I hear childcare providers and women, in general, talking about being overwhelmed a lot. We all feel it at times. A few steps will help you manage when you feel overwhelmed.
We are much more productive when we don’t let things overwhelm us right? Life is hard and has many times when it seems like there is more than we can handle.
How to Cope when you feel OVERWHELMED!
Say no to busyness:
Don’t just do things to be doing something. Streamline the process. You don’t have to attend every party or keep up with other people’s schedules and lives. You can take a few evenings a week to just chillax. It’s okay to not attend everything. This is a huge help in not getting overwhelmed.
Say no to things you don’t love doing:
If someone asks you for a favor or to fill in for them, don’t do it out of guilt. Do it because it’s something that brings joy or peace to you. If you’re scared to death to get up on stage and teach a class full of adults, but someone needs a fill-in teacher, it’s okay to say no, I won’t be able to help you this time.
Also, If you have a love for a certain age of kids, it’s okay not to take kids that are younger or older than that. If you feel overwhelmed by too many infants, it’s okay to say no to the second or third or fourth one or to not take infants at all.
I quit taking infants about 5 or 6 years ago and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. The second best thing was quit taking school agers. It’s just easier to have all the “Stuff” in your house for one age span instead of all of them. It’s also less confusion and less places to focus. I just love it and never regretted that decision.
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What brings you joy?
I want to grow food with my kids and I want them to be able to spend TIME in the garden actually doing hands-on participation. If I kept infants, I would not be able to do that. Even with one infant, it would make the activity 10 times harder. I need to have my hands free to help the kids and show them things, if my hands were full of infants, it would not be as fun for me. I LOVE babies, but I do not love them for 10 hours a day, 5 days a week.
If you hate staying open late for a parent but they want you to, DON’T! That parent may not be trying to make you miserable, but if you allow yourself to be taken advantage of, you’ll end up resenting it and not enjoying the rest of your job. Say NO to things you don’t want to do. No one is going to protect your time for you. You have to take care of you.
And one last thing, think about whether this commitment is going to take valuable time from your family that you don’t want to give. Make sure your priorities are in order and that pleasing people isn’t above time with your kids or spouse.
Overwhelmed by life
Everything you do doesn’t have to be some elaborate performance or shindig. You can throw parties for the kids by asking each family to bring a snack and serving that to the kids and singing songs. You don’t have to spend three days and $300 on decorations for the Valentine party and give out monogrammed build a bears to each child. Your kids would just as soon have a big hug from you as an expensive toy.
Make your activities and events as simple as possible. I make a gingerbread creation for all of my families to come to my house after daycare and decorate. I LOVE making it and I LOVE watching my parents, children, and their siblings get involved in being creative. In addition, I love all the different styles and ideas. I love having my parents getting to spend time getting to know each other.
Focus on the things that make you happy and bring you peace
If you don’t love that, DON’T DO IT! Don’t make yourself miserable doing something just because you think someone else wants you to. When we have the party, I make the creation and order pizza. The families bring decorations to add and money for the pizza and it’s as simple as I can make it.
Do you think if I dumped a carload of decorations all over my house for the party it would make people have more fun? I don’t. And I don’t enjoy going to all the effort to do that. I like making the gingerbread, so that’s what I do.
You don’t have to plan 800 activities a day for the kids. You can have one or two and give the kids time to play too. Try to make your life manageable for you. You will be so glad you did!
Learn to let things go:
If you forget something or something doesn’t work out, FAGET ABOUT IT! It’s not going to make or break your life. If we lose a sock or even a whole shoe around here, we are just thankful I know where all the kids are. The shoe will turn up.
It’s annoying, yes, but spending hours looking for it when we could be reading books or singing songs just isn’t worth it so I can look perfect. Someone will happen upon it tomorrow anyway. And we’ll think, how in the world did that get in THERE? Then we all laugh.
You are just one person, Mom, you can’t do everything. So stop trying. And stop beating yourself up about it too. Be as kind to yourself as you would a new born kitten. Talk to yourself the way you want your daughter to talk to herself. Kindly.
Take care of yourself
What can you do in the short term?
There are many ways we can make life simpler or easier for ourselves. What can you do right now that will make everything else easier? Is there a pile of laundry blocking a bunch of stuff you need to get to or preventing you from sitting down to rest? Put that laundry BACK in the dryer for goodness sake. Or take the 5 minutes it takes to fold it up and put it away. Do what you need to do to function at your best.
If you are always tired and miserable, take a look at your eating habits. Try adding some raw fruits and veggies into your diet. You’ll be amazed at how much more energy you’ll have. Especially if you cut back on white sugar. It’s in everything ya know. And it’s NOT good for YOU! Eat some leafy greens. They give you more energy and a big immunity boost to boot!
Divide and conquer
Make a list of events coming up.
Make a list of what you have to do for those events
Divide it up into immediate, soon, and later jobs
Take only one item from the list and just focus on that.
Plan plan plan. If you have to do a bunch of paperwork, it’s easier to just sit in front of your computer and knock a bunch of things out at once. You save time and those papers will be ready for each responsibility.
Take breaks. You can’t keep at it continuously because that leads to feeling overwhelmed. Make sure to take breaks to concentrate on your breathing and make sure you’re moving around and getting plenty of water.
Remember to take care of yourself to prevent getting overwhelmed
If you feel like your overwhelm is more than you can deal with, please make sure to reach out for help.
If you simplify and divide and conquer, you will be saving yourself a whole big lot of heartache and stress! You need to care for you or you will be no good to all the people you take care of. Appreciate yourself and the gifts you have and stop comparing yourself to other people.
Every childcare provider has different gifts to offer, every parent is unique, and every person was born to be good at certain things and not at others. It hurts my heart to hear people say they are not smart. If you are not good at school, that doesn’t mean you aren’t smart, it means you aren’t good at school.
Love what is special about YOU. You are AMAZING! You are full of gifts the world needs, so cultivate those gifts and love them. Be the best you. Let the self-doubt and negative self-talk go! You are awesome!
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