5 Ways Being a Mom is Stressful

And what to do about it!

5 Ways Being a Mom is Stressful

*We’ve partnered with Rescue to help make your day as a mama a little less stressful.

I'm the first one to tell you that motherhood is HARD. I'm not shy when it comes to complaining about all the ways it's complicated and heartbreaking and exhausting.... but, I also recognize that I'm incredibly lucky. Knock on wood, I have healthy, happy kids, and all the ways that parenting is hard for me is so completely normal and expected, and that's a really good thing.

What's hardest for me is remembering all that in the moment -- when my toddler spills a container of markers on the floor and is starting to draw on the clean, white walls, or when the 5-year-old insists on another outfit change when we're already late to school. It's legit stressful! But that doesn't mean I can't find ways to take a step back and appreciate all the good that goes on, like when my older kid helps the little one reach something, and he says "thank you" back in that sweet baby voice. Sometimes, I just need a way to take myself out of it all for a moment, step back, and get some perspective.


1. Going grocery shopping.

Why it’s stressful: Before I had kids of my own, I remember seeing a mom in a supermarket on the Upper West Side, holding an infant, and staring at her 3 or 4 year old, saying, “What do you want for dinner tonight?” At the time, all of 22, I thought I knew everything, and I said to myself, “well, that’s a terrible way to meal-plan with a kid! Too many choices! Give them two choices!”

Now that I actually have children, I totally know what was probably going on there. I bet I missed the mom’s exhausted, sleep-deprived stare. I probably didn’t see the food-, spit-up-, and paint-stains on her shirt. I probably didn’t notice the hair that she really intended to wash all week, but never had time to. And I definitely didn’t see that the kid was driving her crazy!

Now I know that situation from the inside. Of course, it would be better to offer your little angel two healthy, nutritious meal options, but in reality, the little guy has probably rejected every good idea you’ve ever had, and your carpet, walls, and kitchen are covered in a thin film of discarded, organic crumbs of uneaten good intentions.

I admit, I have even found myself asking my kids, in desperation, “What will you actually eat for dinner? Just tell me. I’ll cook it.” I’m not proud of that. But it’s true. Of course, I try to avoid saying that in public, where judgmental 22-year-olds can hear.

What to do about it: When you’re trying to calm down in the grocery store, it’s all about what you put in your mouth. Because drinking hard liquor in the middle of the day is frowned upon, Rescue Remedy spray is the next best thing to help me take the stress level down a notch. It includes ingredients like Rock Rose, known to treat panic, as well as Impatiens, which helps with irritability. A few sprays What kids?

2. Functioning on a little less sleep.

Why it’s stressful: I used to be a champion sleeper! I could sleep through outside traffic noise that would wake the hearing-impaired. But as soon as we brought home our first baby, her little gasps and gurgles were enough to make me sit up, even as exhausted as I was. And, in my opinion, nothing makes stress feel magnified than trying to operate on 5 or 6 non-continuous hours of sleep. Sigh.

What to do about it: It’s important to find non-caffeine ways to stay awake and focused in the afternoons, so that you don’t end up wired when it’s finally bedtime. Nothing’s worse than finally having the opportunity to crawl into bed at the end of the day and not being able to sleep! Chewing gum can be a mama’s best friend and ensure you don’t fall asleep on the job. The act of chewing can be awakening, but Rescue Chewing gum has the added benefit of making you feel more calm and focused. Very important when trying to help a toddler put together a 35-piece puzzle for the 18th time that day.

3. There is just never enough time.

Why it’s stressful: Remind me again about that “free time” thing I’ve heard of… What is free time? Between work and parenting and family time and “having it all,” whatever that means, there’s not a lot of just-sitting-around-time. But you know what? I don’t actually miss that part all that much.

What to do about it: Maybe there’s not as much time to sleep in, or to go out, or to Netflix and Chill, but guess what? There’s also not as much time to worry about the small things that just don’t matter. Parenting will put your priorities in order, fast!

4. Vacation? Let’s call it a Family Trip.

Why it’s stressful: First, let’s establish that there is no such thing as “vacation” when you’re traveling with children -- unless you’re also traveling with a brigade of nannies, chefs, and drivers. But then, that also sounds like a lot to manage, no? Basically, when one becomes a parent, one must adjust his or her definitions of certain words. Like “freedom” or “relaxing.” But I digress. And the hardest part about vacation with kids might actually be the travel part. Air travel is its own special kind of punishment with small children, but trust me, you can get just as stressed in the car or train.

What to do about it: The best way to combat travel stress is to travel prepared. Stock up on some special travel toys that your kiddos have never seen before, and take an extra set of everything. Don’t underestimate the power of a few strategically timed treats, for your kid and for you! I keep Rescue Pastilles in my purse -- they taste like candy, but have the added benefit of making me feel a little less overwhelmed. Offer them around to fellow passengers, too! The less stressed out they are, the less they’ll hear your crying kids.

5. The way you miss them when they’re asleep.

Why it’s stressful: I can complain with the best of them, but the bottom line is that I love those kids with a ferocity I didn’t know existed. I miss them when they fall asleep and sneak into their room to listen to their slow, even breaths. I get just as sad as my kindergartener at school drop off. I wish I could bottle up that baby smell and keep it forever. I can’t believe how fast they grow.

What to do about it: Love them, kiss them, breathe them in. They’re actually the best stress a person can have.

Photography by Charlene Petitjean-Barkulis.

This post was sponsored by Rescue. Find a Rescue retailer here.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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