How often do you feel overwhelmed, overstimulated, and can’t shut of the noise (physical or mental)? Multiple times per day? Not often?
What if I told you it is not your kids causing the overstimulation. That’s actually not possible. A person cannot make you feel a certain way because the cool thing about our feelings, is that we are in control of them. Think about it, if I could make you feel a certain way, then I’d be able to tell you to be happy, and you’d be happy. People don’t make you feel a certain way, you do.
So then where does this overwhelm and overstimulation come from. I guess for everyone it is a little different but what I’ve learned is that mine is triggered by one handy little device.
I learned this the hard way. I was the mom experiencing the rage and intrusive thoughts. The thought of being touched made me cringe. The noises of the toys and the mess of things was a trigger. My brain was running a mile a minute and I was on the verge of a breakdown. I knew something needed to change but I wasn’t sure what it was.
I was trying to nurse both the boys at the same time, while scrolling Instagram. I literally felt like my body was about to jump out of me and run through the front door. I knew that wasn’t an option so I threw my phone onto the couch and looked at the sweet moment that was happening.
My 6 month old and my 2 year old were both nursing while holding onto one another. All three of us were in a heap of love, fueling each other through the beautiful connection of breastfeeding. And I almost missed out on that because I was too busy looking at someone else’s life.
From that point forward, I made it a goal to be more present in my own life.
Like most moms, I have enough on my plate. The to-do lists, the errands, the cooking and cleaning, the doctor appointments, the chauffeuring, the cries, the hands pulling on your legs, the noisy toys, all of it. But it doesn’t overwhelm me like it did a couple months ago.
What did I change?
I put my phone out of site, usually on the kitchen counter.
I’ve shut off all social media notifications.
I log on to social media with intention rather than for entertainment.
I wait until naps or after bedtime.
The only notifications I get are phone calls and text messages.
It has been a game changer!
What has changed?
I don’t mind the toys spread around the room.
The noise is easier to tolerate.
I haven’t felt “touched out”.
I’ve watched my boys learn new things, laugh, bond, and wrestle.
Life at home is much more calm.
The tasks I need to accomplish don’t seem so overwhelming.
I’m not missing out on anything.
I’m experiencing more.
I’m present in my own life, rather than in someone else’s life.
I’m finding joy in the little giggles, smiles, touch, and even tantrums.
Because every moment is an opportunity to learn and grow WITH my kids. We are in this together. With less distraction, I can get through the tough moments with much more love and grace.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated, I encourage you to try this. I promise you will gain so much more than you lose. Pick a place to put your phone as soon as you get home from work.
Continue to take the photos but wait to post until later. There is no need to do everything in real time. Here are some of the moments I’ve captured because I’ve been less distracted and had more mental capacity to do things like make sourdough again, or get the paints out for Cyrus, or take a long walk in the sunshine.