Reduce Mom Overwhelm With a Brain Dump

Forgetfulness. Scatter brain. Squirrel syndrome. Mom brain. If you’ve never strode into a room with confidence, only to realize that you can’t remember why you walked into that room, are you even a mom?

Mom overwhelm is real and it often looks like being a space cadet. If you happen to be an introverted, highly sensitive, homeschooling, creative mom of three? Watch. Out.

Why is motherhood so stressful?

The obvious answer is that you are responsible for the life of another human being. And that tiny human can’t do a thing for his or her self. Perhaps there are a multitude of tiny humans in your care. Plus there’s you, because you count, too. And your hubby, because of course he has needs.

And the house. And the housework, the chores, the homeschooling, egg collecting, pick up your shoes before someone trips and falls down the stairs again-ing. The appointments, the recitals, the play dates and the church events, and the co-op shenanigans. And the meal planning. Don’t even get me started on the meal planning.

There’s so much to think about at once. Constantly. Always and forever until you die, amen.

15 give away signs of being a mom on the verge of burnout:

  1. You yell at your kids yelling.

When I’m feeling like I’m at the end of myself, a spastic toddler turns me into a spastic toddler mom.

2. You feel paralyzed.

You have so much to do so you do nothing at all. Seems legit.

3. Your days blur together.

Monday could be Wednesday could be Friday. Who knows? What does it even matter?

4. You nag and fuss at your spouse.

Some people are born naggers (I’m not one of those people *cough cough*), but if you find that your spouse can do nothing right, maybe it’s not them.

5. You feel like you’re chronically working from a deficit.

Like, you wake up behind. Before your feet even hit the floor, you are (or you feel like you are) failing. On the losing side. Climbing out of a pit of quicksand and gaining no ground.

6. You dread the thought of leaving your house.

If you leave you’ll have to get everyone dressed and ready and pack a bag and maybe a lunch and definitely twenty five snacks and… oh we just may as well stay home.

7. You fantasize about leaving your home… a lot.

Of course, in your fantasies, you have no kids. No bags. And only one very decadent snack for yourself.

8. You feel guilty all day every day.

If there’s no real reason to feel guilty, you will victimize your children in your mind to create a reason to feel guilty.

9. Every time you cross a task off of your to-do list, you add three more.

One step forward, two steps back.

10. You talk to yourself in shoulds.

I addressed this in this post, but shoulds are nobody’s friend. These come out because you feel like you’re not doing enough, being enough.

11. You watch too much tv.

When we don’t know what to do, and we have no desire to do it, we will find ways to occupy our minds and “not think” for awhile. At the end of a long day to decompress? Fine. For hours on end to pass the afternoon by? Maybe not fine.

12. You can’t wait to go to sleep but also don’t want the next day to begin too quickly.

I like sleepy time just as much as the next person. But if you prefer your kids to be sleeping, you might be overwhelmed by mom stuff.

13. You forget things easily and consistently.

Mom brain is real. Mom brain on overwhelm is real disruptive.

14. You’re always late and always apologizing.

If you are in a constant hurry every where you go, everything you do, you might have too much on your plate.

15. You lost interest in the things that used to matter to you.

I’m not talking the Jesus came in and changed your heart sort of interest losing, I’m talking you used to love to put outfits together and now leave the house in your pajamas most of the time, interest losing.

We don’t have to live in a state of hurried, frazzled, overwhelmed craziness.

Related: 15 Habits of Happy Stay At Home Moms

I don’t want to over simplify the very real, potentially suffocating effects of being stressed out as a mom. In some instances, there is no quick-fix-daily-habit that will pull you out of the spinning whirlwind that is your brain. Sometimes you need to seek professional help, and I’m a huge advocate for therapy.

(Maybe mostly because it means you have scheduled-in adult conversation, and as a stay at home mom, that sounds pretty luxurious to me.)

Still, other times that overwhelmed mom feeling can be attributed to the wide variety of things you are in charge of and responsible for, and the never ending list of tasks that accompanies each area of responsibility.

I mean, you don’t often see doctors also cleaning the bathrooms and checking patients into the hospital and cooking their meals for them. Most jobs come with one key area of focus.

But if you’re a mom? No such luck.

The one simple step you can take to reduce the overwhelm and help clear the clutter in your mama mind:

Brain dump.

It is exactly as glamourous as it sounds. Dump all of your brain spinning, mind cluttering, spirit crushing thoughts onto a piece of paper.

Then burn it, forget about it, and hop on the next flight to the Bahamas.

Or… maybe not. Darn.

What is brain dumping?

Okay. So, you have some paper, or a journal, and a favorite pen- these are my favorite– and you literally just write all of the things.

Don’t try to write them in any organized fashion.

Don’t worry about making it pretty or tidy.

Don’t judge what you write down.

Literally just write. Every thought, idea, scenario that pops into your head gets recorded on the paper in front of you.

That is brain dumping.

Check out this post for a more in depth example of brain dumping and how it can help with overwhelm!

Feeling overwhelmed can often be attributed to having a barrage of demands placed on you that you can’t keep up with. But it’s certainly not always just the “what’s” of your life. It can also be the “how’s” and the “when’s” and the “I can’t even think of how’s or when’s because it’s too loud in this house to think’s.”

Brain dumping is just the action of getting every random thought that’s floating around in your brain, taking up space and depleting your energy every time it pops up, onto paper so that you no longer have to think about it.

What makes this effective?

The thing to remember with the brain purge is this: don’t try to be cutesy, organized, or orderly. It is literally just taking the thought and moving it out of your head and onto a list of sorts.

After you do that, then you get to look at that list and intentionally and purposefully decide what stays and what goes. What is real and what isn’t. What is helpful and what needs to be discarded. What is important, priority, or urgent, and what is that extra thing that can be dropped and forgotten.

The beauty of it is the sense of relief that you get from knowing that it’s recorded somewhere.

Sometimes, you need a whole lot more than a good brain dump sesh to reduce that overwhelm in your life… but I wouldn’t discount it before you try it.

And, it’s even good practice to keep a little notepad by your bed so that when you’re tossing and turning and thinking all of the thinks you can think instead of sleeping, you can do a quick brain dump and rest assured that you’ll handle it in the morning.

As the lovely Scarlett O’Hara often said:

I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With The Wind

Mama, feeling overwhelmed is common but it doesn’t have to be your normal.

At the end of the day, there is only One who can shoulder the weight of the world, and it’s not you and it’s not me. Do what you can do and then give the rest to the One who can do it all…

What is the one thing you’ve found that helps reduce your overwhelm?


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