Has your role as a full-time snack provider, referee, chauffeur, and personal assistant to a small (and often loud) boss (or multiple bosses all with different agendas and KPIs) left you feeling like you’ve just come out of a Taylor Swift concert…minus the fun?
Replace her music with The Wiggles’ ‘mash potato’ on repeat, your name being squealed at full volume and you don’t get to go home to a quiet place to rest, this is your life most days.
Welcome to sensory overload!
Some days can feel harder than others, like when our small people are putting on their best impersonation of a fire alarm, and they’re seeking our attention in a hundred different touchy-feely ways.
And let’s not even mention the assortment of aromas, textures and visuals that come our way — yes, hunny, I do see the green thing you just wiped on the curtain, that’s nice.
At times, this sensory avalanche can have us fantasising about escaping to a silent, dimly-lit, sweet-smelling room where we can be for *just* a moment by ourselves.
And let me assure you, it’s not you, you’re not a bad mum, it’s nothing you did or didn’t do to get to this point! Sensory overload is REAL, and it affects almost all mothers at some stage on their parenting journey.
Many of us go through the rollercoaster of irritability, fatigue and mum-guilt, sometimes on a daily basis! We’ve all been there and found ourselves accidentally putting cereal in the fridge and the milk in the pantry. Feeling a little crazy as you get caught up in the chaos is a normal part of caring for small humans and it doesn’t say anything about your love for your child or your ability as a mother.
As a mum of 4 amazing and super energetic boys under 9, I’ve absolutely struggled with sensory overload to the point where I’ve had to turn my back on the noise and take a few minutes in the back paddock to blow off steam. I am also now the owner of Loop noise-reduction earplugs that I put in during the mornings or evenings when I am feeling triggered by noise.
I’ve also been fortunate enough to find the right kind of support and I’ve learnt some really simple strategies I swear by that can help to reduce the stimuli and in turn, reduce your reactions, helping you get back into the ‘greenzone’ quicker!
Give some of these tips a try and see how you go:
Create designated quiet spaces
Think of this as ‘mummy’s time out’ corner. It’s a spot where you can breathe, sip on some lukewarm coffee, and have a quick Zen moment. Just a heads up – you may need to lay down some ground rules. Like, “No, darling, mummy isn’t hiding any chocolates in her quiet space and we don’t play Lego here, I’ll be back in 2 minutes to play Lego with you.”
Turn the volume down
If you’re craving some peace and quiet, noise-cancelling headphones or noise reduction ear plugs can be a godsend. Alternatively, you can create a lull by playing some calming tunes. Yes, this might mean taking a break from ‘mash potato’ but see if you can get your kids to help you choose some music with you (pro tip: ask them to choose between 4 or 5 songs that you like).
Don’t forget to breathe
Your new mantra is: inhale the calm, exhale the chaos. Deep breathing isn’t just for yoga class, it’s a game-changer. It’s like a mini spa treatment for your mind. There are many simple breathing exercises you can do that bring you instantly back to centre. This is one of the most powerful tools available to us. It costs nothing and you can do it anywhere. In my Illuminate program, we focus on simple tools to help with nervous system regulation like breathwork, mindfulness practices and simple mediations.
Schedule the breaks
In the same way you’d schedule a doctor’s appointment (and stick to it) you can schedule in some ‘me time’. Believe me, taking those few moments to yourself each day can totally recharge your batteries for the next round of mind-bending ‘Why?’ questions from your curious toddler.
Rally your support crew
Whether it’s having a chat with a friend or joining a local mums’ group, connection is vital. Sometimes you just need to vent and have a laugh and other times, you need a safe, non judgemental place to cry.
Staying connected is especially important if you’re a single mum or live in an isolated rural location, maybe you’ve recently moved to a new state where you don’t know any other mums yet or you have a more introverted personality and find it harder to reach out and ask for help (this can be particularly hard when you’re sleep deprived and feeling overwhelmed with the day to day chaos of motherhood).
Having someone who understands or better still, a small community of mums who get what you’re going through, can make all the difference. This is the beauty of our intimate group inside the Illuminate program. You can book a zero pressure discovery call with me here to see if this is something that could help you. Let’s chat.
Less screen time, more green time
Let’s make a pact to cut down on those screens (and I’m talking about YOU + ME more than the kids!) As adults, we spend so much of our lives attached to our phones. We pay the bills, we receive communication from the school, we read work emails and connect with friends on text messages and social media — and that’s where we end up down the dreaded rabbit hole of doom scrolling funny cat videos gah!
I’m not sure what the experts would say but as a mum of 4 I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, even if you have to give your toddler an ipad for 15 minutes while you give yourself a break in the backyard with a cup of tea and the sun on your face, that’s a good thing. You’ll be back feeling recharged and ready to interact as a better mum.
In the middle of all the chaos, there’s always a silver lining: a warm hug, a scribbled drawing, or a sweet ‘I love you’. Cherishing these moments can make all the difference.
Mama, remember, feeling overwhelmed doesn’t make you any less of the fabulous mother you are. If anything, talking about it and seeking support just means you’re equipping yourself with more tools to thrive in motherhood.
I hope you found these tips useful. These are just some of the many strategies for thriving in motherhood inside my “Feel Good Formula” workbook, one of the beautiful bonuses you get when you join the Illuminate program.
So, which tip will you try out first? I’d love to hear what strategies work best for you, drop a comment and let me know!