9 Coping Skills for Stressed-Out Moms :: VIDEO Discussion


Disclaimer :: This article contains sponsored content provided by The Women’s Center to offer coping skills to mothers.

The Women's Center logo.As women, we often put high expectations on ourselves and seek to attain unrealistic levels of perfection. Many mothers feel pressure from outside sources to be perfect, which can sometimes lead to guilt and shame when you feel like you don’t measure up. And, the “picture perfect” façade that others show on social media can cause those who are struggling to suffer in silence. These expectations can be detrimental to our mental health and lead to increased levels of stress, especially for women with a history of trauma. 

According to an APA 2010 survey, women are more likely to report physical and emotional symptoms of stress than men, such as headaches (41 percent versus 30 percent), upset stomach or indigestion (32 percent versus 21 percent), or eating to manage stress (31 percent versus 21 percent) within the past month.

Women of color or those from marginalized communities may have additional issues that affect their ability to cope in healthy ways — poverty; limited access to resources; and the effects of intergenerational trauma, transgenerational trauma, historical trauma, and systemic racism.

The Women’s Center of Tarrant County works daily to empower women to overcome violence, crisis and poverty, all of which can cause increased levels of stress in moms.

“Trauma or mental health issues combined with the daily stressors of parenting can complicate each other. When we layer issues such as abuse, grief, past relationships, and career issues with raising children and managing a household, we create a perfect storm for stress. Add this to the lingering effects from the pandemic, and we create an environment where extra patience and tolerance with self is critical. It’s important to build resiliency within yourself, which is wonderful to demonstrate in front of our children,” said Deborah Caddy, director of rape crisis and victim services. “It’s important to show our children that life is not perfect, but it’s how we cope with that imperfection that makes a difference. When you demonstrate that to them, you’re teaching them resilience.”

Women’s Center therapists Sandy Parker, Deborah Shields, and LaTasha Burnett and assistant director of employment solutions Michelle Robinson share tips for helping moms cope in healthy ways and embrace healing:

1. Practice Co-Regulation

Co-regulation is when you and your child learn to regulate your emotions to help de-escalate stressful situations. There are several coping skills you can use, such as sitting together with soft eye contact, possibly with some safe physical contact—holding the child, holding hands, sitting in lap—and taking deep breaths together. Try relaxing activities like blowing bubbles or putting hands on your heart and belly while breathing. Other activities that can help bring calm when emotions are running high include taking a five-minute coloring break, going on a walk together, or dancing it out to a favorite song.

2. Acknowledge Trauma and Triggers

If you are a mom who has experienced trauma, acknowledge your own trauma history and current triggers.

“If mom has her own trauma history, it becomes exponentially more difficult to help a child through trauma. Much like the airplane analogy of putting on your own air mask first SO THAT you can help someone else with theirs. A mom may need help in learning to regulate herself so she can help her child regulate,” said rape crisis and victim services therapist Deborah Shields.

Consider getting professional help to learn coping skills that allow you to be a more emotionally healthy parent.

A schedule and calendar on an iPad.3. Simplify Your Schedule

Pare down your schedule and remind yourself you don’t have to participate in every activity. Release the expectations you put on yourself or others put on you to be the “perfect” parent. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s also okay to find ways of managing your household that work for you.

4. Put Together a Personal “Treasure Chest”

Your “treasure chest” of strategies can help you regulate your emotions when you’re stressed — such as writing/journaling, cooking, cleaning, gardening, art, reading, talking with friends, plenty of good sleep, hobbies, volunteering, music, learning a new skills, dancing, and prayer/meditation.

5. Validate Your Own Feelings

Remind yourself that all of your feelings are okay — that none are “good or bad.” They are simply reactions and responses to situations in your life. Expressing them in a healthy way isn’t a sign of weakness but of bravery and courage. Holding them inside is toxic, because they build up and can explode out later, possibly damaging relationships.

6. Seek Help

Ask for help when you need it. Though it takes courage, reach out to others and express your need, whether that’s for physical or emotional support.

7. Practice Self-Compassion

Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. A good coping skill is to actively acknowledge that you are doing your best. Remind yourself multiple times throughout the day.

8. Distill the Problem

Zero in on what is really bothering you in that moment and deal with it. Trying to address everything in one moment can be overwhelming and stressful. Take things one-day-at-a-time.

9. Be Positive

Another coping skill is to replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Instead of saying, “I am such a horrible mom!” try saying, “I am doing to the best I can and am working every day to be better.” Or, “I am growing and learning daily.”

If you are struggling to develop healthy coping skills, The Women’s Center offers a weekly Women’s Support Group. If you have been a victim of violence, its rape crisis and victim services program offers comprehensive services to help you heal from trauma. Finally, its employment solutions program is available to parents who are unemployed or underemployed, helping them become financially stable. For more information, please call 817-927-4040.

Watch this super helpful panel discussion with Emily Youree, Fort Worth Moms CEO, and several members of The Women’s Center staff:

The Women's Center logo.The Women’s Center’s mission is to help women, men, and children overcome violence, crisis, and poverty. It accomplishes that through four programs. The Rape Crisis and Victim Services Program helps support survivors of sexual violence. The Violence Prevention and Education Program teaches children and adults how to recognize, respond to, and report abuse. The Employment Solutions Program helps women and men find jobs or find better paying jobs. And the General Counseling Program provides counseling for mental health issues to adults and adolescents. Through its General Counseling Program it has a PEARLS Program, which helps older adults overcome isolation and depression. Follow The Women’s Center on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest information. 


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