How Guru Louise Keeps her Stress in Check
One mom's take on daily stress-busting tips and how humor helps as part of the Care.com Interview Series
Stress is no laughing matter, unless you're Claire Goss. This mom of two, who you may know of as "Guru Louise" over at Rants from Mommyland, has learned to take stress lightly and keep an eye on the important things - like why her kids keep eating all of her groceries. She even gives herself 'Mommy Time Outs' when she needs to re-group. We talked to the blogger about how she beats stress and lightens any mood by busting out dance moves, tickling, eating chocolate or giving hugs. And when all else fails, you can find her in a corner, rocking in the fetal position.
Tell us about your family.
I've been married to my awesome husband for six years. (We started dating in college and it continually amuses me that we met when we were kids and now we HAVE kids.) He works full-time (60+ hours/week) to support our family while I stay home with the kids. Our daughter is four years old and our son is two years old. They are hilarious and energetic and loud.
As a mom juggling kids, family and everything that comes with it, how do you generally handle stress?
I'm a big fan of the 'Mommy Timeout'. That's when, instead of banishing the kids to their rooms, I quietly excuse myself to my room to do some deep breathing/cookie-eating/rocking in the fetal position. I might also call another mommy-friend to vent or play a few rounds of Draw Something on my phone. Basically, I just do what I can to re-group.
Tell us about your most common stresses? How have you dealt with them? Has it gotten easier/harder to deal with?
I think it's the same stress every mom has-there's just not enough of me to go around when there is work to be done. The moment you have to take a phone call, change the laundry, drop a deuce...suddenly they are hanging off of you like cute little rhesus monkeys at feeding time. But I have little kids so maybe that stress gets easier once they are older? Also, I worry about money a lot because my kids keep eating all my groceries. They also keep outgrowing their clothes and shoes. Sigh.
Do you have any daily stress-busting rituals or routines? What are they?
Yes! I eat a well-balanced 1,500 calorie all-organic diet, run 5 miles each morning, practice meditation, and try to do frequent head stands to get fresh oxygen to my brain. Just kidding! I totally turn on Sesame Street, drink copious cups of coffee and allow myself to scarf the leftover chicken nuggets and French fries from my kids' plates.
There is no denying it - sometimes mom just needs 'me time.' Imagine that you have 30 minutes of free time to yourself. How do you spend it?
My brain just imploded. Next question.
Is it hard to break away for a moment of relaxation for yourself? What is your trick for getting away and making time for mom?
See Question 2. Also, I'm a big fan of sneaking off for a late night run to the grocery store by myself. I sometimes pretend it is my own karaoke bar/dance club. Tip: there is usually some pretty sweet 80s music on the supermarket speakers at 9pm on a Saturday night.
If you are in the middle of stressful day and there is nothing you can do to get a minute to yourself, what is your quick trick to de-stress in the moment?
Chocolate, yes. I buy these dark chocolate covered super fruit' things and I'll grab a handful of them to pretend I'm being "healthy". Hahahahaha.
Do you feel that your stress can project onto the kids? How do you keep your own emotions in check?
Oh, there is no doubt that my kids pick up on my high stress, gnaw on it, and then spew it right back out at me like The Exorcist. When my stress level goes up, my patience plummets and then the kids get upset, which makes my stress level go up so my patience goes down...you get the idea. It's an ugly cycle. Sometimes the best thing I can do is tickle someone or bust a dance move just to change the mood.
What have you learned about dealing with stress over the years?
I've learned that the things that I fret about on a daily basis don't end up mattering that much in the long run. Are the kids safe? Did I tell them I loved them today? Did I show them how to be a good person? Great. Anything else that I was really worried about today won't matter 10 years from now.
The kids are finally tucked in for the night - how do you unwind?
There is usually boxed wine and mindless TV involved.
If you could share one stress-busting tip with other moms, what would it be?
Hugs. Tickles. Chocolate. Wine. Wait, that's four...
Claire Goss, or "Guru Louise" as she is known to fans of the blog Rants From Mommyland, she is the newest contributor to the popular parenting blog. She is a stay-at-home mom living in the suburbs with her husband and two children. Find Claire on Twitter and Facebook.
For more helpful tips, check out the Care.com Interview Series: Mom-Stress Busters »
Photo used with permission from Claire Goss.
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