We are all familiar with the experience of feeling stressed out and stretched beyond what we feel capable of handling. In these instances, many of us turn to our friends or close family for connection, assurance, and a place to release and vent our frustrations or worries.
These trusted relationships play a crucial role in our lives, especially when we are dealing with stress. The truth is- we need each other. When a mom friend comes to you stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated, what are some helpful ways to respond and what is less than helpful to say?
What Not To Say To Stressed Moms
“Oh, if you’re stressed now, just wait.”
Even said in good humor, this type of response will feel less than helpful to a mom who is struggling in the day to day, especially a mom of littles.
“I knew this would be too much for you. I tried to tell you.”
While you might feel like you have the right to claim “I told you so,” responding in this manner to anyone can cause more barriers and added stress, especially when a friend has reached out to confide in you.
We need to understand that in times of stress, criticism is not helpful, even when meant well. It is best to stick with positive replies.
Instead, Focus On Helpful Responses
“I am here for you” & “You got this.”
Perhaps most importantly, a stressed-out mom needs to know she is not alone and that someone is there for her, even if it’s just to hear her struggles. You can express your support through a phone call, email, text message or even through a note of encouragement sent in the mail or flowers delivered to brighten her day.
“I have some free time, can I bring dinner over tonight and hang out?” or “Let’s meet up.”
Mom needs a connection through interaction with those who care about her. Whether its “let’s go get coffee”, “let’s plan to go on a walk” or “let’s meet up at such and such event” an invitation to step out of her stress and spend quality time with you shows her you care, as well as gives her something to look forward to.
“Could I take the kids off your hands for an hour or two?” or “how can I help you take care of YOU”
If you have a close relationship and feel comfortable doing so, volunteering to help with her children if need be so she can take an hour to recharge can make a tremendous impact on her stress level. Even offering to come for a visit or inviting her over can be truly meaningful. Being surrounded with a friendly face and new scenery might help her to take a breath and bring a sense of renewal.
Gently remind her to do the things she enjoys to recharge and ask how you can help make that happen for her. Whether its exercising, journaling, reading or another hobby, taking time to nurture other interests in her life can help her to clear her head so that the weight of her emotions can subside.
The reality is that while the role of motherhood is fantastic and beautiful, it can also be challenging and carry its share of hard days. As with any stressful situation, it is better to get through it with a sound support system that is there for you.