Mom Stress Test and Guilt-Free, Survival Parenting

Guilt-Free, Survival Parenting | diary of a bewildered mother

Mom Stress Test

How stressed out are you as a mom? Let’s take a little quiz, shall we?

For each of the following that is applicable, add one point. I’m going to list a few per number just to save you from endless scrolling, so you might add two or three points per number.

Add one point:

  1. Per child
  2. Per child under 5, per driver, per dating teenager
  3. Per adopted or foster child
  4. If you have multiples
  5. If you have pets
  6. If you are potty-training a child
  7. Per colicky, strong-willed, or special needs child
  8. Per ill or unwell family member
  9. If you are married, if you are divorced or separated, if you are a widow, if you are single, if you are dating
  10. Per meal you’re responsible for every day
  11. If you don’t have a housekeeper, if you don’t have a nanny, if you don’t have a cook
  12. If you are a stay-at-home mom, if you have a full-time job
  13. Per blog or part-time job
  14. Per weekly activity you attend
  15. If your child is in school, if you homeschool
  16. If your best friend doesn’t live next door
  17. If you are responsible for your parents, if your parents are divorced
  18. If you are an introvert that spends her day giving energy to children, if you are an extrovert that spends her day without adult interaction
  19. If you are pregnant, if you have a monthly schedule, if you are menopausal
  20. If you have diet restrictions
  21. If you exercise regularly, if you don’t exercise regularly
  22. If you get less than 8 hours of sleep at night
  23. If you watch the news
  24. Per any other stress you can think of
  25. (If you’re religious:) If you try to live a faith-based life; if you don’t spend regular time in prayer, meditation, or devotion

Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world. And yet, no mom is JUST a mom. We’ve got the lives of everyone in our family to think about, and sometimes we forget about ourselves in the process. I’m all about putting others first, but if you never take care of yourself, eventually you’ll be running on empty, and everything around you will collapse.

What’s your total?

Less than 5: Why did you even click on this post?

Less than 10: That’s probably best to just keep to yourself.

10-20: You can do it! You’re amazing. Try not to think about how much money you could be making with that amount of stress. Do try to remember how great your retirement benefits will be: knowing that you raised children to adults. On hard days, realize that your kids will likely get the same back at them when they are parents. Call your mom and your friends when you need to. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON, and give yourself some credit and a break.

20+: You, my friend, if you aren’t reading this from solitary confinement in the psych ward, are a SUPERMOM. If you haven’t already discovered  survival parenting, you probably just don’t call it that yet. Otherwise you are genetically modified and/or have evolved into something other than human. You should probably be on government payroll. What kinds of tips do you have to add? How do you keep sane?

Guilt-Free Survival Parenting

The concept of survival parenting is extremely simple in concept: You do whatever it takes to survive, and come out with as few bruises as possible.

It’s all about prioritizing. Sometimes it’s about compromising for the greater good. It’s about making sacrifices without becoming a Martyr. It’s telling yourself, “It’s okay.”

You do what works for you and for your family, one day at a time.

That means you breastfeed or pump if you can, but if you can’t, you use formula. Scientists have engineered that stuff—it doesn’t make you less than a woman to use formula, and it won’t make much of a difference to your child if he drinks formula or breastmilk for the first year of their life.

It means co-sleeping if it helps you sleep better at night, letting the baby sleep in a bassinet or bounce chair or carseat by your bed if it helps you sleep better at night, or putting the baby in another room and using earplugs, if it helps you sleep better at night.

It means cloth-diapering if you can, but not shaming yourself if you need to use disposables sometime or all  the time.

It means that for everything there is a time and place, including TV and junk food. Sometimes you just really need to get a meal from the drive-thru. There was a long time that Champ wouldn’t eat anything other than peanut butter sandwiches or microwaved frozen chicken nuggets.

It means you do whatever it takes to stop your kid crying when you can’t take anymore—nursing, pacifiers, running in place, wearing the baby, playing Jack Johnson on repeat…

It means putting your kid someplace safe (like her crib) and letting her cry when you’ve tried everything, and then stepping outside for a few minutes, or taking a shower, or having a glass of wine.

It means letting your kid watch maturity-appropriate TV if it helps you get other things done or take a break.

It means being responsible for your kids, but not being the only person ever to be responsible for your kids.

It means asking for help. (You’d be surprised how many people are out there and are on your side)

It means letting your kids help you make dinner or clean the house. DONE is better than PERFECT.

It means realizing that laundry and dishes will never end, and sometimes you can just forget about them.

It means getting out of the house when you need to, and staying home when you want to. Go to social events when you need social interaction. It’s okay to not go if you or your kids are too exhausted. Understanding people will understand. People that don’t understand…explain it to them. If that doesn’t work, you don’t need to be friends with people that don’t give you a break. (This is pretty void in the case of bridesmaids.)

It means allowing yourself to have a sex life, even if it’s just a quickie while your kid watches Yo Gabba Gabba strapped in his high chair.

It means taking mini-vacations. Painting your toenails, reading a magazine, watching Lizzie Bennet Diaries on YouTube


My guess is that if you’ve arrived here at my blog, you want what’s best for your kids. So do what it takes to survive, but don’t actually harm anyone or do anything illegal or anything like that. If you ever feel like harming yourself or your child, call 1-800-4-a-child.

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6 thoughts on “Mom Stress Test and Guilt-Free, Survival Parenting

  1. Pingback: Daily Mom and Toddler Schedule | diary of a bewildered mother

  2. Pingback: Grace for the Introverted Mom | diary of a bewildered mother

  3. Loved this! Thank you! I have a 4 yr old, 23 month old twins, and am 8 months pregnant. I feel like all I do is yell & scream because I feel like I am not doing enough, which stresses me out, which makes me very irritable. I have been in survival mode for a while & this makes me not feel bad about it. Probably will be in survival mode for the next 2 years and that is OKAY. Thank you!

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