to respond.

Join them in their activity or join them in the same room with your own activity/task. Instead of waiting on your spouse to move toward you, move toward him or her. And definitely move toward your spouse instead of complaining about what your spouse doesn’t do anymore.

How can you be more emotionally intimate with your spouse?


To work on your own emotional intimacy in your marriage, individuals and married couples can schedule a counseling appointment with Marci, or Missouri residents can also consult with her online via Talkspace.

Photo Credit: “Love is being stupid together” by Nattu