Thursday, October 25, 2012

REAL ~ Managing Stress During Pregnancy

I know many of my posts sound like I don't struggle much but I want this post to be real. I have struggled greatly with stress and exhaustion during this pregnancy. I have been thinking, reading and talking to Daniel and praying a lot lately about how I can better manage this. I know that taking care of my spiritual life is a large part of managing stress. However, it seems this pregnancy that  I have become more and more stressed. Somedays, I am in tears and I don't know why. What am I stressing about?  I don't really know...I guess the fact that I am physically unable to keep up with the workload involved in caring for 4  children right now and all the stairs in our house are really wearing me out toting around an 30 extra lbs!  I also think ahead about my ability to  handle 5 children under the age of 8 while spending several hrs a day nursing our new baby and trying to give 3 of our elementary aged children a good education on top of my husband working a full-time job and trying to manage a business on many nights and weekends. We are also trying so hard not to eat out in an effort to save money that cooking and cleaning up the kitchen is something that has to be done 3 times a day at our house. Living on 1 income and homeschooling means that I usually can't afford house cleaning or babysitters so I struggle/stress greatly about keeping up with the laundry and weekly cleaning responsibilities as well. I do get the kids to help but we all know what kind of help kids under 8 are!  They can do a lot but you have to stay right on top of them! On top of that, I love my kids and want them to enjoy good friendships. I like to invite their friends over or throw birthday parties for them knowing that I can't really handle it.  I have read articles about how to relieve stress naturally. I try to go outside and just breath deeply but honestly if I go behind the house, the noise of I-81 gives me a headache and our tiny little front yard has no room to play with the kids and puts us on display for all our nosy neighbors during the week. Last summer I relieved stress by taking the children out to the country or on hikes but honestly, this summer I have not had the energy or gas $ to take all the children out and pack picnics much so we end up feeling stuck at home, in the house and on top of eachother with the noise level so high that sometimes I feel that my head is going to explode. This may sound selfish, but sometimes I dream of sitting down at lunchtime, making myself a sandwich and eating it uninterrupted. If you know of any idea's that could help me better manage stress. Bring them on! Don't tell me to relax and let the house go to pot, I have tried that, I can't do it! I don't have to have a perfect house but I like structure and order and a house that is out of control can quickly make me miserable and more stressed. So how do I do it? How do I live out the life I know that God has called me to? I am on a journey to find out and I know that He loves me more than I can fathom and has plans to prosper me! All I can do right now is to keep my eye's fixed on Him and the rewards that will come from training up all these children in the way they should go!

Here are some practical ways that Daniel helped me come up with to manage stress in 3rd trimester of pregnancy.

1. We decided that since my weekdays with him at work were sooo very stressful that weekends would not be. I did not go out anywhere for more than 2-3 hrs at a time, usually to the Farmers market, grocery shopping ect. If there was an outing that required a day trip then just Daniel and the kids went. Sometimes I was so tired that I even let Daniel take the kids to church and just stayed home to take a nap.

2. We had to eliminate as many outside commitments and activities as possible.

3. We avoided staying anywhere overnight and did no traveling at all in my 3rd trimester.

4. I had to cut school back to just the most important subjects and not worry about Science experiments ect.

5. Other than our parents, we didn't have people or the kid's friends over much during this time.

6. Most people will not understand what it is like to be pregnant with #5 and that is OK! It is unreasonable to expect someone to understand something they have not experienced. We simply managed the best we could and tried not to worry about what others thought of us.

7. I had to train the kids to do more around the house and hold them accountable for being able to do some schoolwork without me sitting right next to them constantly.

8. I did have to lower my standards for what I wanted the house to look like quite a bit, and I admit, it drove me crazy! I do recommend hiring a cleaning lady if you have a house full of young children and  no teens or preteens to help out if you can possibly afford it.

9. Even when I am in the midst of losing it and having an emotional breakdown. I find it helpful to quote Philipians 4:13... I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! It helps me to remember that my children are growing up so very fast and this difficult season of having only young children will not last forever. One day I will be able to get in the car and not have to load up 4-5 kids to run 1 simple errand:-).

10. I also find it helpful just to dwell on the fact that this is God's calling on my life and that He has not called me to live a life of fun or even an easy life but to store up treasures in heaven! He will equip me to do HIS will and supply any help that I may need. Following God and being a wife and mother to Daniel, Isaac, James, Grace, Mercy and Elisha is my ministry and always will be!


Megan said...

One this I do is mandatory alone time for EVERYONE! Even the big kids have to be somewhere by themselves in the house and quiet. They can read books, play legos, dolls, color, etc. But they can only move to use the bathroom and can't talk to me or each other. I gate them in a room if necessary! You have to find some time every day to do this or you will go crazy. And during this time I read, look on pinterest, watch HGTV, nap. I force myself to not do any housework even tho I know there is TONS to do.

Lindsay Rich said...

great advice Megan!