7 Warning Signs You’re Doing Too Much as a Mom (and how to stop)

Moms wear many hats.  It’s true.  

We are the household managers.  The keeper of the schedules.  The taxi, the homework helper, the chef, the maid.

The “owie” doctor, the encourager, the discerner of hearts.

The listening panel for those deep questions about God…and narwhals and Minecraft.  (Always, Minecraft.)

Need I go on?

Graphic with text: The 7 subtle signs of an unbalanced mom, with an image of a stressed mom and baby below the text.

If you’re like me, you actually do love serving your family.  It gives you great joy and you wouldn’t trade your role(s) for any other.

Sometimes, though, motherhood can become overwhelming and frankly, all-consuming.

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Do you feel like being a mom is too much sometimes?

When I start to feel this way, I try to remember to step back and evaluate it.

Are these feelings caused by a temporary situation that will resolve soon?

Sick kids, car repairs, a big event I’m preparing for – things like that will cause me stress, but usually I can get through it knowing “this too shall pass.”

Most of the time, it does.

But if these overwhelming feelings continue and it’s NOT related to a short-term problem, I think it’s wise to dig a little deeper.

A mom with her head in her hands with kids fighting in the background.

Temporary stress? Or something more?

Is there a change I need to make that could maybe change the way I’m feeling?  Is there something, anything I could let go of, even temporarily?

7 Red Flags You’re Doing Too Much as a Mom (and strategies for change)

The fact is, as moms we can be really proud of juggling all the things, and it can become a badge of honor, of sorts.

Moms even kind of like to compete with each other about whose schedule is the most juggly.  (Is that a word?)

Maybe there really are some superwomen with superhuman juggling powers.

For the rest of us, eventually, one of those balls are going to drop.  It’s Murphy’s law.

I’m all about discovering ways to be more productive at home and I think it’s important to learn good time management habits.

But still, it IS possible that you’re doing too much, and in that case, it’s not time management you need.

mom doing everything and feeling overwhelmed

Changes toward a better balance.

A few changes, though, could make all the difference in your emotional state and help you to find a better balance.

(Not a perfect balance, mind you!  A better balance.)

So if you’re asking yourself the question, “Am I doing too much?”, you’re probably in the right place.

And if you’re even beyond that, and feeling like being a mom is too much for you – HANG IN THERE.

You are under a lot of stress and you need a helping hand (or three). But you can absolutely get through this.

Here are a few signs to look for to determine if it’s time to retire some of those balls in the air. (Before someone gets hurt!)

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#1. You’re not living in the now

I think ambitious, perfectionist types struggle with this in general.  You’re always looking ahead to what’s next.  You’re a worker, a planner, a go-getter.

And stinking proud of it.

The only problem is, when you’re always looking ahead, you can forget to appreciate where you are now.

Smiling mom sitting on couch, reading to young daughter.

Being Present.

I definitely put myself in this category.

There have been times where my kids are trying to talk to me and I don’t even realize I’ve totally tuned them out because I’m daydreaming – planning my next move (without realizing it).

Being present, on purpose

It really takes intention to know when to STOP and live in the moment.

When I’m with my kids, that’s definitely where I want to be.

One day, I had an epiphany that I LOVE whatever age and stage my kids are in at the moment.

Why?  Because they will only be this exact age once.

Mom in kitchen with toddler daughter, playing a silly game together.

Enjoying the now.

The truth about fleeting time

Tomorrow they are a day older; and those days add up way too quickly.

If you have trouble enjoying the day-to-day family time and often think “I can slow down when ___” or “things will be better when ___”, just know that this can quickly become a never-ending quest.

It might be time to let something go so you can make more memories exactly where you are today.

Mom and dad in background watching toddler play outside. Concept of Making time to make memories while watching their preschool daughter play outside.

What lesser thing can go?

Read next:  Are You Intentionally Spending Time With Family – or Just Marking Time?

#2. You feel anxious for no reason

Anxiety can be pretty complex.  I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the subject.

But for me personally, feeling like I don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done is one of the biggest catalysts for anxious thoughts.

Moms do everything today

I think in some ways we’re living in one of the most difficult times for mothers.

We have so many alluring choices:  working; stay at home; work at home with children underfoot.

Yet, so much planning AND sacrifice is required no matter what the choice.

And sometimes, even though those options exist, we’re forced into one or the other due to financial constraints or other circumstances.

Image of a worried young mom watching her baby boy on the bed.

Doing it all.

Unnecessary mom guilt on top of already feeling overwhelmed with the day-to-day grind just compounds that anxiety.

A season of less

If you find yourself on edge, consider something small that you could give up – for now.

Maybe you’re getting up early to fix a big breakfast when cereal or peanut-butter-toast would do the job.

Maybe you can say no to some type of outside obligation, just for this season.

Woman holding up her hand as if saying "no".

Saying no, for now.

It’s amazing how sometimes a small task, taken off your plate or re-arranged otherwise, can calm an anxious heart.

Read next:  Bible Verses about Worry and Stress Every Anxious Mom Should Know

#3. You feel resentment towards your family

Gosh, I hate that word, resentment!

It just seems so ungrateful and selfish – yet when I stop and reflect on my mood, there are SO many times I realize that resentment lies at the root of my unsettled behavior.

You see, often people who are doing too much don’t realize they’re doing too much.

And they subconsciously feel like everyone else should be carrying the same load that they are.

Mom leaning against couch, holding baby in one arm and looking into distance- concept of moms do so much and face burnout as a result.

Resenting the load.

Taking stock of the necessary

Sometimes, of course, it’s true that your family member(s) are not doing their part and it’s contributing to your doing-too-much-ness.

Many times though, I’ve found that because I’m going 90-miles-an-hour, the big picture is kind of a blur.

I don’t always notice the loads my spouse and kids are carrying individually – OR the fact that they are just enjoying down-time like normal people should!

Woman sitting on a park bench observing her family playing, from a distance.

Making down time happen.

So our busy-ness, our inability to delegate or otherwise DO LESS makes us resent those around us.

To the mom who’s tired of doing everything

Being able to ask for help is a step in the right direction.

Also realizing that chore/task will be here when I get back to it can be really freeing.

I have this thing about wanting a perfectly clean kitchen every night before bed.  The rest of the house can be in shambles, but those counters better shine!

Woman standing at the sink, doing dishes with a tired expression.

The non-negotiables

However, in reality it really doesn’t take that much more time to do 2 loads of dishes than it does to do one night’s worth.

Learning to lessen our standards just a tad, as moms, is CRUCIAL when you have a tendency to do too much and you’re starting to resent your family.  (Yikes.)

#4. You have trouble concentrating

Stress-overload will definitely make it hard to concentrate on anything.  We’ve all been there.

I’ve been driving through town and turned down the wrong street; I’ve tried to put the toddler’s coat on the preschooler and have burned the grilled cheese too many times to mention.

Call it another bout of mom-brain, but feeling overwhelmed by your mental to-do list can contribute to your ability to concentrate in a major way.

mom with cup of coffee and messy hair, sitting on the couch and daydreaming.

The mental load is real.

The vicious cycle of stress and neglect

When you have too many tasks on your plate, it can be a compounding problem.

Because as moms, we often put ourselves last, including our health and nutrition.  We deprioritize the only things we *think* we can get away with..until we can’t.

So when we’re rushing around, we’re likely not eating well and this can lead to that “what am I doing in this room” scenario more times a day than we’d like to admit.

Mom ironing, distracted and watching a tablet with kid sitting on couch in background.

Filling your tank.

Stop the multitasking madness

For me, it’s helpful to write a quick “must-do” list in the morning after I’ve eaten breakfast and have had a moment to gather my wits.

I don’t list everything I WANT to get done, but the big 3 things or so that are most necessary, so I can focus on that.

I’ve often said that multitasking is doing several things at once, poorly.

Woman working on laptop while holding baby and drinking coffee.

multitasking madness

Whenever you can, try to STOP and just focus on one thing at a time.

Having healthy snacks on hand like almonds (these are my current favorite), protein bars (try these if you like coconut), fruit, and cheese sticks helps to balance blood sugar and aid concentration too.

Otherwise, any time you feed your kids – make sure you’re eating, too.

#5. You’ve given up all your hobbies

I don’t love the whole self-care/self-love movement that I see bombarding mothers on every social media outlet, in every book and magazine.


Mostly, because I think it’s a grand marketing scheme designed to get us to spend more money on ourselves.  And it’s hard enough to raise a family on a modest budget.

Woman laying down with eyes closed, having a spa day.

self care culture

I don’t need to be told that a spa day and a glass of wine will cure all my troubles.

That’s why I need to rely on Jesus; and He’s so much better than temporary distractions.

A balanced perspective

BUT.  If you’re not doing ANYTHING for yourself; if you’re a martyr-mama who does everything for everybody and NEVER relaxes or enjoys free time apart from her family – you’re going to crash and burn quickly.

Ask me how I know.

I realized this past year, in the midst of building a business, raising four kids and another part-time job, I really miss reading books and I need them back in my life.

Woman sitting on a couch reading a novel; concept of -doing too much for your child? take time for yourself

Carving pockets of joy.

I love my work, and in a way it’s my form of self care.  Creating, pouring myself out via words on paper – it fills me up.

Building in time for what fuels you

Despite that, I also want to be inspired by others.  I need to hold a book and get lost in the pages and not have to over-think or critique or edit or analyze.

At least a few minutes a day, I need this respite from the world.

So, books are making a comeback in my life, starting now.

woman holding up a book in front of her face, standing against a wooden background.

Take time to refuel

Whatever you love to do outside of the mom-life, make time for it.

Read next: 10 useful and fulfilling hobbies for moms

Even 10 minutes a day, if you have to lock yourself in the closet – you deserve that much!

(And well, a lot more.  But I’m a realist at heart.)

#6. You wake up feeling overwhelmed

If you had kids who took/are taking forever to sleep through the night, you know what exhaustion really means. 

When you’re not sleeping, it’s normal to wake up feeling not-so-awesome.

If, however, you’re sleeping a decent amount of hours and STILL feel exhausted and overwhelmed as soon as your feet hit the floor – that’s a bad sign.

Mental exhaustion can cause just as much stress as physical labor, as you probably well know.

image of frustrated mom with text overlay "7 signs that you need to stop doing so much".

Waking up to a new routine

I definitely advocate for prayer first thing in the morning; it will help to put your day into perspective no matter what you’re facing.

Making time for Bible study and prayer is a priority that I can’t ignore.

Perspective on what God has in store for us and looking for opportunities instead of problems can help us to embrace the day ahead instead of dreading it.

Beyond this, if you’re not sure why you’re still feeling overwhelmed before the day begins, I think it’s wise to take stock of your typical day.

Identifying stressors you might not realize are there

Consider even starting a journal where you note everything you do in a day.

Woman writing in a journal and sitting on a couch.

Write it down.

In just a day or two you might notice things you could do differently in your daily routine.

You might see responsibilities you can delegate to your husband or kids.

You might decide to change up your chore routines completely.

Sharing the load (and making it a requirement)

It may also be past due time for a family meeting to discuss your routines and what areas, if any, family members can pick up some of the slack.

If you have the tendency to do things for your kids because it’s quicker and less hassle, THIS is the time to re-think that strategy.

Kids doing dishes and helping out-taking responsibility around the house.

Spread the work.

Kids need to learn to clean up after themselves and be a contributing member to the household.

Even toddlers can learn to pick up the living room in the evening if you make a daily practice.

Also, reach out to mom friends whom you trust and have kids a little older than yours.

They can share invaluable wisdom about how they manage a household (plus work and everything else) without going nuts!

Read next: The Keys to Teaching Kids Responsibility

#7. Everyone Tells You You’re Doing Too Much

Lastly, if everyone around you tells you you’re doing too much, take note!

I can’t count the number of times someone has told me this at different points in my life.

I refused to listen to it for a long time because I just thought I could handle it all.

But my emotions, my relationships and even my work has all suffered at some point because

They were right.

Woman standing outside, bundled up in warm clothing and sipping coffee, looking contemplative.

Listen to those who care.

Permission to breathe

Just because you can say yes to all the things, doesn’t mean you should.

Just because you can do it better, doesn’t mean you should.

Just because it feels good to be needed, doesn’t mean everyone has to need only you, all the time.

Doing less doesn’t mean that you are less.

Woman standing under a tree with a baby stroller, stopping to gather her thoughts.

Undefined by doing.

If you’re in this place where I’ve been so many times where you’re thinking, this is just life!  Everyone does too much; we’re all busy and we can’t help it!

-Maybe you’re right.  This IS life for so many moms, but I don’t think it’s how life HAS to be.

Let’s make a promise to show ourselves the grace we show everyone else by allowing a slower pace and letting others help us when we truly need it.

A life that’s less busy might come with less accolades, less acknowledgements.

But it might just be fuller than we can imagine. 

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Image of tense looking mom

19 thoughts on “7 Warning Signs You’re Doing Too Much as a Mom (and how to stop)”

  1. I have to be honest….I am trying to be an awesome Pinner on Pinterest and your stuff keeps showing up! I have read two of your posts in the last two hours (my husband and I are on a get away weekend so I have some time!) and I feel like you are speaking to the deep layers of motherhood.

    What you said here resonated with me SIGNIFICANTLY:

    “You see, often people who are doing too much don’t realize they’re doing too much. And they subconsciously feel like everyone else should be carrying the same load that they are.”

    That is me. Oh my goodness. I think realizing it is my first step. It is so easy to disregard anything my husband does when I compare it to all I think should be done.

    Great writing ❤️

    1. We are probably in the same place in life then, Shauni! Kindred spirits 🙂 Your kind words are warming my soul tonight. Blessings to you and your family, and thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  2. I’m glad I stopped to read this post. I’m 43 1st time mom of a 16 month old. I’ve blessed to have been able to be a stay at home mom but I give props to you mom’s with multiple children. How do you stay sane? I was a retail grocery manager for 22 years. Man being a mom is harder lol.. i felt like you got into my brain and pulled out everything I’m feeling. Overwhelmed stressed anxiety. It’s too much sometimes. Thank you for the insight. I. Going to take better care of me so I can better take care of my daughter?

    1. Oh, my heart goes out to you! No matter how many kids you have, being a mom IS hard. It’s hard because you care, and like anything that’s worthwhile, it’s hard because it requires so much sacrifice. I’m definitely not sane everyday 😉 but having quiet time with Jesus, soaking in the Word whenever I have opportunity throughout the day – and taking a quiet “time out” to regroup is really helpful to me. There is no perfect balance, but perspective just makes a world of difference. And know you’re not alone! 🙂

  3. Did you just read my mind…???
    I swear you just looked at my life and wrote everything down, I didn’t even know half of this was happening in my life until you just made me realise . WOW! Thank you x

  4. Wow, this hits home so hard!

    I’m building my own business while maintaining my “real job” and taking care of three little kids. I wake up anxious before I even get out of bed.

    I’m trying to prioritize some exercise to see if that helps (and keeping up with some Bible study), but we’ll see. Thanks.

    1. I think it’s unfortunately a common feeling, Samantha- but it’s good to talk about it. In this season, I am learning to trust the Lord to provide me with energy and patience that I just don’t have on my own! It’s definitely a growing period for me, and I hope one I can look back on later and be thankful for- despite the craziness. I’m also trying to incorporate more regular exercise, too (some days it just feels like “one more thing” to keep up with though). 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  5. #6 for me…and my preschooler actually sleeps through! Me, on the other hand…I sleep at 3AM because my mind is racing. I keep thinking I have so many things I need to do and not enough hours in the day to complete them all and I’m so tired that I can’t sleep. Then I write a huge to-do list, feel a little better but then when the time comes, it turns I haven’t allotted enough time to write that next post, or research, or look after my wee one. *sigh* I really need to learn how to take things slow. Major work in progress. Thanks for sharing this very timely reminder. <3

  6. Wow, I think you just spoke my mind. Thats exactly how I feel. I feel upset and anxious everyday. For no reason. I just wake up and feel instantly worn out and angry. I dont know how to get rid of this mindset. I kind of hope it will get better when I get to sleep better (like 3 hours uninterrupted 😂)
    Btw this thing about a perfectly clean kitchen every night before bed – that is so me!
    Thanks for this, Brandi!

  7. I like a previous commenter found you while trying to pin away on pinterest. I am glad I stopped to read. This is such an important message. I think many moms are doing too much. The problem is the pressure usually comes from ourselves. It’s not enough to be a stay-at-home mom anymore, you need a side hustle too, it can be quite exhausting trying to do ALL the things. Resting in Jesus and letting him guide us is so important! I appreciate your blog!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and reading, Jenn. You’re so right that we’re under a lot self-imposed pressure. And the problem escalates when we convince everyone around us that we CAN handle it all…until we can’t.

  8. Have we met? This is me. As someone else mentioned, it’s not enough to be SAHM, so my side hustle working from home turned into a massive one-woman small business. I have 5 non-driving school aged children who are into every extra activity you can imagine. My husband and I can never attend these events together. I’m assuming people think we’re divorced because it’s either him or I at an event. My husband resents all of the time that goes into my business away from him, and I resent that he expects me to do all things I did before I was working 12-16 hour days. Like pack his lunch daily. It’s the last thing I want to do at 2:00 AM, when I have to get up again at 6:30. Reading this does allow me to see that he does more though, he’s now the main grocery shopper, and does most of the shuffling of kids around. He’s even had to cook dinner a few times a month or so, where he never did before. I also realized I’ve given up on my hobbies like gardening and more. I have no time which means no fresh fruits and veggies daily. It’s an overgrown weed fest. Something needs to change, and I need to figure this out. Thank you for helping me see this!

    1. Aaah Kate, you are tugging at my heart strings. I just feel for you and all the moms commenting on this post as there seem to be so many of us struggling with this work-at-home-mom conundrum. I really, really, hope you can find a good solution to find that better balance that you really NEED for yourself and your family. (The attending events one at a time happens here too! Much too often.) This summer, I am determined to get up early and work early in the morning, like 5am-9am ( as I’m finding I’m more productive then, then late at night.) I’m going to see how this works for us. I think if I can get the bulk of things done early, I’ll feel more relaxed and able to spend a few hours with my kids and then finish up my day earlier too. (Oh, I’m also hiring out more work this summer than ever before and it’s paying off. Sometimes that’s the only solution- to outsource some things – or more things.) It’s hard no matter how you slice it, but I’m trying to focus on the positive aspects of being here for my kids and doing work that I really do love at the same time. I hope to write about this more soon. I also hope you can squeeze in some gardening time – any small thing you can do for yourself that you enjoy can make a world of difference. Digging in the dirt is really good, cheap therapy too 🙂 Take care.

  9. I related so much to all of this! But especially #6. I wake up with a million thoughts running through my mind on what I need or want to get done. And things I need to do for those around me. I need to work on slowing down, prioritizing and not feeling like I have to do everything by myself right now!

  10. Alessandra | Just A Basic Mama

    This was sooo me a few years ago. Motherhood is hard! Mamas need blogs like this to know they are not alone and that they have an identity outside of motherhood. 🤍

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