It’s like they have little homing mechanisms in their brain that say, “Hey! Mom looks like she is about to crack, let’s practice our yodeling skills.” The loud noises, bright lights and colors, and incessant movement of childhood all pair together to quickly overstimulate.
When you’re a member of the Overstimulated Mom Club, any extra stressor can knock you right from Mary Poppins to Mommy Dearest.
I used to think, “well, when they get older, it’ll be easier to manage.” But, the truth that every mom comes to know is that every age brings its own stressors and pressure.
And, if like me, you are also an introvert that works best in quiet or with the lack of flashing cartoon lights and the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme song blaring in the background, overstimulation rears its ugly head on a regular basis.
I am the worst version of myself when I’m overstimulated. Sometimes I cry, but lately, I’ve been more of the “yelly Mom“. It’s not who I want to be.
But, what can I do?
Can I change the fact that my 1-year-old empties the Tupperware drawer on the floor EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.?
Nope (believe me, I’ve tried and I have nowhere else to put the Tupperware and there’s no way for me to lock that drawer).
Can I stop my 7-year-old from telling me long winding stories about the intricacies of Minecraft before my first cup of coffee has hit bottom?
All that I can do is find ways of coping with the overstimulation that I know is coming. Here are some things that have worked well for me!
When I feel myself on the edge, I’ll usually stick my earbuds in and either put on a distracting podcast (yes yes, true crime obsessed over here) or relaxing music. My earbuds have transparent sound so I can still hear if someone has gotten themselves stuck in the shelf again (ask me how I know), but noise canceling enough to where I can tune out for a little bit. I typically set a timer for 15 minutes, just so I don’t check out the entire afternoon but will give myself enough of a break to restore some of my sanity.
Whenever someone says that they meditate on a regular basis, I’m always in awe. Like, you can just sit there and quiet your mind? Superwoman.
I need someone to tell me what to do. I need someone to walk me through letting go of stress and expectation. YouTube has a ton of guided meditations that are super helpful. Even Lafayette Mom has some to help with storm anxiety-and really, wouldn’t you consider your kids a storm sometimes?
When I acknowledge that I am feeling overstimulated, before I respond to my 7-year-old, in particular, I have to take 5 deep breaths. That is enough to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and also gives me time to consider if and how I want to respond to him. Now if only he did the same…but, hopefully by doing this, I am modeling healthy stress management.
Noise Reduction Ear Plugs
Sometimes I can’t even do the earbuds. Any minute decibel is just too much.
Loop Quiet Noise Reduction Earplugs take the decibel level of a screaming baby down a few notches so that you can hear yourself think. They’re also super comfy and help with the snoring wonder that you may also be married to (again, ask me how I know).
Have a dance party!
I read once that if you are having heated words with your child or if there is a pouting stand-off happening, turn up the tunes and have a quick dance party. Everyone will produce endorphins and allow for a reset. I have forced myself to do this and it truly does work! Check out this playlist on Spotify for inspiration (Spotify – Guilty Pleasures )
Go for a walk
There is something about being outside. When my children were both newborns, they would immediately quiet the minute we got in the stroller or walked onto the back porch. I notice that it’s the same for me. When I’m feeling overstimulated and overwhelmed, taking even a short walk outside, away from electronics and artificial light and noise, soothes my nervous system. Provided it isn’t blazing hot (Hello Louisiana at 3 pm in August), try heading outside for a walk around the block.
Stay off of Social Media
Here’s a hot take. If you are feeling overstimulated, get off of the ultimate stimulant, social media.
I’m talking Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, all of them!
I know that you probably found this blog on social media, so it feels a little counterintuitive, but give yourself a rest from social media. When my kids are at their loudest and fastest, I absolutely cannot read 1 more comment of a KATC post. Give yourself a break. Do something else, anything else.
I’d like to say that I’m an expert at all of this and there are never times where you could hear me yell “EVERYONE JUST STOP!” (like what just happened no less than 30 minutes ago).
I’d like to say that, but I can’t.
But, I do know that when I practice the skills and use the products above, I am much less likely to blow a gasket. And that’s what I’m searching for; progress not perfection.
So, try them out and let me know what works best for you! What do you do that works? Let this be a collaborative area to help us all manage overstimulation!