5 Ways For Reducing (Military) Mom Stress


For the people who know me and are reading this, you’ll probably find it ironic that I, of all people, am writing about stress.

To clarify, the person writing this post is generally a stressed-out mom. To which I say, am I not the ideal author for this post? 

Moms are stressed out sometimes (… a lot of the time?) I think in a sense, that’s the nature of the job. Moms carry so much. Especially military mamas – juggling the how and why, the questions, answers, and plans. And most of the time we’re doing it while our spouses are away or managing unpredictable shift work. 

So I guess that’s my little disclaimer: By writing this article, don’t think I’m perfect at doing these things or I’m never stressed. 

We can’t always eliminate the stress we feel in motherhood and military life. But we can do things that help reduce it. 


Identify sources of stress

Sometimes I like to think if I ignore my problems or stress, they’ll go away. But as we all know, that is not how life works. However, I’ve noticed that identifying my source of stress has helped over the years. And I’m not just saying, “Oh, the military is stressful!” or “My kids are stressing me out!”. 

Try these methods to help identify stress points: 

    • Venting or brain-dumping. There are a few ways to do this. Set a timer. Then type or write out a stream of consciousness. Don’t edit or erase, just write! A planner or notebook could be a great place for this. You can also do this verbally in a safe space with a friend or spouse. But be considerate. Make sure they have the mental capacity to take on your brain-dumping! 
    • Ask someone who knows you best. Often the people close to us know us best. Even better than we know ourselves, maybe?! They may help us identify our trigger points for stress and work through solutions with us. 
    • Note your body’s reaction. Sometimes our bodies give us away. Does a certain event or situation make you physically tense? How’s your jaw or your shoulders? Notice the way your body responds when you’re in a certain situation.

Be realistic 

This should be the first and most important point about managing mom stress. It can be hard for us to be realistic in dealing with stress, especially if we are solution-driven people. We want to fix it or get rid of it. But some seasons are simply more stressful than others. We can and should realize this! 

Some questions to ask when reframing our stress levels: 

  • Will this pass? 
  • How will I feel when what I’m stressing or worrying about has been resolved? 
  • What can I do to relieve a tiny bit of this stress? 
  • Can a friend or spouse assist me in any part of this stressful situation, either mentally or physically? 
  • Can I mentally and emotionally set aside my stress for a set time or day and focus on something else?

Prioritize tasks (time management) 

Often, what we’re stressing about feels big and overwhelming. Whether it’s an upcoming move, a new baby, a huge life change, or just the general unknown, stress can feel crippling. That’s pretty normal. I once heard the phrase, “Be careful not to make the problem bigger than it is and yourself smaller than you are.” And that’s stuck with me. It’s also no small feat! 

Try prioritizing tasks within your stressor. Breaking down this huge stressful thing into reasonable, manageable tasks can help us at least feel like we’re moving in the right direction. Write down the events or tasks you need to do. 

For example, if you’re stressed about a move but the move isn’t for six months, can you make a monthly or weekly goals list? Can you break down the huge amount of tasks that need to be done into smaller chunks? Then only focus on these tasks for now – not the end!

Understand the importance of focusing on your mental and physical well-being

When we’re in an intense season of stress, we let other aspects of our lives fall to the side.

Yes, I’m talking about valuing your mental and physical well-being. And yes, you likely already know this. But it’s so hard, I know! 

It’s so easy to be consumed by our stressors that we forget to care for ourselves. Or maybe we’re simply so busy taking care of everyone and everything else we don’t prioritize ourselves. 

Focusing on your mental and physical well-being in a stressful season might look like:  

  • Taking a walk with a friend on a sunny day
  • Sleeping in 
  • Sitting the kids in front of the TV so you can make a nutritious lunch for yourself 
  • Reading instead of scrolling 
  • Cleaning or decluttering your space instead of watching TV after the kids go to bed

Schedule rest

This goes along with number 4, but it’s both as simple and complicated as that: schedule rest. It’s easy to notice when we need rest. You need rest whether you’re in a stressful season or not! During the former, you should schedule it. Make that appointment. Block out your day. Call grandparents or a sitter to take the kids for an afternoon so you can nap or watch trash TV. Don’t just say you’re going to or that you should. Put it on the calendar! Rest is just as important – if not more so – than completing all the other tasks you need to do! It’s easy to over-commit or set unrealistic goals. 


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