5 Stages of Mom Stress – And How to Cope


Having a child is like having an extra arm that you have no control over.

You think, “Hey! Stop that! I should be able to control you!” Yet there you are completely powerless. People stare at you like, “This woman has no control over her arm. What is wrong with her??”

You feel like a buffoon, but such is life.

We all feel like this at some point or another as a mom. It’s stressful to have this tiny being basically rule your world, and define how we think of ourselves. That’s why I’ve come up with (at least) one way to cope with every stage of “Mom Stress”.


Basically this little sucker is wreaking havoc on your body. Making you gain weight and swell up in places you did not know could look like that. Well the best way to cope with this stressful situation. Gelato. Yep, just fully embrace this time of excessive bloat and stuff your face. You know why? Because no one will be able to tell if the few extra pounds you gain are from the baby or the ice cream, so take advantage of that! My favorite place for gelato, Bobboi Natural Gelato.

Located right by La Jolla shores, it makes for a yummy treat, and a peaceful stroll.


Newborns are a special breed of tiny human. They are completely helpless and ridiculously adorable, but arguably cause the most stressful time of motherhood. They ruin your sleep, scream at you relentlessly, make you wipe their butt, and don’t even say thank you.

Luckily, the adorableness comes in handy for tricking family or friends into watching them, while you run off with a spouse (or by yourself) and do something for you. My favorite “I need a break from the kid(s)” treat is a massage, and I highly recommend “Life Energy Massage Therapy”. It is woman owned and run, and Becca is the best!


Once the little one is able to walk/run and do their own thing, keeping up is the main stressor. That’s why I have two favorite places for relieving stress, while keeping an eye on a wild child. The New Children’s Museum and Mission Beach (plus the latter is FREE)! The New Children’s Museum downtown has so much to do (a.k.a. so many ways to tire out the kiddo), and Mission Beach’s boardwalk is stroller friendly, while still providing ample space for the little one to run around. I especially recommend midweek when the beach is practically empty and super peaceful.


Before you know it these tiny humans are nearly bigger than you. And that cute little sassiness that was funny at 4, is now big, bad attitude that is anything but cute. Stress at this stage looks more like constant anxiety that they are going to get themselves into trouble.

First off, take a deep breath.

They are going to get in some trouble (I can almost guarantee that), but it won’t be nearly as bad as you think. A good way to cope with this stage, take up yoga or practice some mindfulness. Luckily, San Diego has multiple options for FREE yoga classes around the county. Check Meet Ups, the public libraries, or local yoga studios training new yogis. Or sign up at a local yoga studio!

stressEmpty Nester

Sooner than later the baby that you cooed over for years is an adult and heading off to start a life of their own. You would think that the stress would leave with them, but nothing could prepare a mother for seeing her little one leave the nest. You’ll worry about their diet and if they even know how to do their own laundry. And there’s a good chance they will eat nothing but ramen and bring all their laundry home at the holidays. The way to cope with this huge transition, go to therapy.

Not because this is a huge crisis, but because it is an opportunity to rediscover yourself as someone who isn’t just a mom. You are an individual with a lot of life to live and enjoy! Find a therapist that you feel will understand and connect with you, and feel free to see multiple therapists before settling in with one that is the right fit for you!

Hi, I’m Lee! I’m a mom to my beautiful one-year- old daughter, spouse to an extraordinarily compassionate husband, and a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at SD Relational Wellness. I love coffee, and love trying new coffee shops around San Diego even more. I moved to San Diego from Atlanta, GA, but was born in L.A. so I’ve always been a Southern California girl at heart! You can find my blogs on motherhood, relationships, and family life on Instagram @SimpLeeTherapy or make an appointment with me to explore how
therapy can help you manage motherhood at SimpLeeTherapy.com!


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