Motherhood Monday

Motherhood Monday :: Is My Baby Stressing Me Out? (Stress Rating Scale)

Last week at my current j.o.b we took a staff development class on Stress Management. It was a one hour class on Stress: The Good, The Bad and How to manage it all (I came up with that name!). I honestly went for the staff development points, but the speaker was so engaging and informative I found myself paying attention, taking notes and I FOUND OUT I WAS STRESSED OUT!

She handed out the following (below) stress rating scale and asked us to complete it and add up our points! I started reading and checking things off. I added up everything and my score was ###, well that’s private. Just show it was HIGH AS #@%^!!!!!!! I started looking back at this list to see what happened to me over the last 12 months. I had lost my grandfather and whalaaaa – I HAD A BABY!stress rating scale imageAlthough getting pregnant and having a wonderful bundle of joy is a blessing – I learned from the speaker that Pregnancy itself is STRESSFUL. In addition to all that comes with being pregnant, a new baby in the house brings new challenges and CHANGES! Changes to your body, habits, lifestyle and finances. So yep, stressed and didn’t even know it.

What is Stress?

  • Stress develops when external demands or pressures tax strain the internal resources.
  • Stress is your mind and body’s response of reaction to a real or imagined threat, event or change.
  • The threat, event or change are commonly called stressors. Stressors can be internal (thoughts, beliefs, attitudes or external (loss, tragedy change.)

What is Good Stress? Eustress or positive Stress occurs when your level of stress is high enough to motivate you to move into action to get things accomplished.

What is Bad Stress? Distress or negative stress occurs when your level of stress is either too high or too low and your body and/or mind begin to respond negatively to the stressors.

emory hat

When I look at my family’s newest addition, I can’t help but smile and kiss those cheeks! I can’t walk past him without “gettin’ some suga!” And although we all love him and feel our family is now complete, I can’t help but notice the current changes in me personally.

  • Lack of Sleep – He just started fully sleeping through the night but as a mom I still don’t. I still check on him throughout the night and most likely will until he is 1. The lack of sleep in addition to all the other mom/life/wife needs take a toll on your mental state eventually.
  • Change in recreational activities – My time is now even more limited. When I get off my 8-to-5, I have a few hours to get in “Mommy Time” with my oldest two kids. Which is homework supervision, feeding them, playing with them and whatever they need before they go to bed. Once they go to bed – Baby E is still up!! His schedule varies, which means so does my workout, personal business, cleaning house schedule varies as well.
  • Change in eating habits – I am eating healthy, but also eating to maintain/lose weight! I had to eat a certain way when I was pregnant & breastfeeding (which is actually the best way to eat!). Now that I am no longer BF’ing, I am just as picky because I don’t have that extra UMPH! that comes with breastfeeding to help me burn those calories off!

I know in time, this will become the New Normal to me and what might be stress now will surely level of. I will get into my familiar groove just as I did with my other two babies. I would love to take this test again in 9-12 months to see where I am – stresswise. And although this form tells me I am stressed – I am also HAPPY & IN LOVE WITH MY BABY! I also learned there are many ways to protect myself from stress. I can name just a few here (there were so many more!):

  • Stop setting unrealistic goals.
  • Give up perfectionism.
  • Learn time management skills.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Find a mentor or friend.
  • Spend more time with positive people
  • Organize / De-Clutter / Clean

The Good News is life doesn’t have to be stressful. Managing and reducing stress will bring important health benefits. Take the test and see where your stress level is. And if it’s too high, take the time and necessary steps to reduce it.

Are you stressed? How did you know? Are you trying to change the factors/issues that are currently stressing you out?

Living Smart, Simple & Stylish



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  • Kendra
    September 9, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    That lack of sleep thing is crazy! Babies are blessings but they are a change in everything.

  • Deedra
    September 11, 2013 at 3:04 am

    Having a baby is stressful and that stress never ends, I tell you this as my teen and tween boys are in the kitchen trying to team work the kitchen. I can’t remember the last time I had a good stress, but I will keep a look out for it, ha h aha .

  • Robin
    September 11, 2013 at 4:18 am

    I took a similar class years ago when I was a young mother. One of the major contributors to my stress at that time was not only the baby but the negative people that I had in my life. Over the years I’ve learned to weed out the negative people. However, I’m still working on the perfectionism, that’s been a hard one for me.

  • Megan
    September 11, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I’ve often wondered when the baby stress would end (my kids are 9 & 11)! Unfortunately it just rolled into stress based on the ages they happened to be! Being a mom is stressful – period.

  • Leyla Preston
    September 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Lack of sleep is torturous for the mind and soul I think. Apart from that, I’m pretty level headed which is crazy as I have two boys under three. If I slept more then I would be able to handle things more I think

  • Jenn @
    September 11, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I have been stressed to the max lately. I feel like I am being ripped into 10 directions.

  • Remona Gopaul
    September 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    As a new mom I can definitely agree with what you are saying. As much as I love my baby, its one of the most stressful jobs! I dont know how people do it with multiple children. Hang in there! You baby is adorable by the way!

  • kim
    September 11, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing the stress list with points. It’s interesting to see how things are weighted.

    I agree with your points about how to protect yourself from stress, the most difficult nut critical one is giving up perfection! It’s hard to do, but oh so necessary.

    PS. That baby is a CUTIE! Congrats. You might be tired, but it goes fast, I promise!

  • Twingle Mommy
    September 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Yes I am stressed. We moved across the country 3 months ago and I lost my support system. It’s been difficult starting over with everything. I finally joined the gym again last month and that is really helping. Not only do I have more energy, but I get to drop off my kids in childcare and get a break from them.

  • popcosmo
    September 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Whoa… I had no idea that good things (“outstanding personal achievement”) could cause stress! Very informative … and adorable baby! Worth all the “stress” he causes 🙂

  • Quintasia
    September 11, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I am definitely stressed and depressed. I knew because certain things just don’t make me happy, I cry more than I smile and I often just feel overwhelmed. I recently had a baby girl and it is a life changing experience. I started working out in order to relieve stress.

  • Val Frania
    September 11, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    The toughest thing on your list that you suggest we do for stress is “Ask for help.” I’ve never been very good at this. I do appreciate that you have put this in words and reminded me that others too are stuck in situations, good or bad, that cause stress – and that it is frustrating to deal with and very NORMAL!

  • SeasonedSistah2
    September 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Just signed up to follow ur blog, after reading ur great post on stress. Thank u for sharing. I am a retired, married, “empty nester,” married with three adult children who is striving to live a serene and tranquil lifestyle. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

  • [email protected]
    September 11, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    My biggest form of stress is lack of sleep! So critical! I have to say I passed the stress test with flying colors! No points for me!

  • Laurie
    September 12, 2013 at 2:21 am

    I totally forgot what I was going to say. The baby is soooo cute! Oh yeah, stress…good and bad…it’s real. Changes bring stress, it’s just a fact of life.

  • Ann at Mundane Magic
    September 12, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Be kind to yourself! That list is truly revealing to all of us.

    Cutest little guy! He’s going to make you smile daily.

  • Angela Pounders
    September 12, 2013 at 3:57 am

    First, congrats on your beautiful baby boy! I didn’t need a test to know my husband and I have been stressed, but it is interesting to see the point values associated with the different stressors.

    In the past year, my grandmother died, my husband was laid off, my parents moved out of state….On top of everything else, I broke my leg a week and a half ago. Did I mention I have a 4 1/2 yo and a 2 yo? For a gal who is always taking care I’d everyone else, its been rough. I’ve had no choice to accept help!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Allergy Warrior Annie
    September 12, 2013 at 6:20 am

    Having a baby, lack of sleep, trying to get your body back, and trying to find those few minutes of time for yourself is a huge and stressful change. I have two older daughters, and although it said my stress levels are low, between work and children, I do get stressed. I guess it’s all just part of being a mom.

  • Amber
    September 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    I can very much relate! I have a 4 month old son and just recently returned back to work. I like to spend every valuable moment with him when I get off that it limits the time I have available for cooking, working out, etc. in the evenings. Add to that the fact he still gets up every 3 hours at night, I can definitely relate to the stress scale! Thanks for sharing. It would be interesting to take it again in a few months to see if anything has changed.

  • Sarah @ She is Clothed with Strength
    September 12, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    When I started grad school (in counseling) we took this same test. I was OFF THE CHARTS! Death of a family member, first year of a new school, moving to a new state, long distance relationship (married him!), etc. etc. etc. Thank the Lord I was near my siblings and that helped A LOT.

    And this –> “And although this form tells me I am stressed – I am also HAPPY & IN LOVE WITH MY BABY!” is pretty awesome. You ROCK!

    • Bernetta
      September 12, 2013 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks so much Sarah!! Yep, love that suga man!

  • Krissa
    September 13, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    Oh my goodness…your little guy is adorable! But yes, it definitely brings more stress into life once you have kids. I think it’s important to ask for help and make sure you’re getting some time for yourself to recharge your batteries!

  • Jennifer
    September 14, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Definitely stressed with a 4yo, 2yo, and just found out that we’re expecting again! I’m dreading the sleepless nights but the good news is that having come out on the other twice I know that it’s just a season and it will pass….eventually!

  • Abby McDonald
    September 14, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Oh yes, having a new baby will definitely add to your stress level but they are such a blessing. Those are some great tips at the end of your post to help de-stress. It is so important to ask for help and surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up. Thanks for sharing!

  • Dee
    September 14, 2013 at 3:28 am

    I think I’m afraid to take the test! Kids have a way of taking our stress and turning it around, don’t they? What a little cutie you have!!

  • Pam
    September 14, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Stress is really ….well stressful. Right now my level is low and it feels good. When I think back to times when I had periods of high stress, it was always related to a death in the family or a serious illness of a family member. Two things that one really has very little control of. You can only control how you deal with it.

  • Carrie
    September 14, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Wow, this was enlightening! Going through the rating scale made me realize I’ve had an unusually high amount of stress in the past year. Some good, I think, since we were on a few vacations, but a lot of not good stuff, like major changes in my job and working conditions. Oh yeah, and starting a blog. I thought I was dealing with it pretty well until I find myself yelling at the computer! Thanks for the tips on dealing with it; I really have to work on giving up the perfectionism.

  • Becky Willis (@mrsgregwillis)
    September 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Your ‘lil guy is so adorable! I don’t blame you for giving him sugar. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this list (although I had a laugh at “Pregnancy caused by you” – what a phrase!). Yes, I am stressed, because I worry about what others think (wayyyyy too much).

  • Rachelle S.
    September 15, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Great article. I am definitely in the high stress level. I have 6 children (4 of which are in soccer, 1 in band, 1 in choir), I run 2 businesses, my husband works 2 jobs and I have a pretty rebellious daughter at the moment. Life is hard, but it’s not impossible. I’m constantly using the “stress relievers” you mention, as well as a lot of prayer, to try to keep it all under control.

  • Sara
    September 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I am in a similar situation in I have a 5 month old who has just turned my world upside down. There is lack of sleep and lack of time to get things done. I have very unrealistic goals of what I need to accomplish each day. Letting go of that list wil help!

  • Grandma Loy
    September 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    I think some people are surprised to find that there are many positive as well as negative situations that can cause stress. Your list of things to do to help alleviate stress is very informative. I think many of us put “asking for help” at the bottom of the list when we should probably put it at the top. I know I tend to be “too proud” to ask. Thanks for a great reminder.

  • Holly Williams Urbach
    September 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Hopefully you will get more sleep soon! I remember when I was raising my five children (all born within 8 years) that I was fortunate sometimes to get four hours of sleep a night. When I was finally able to sleep for six hours at a stretch, I felt like a totally different person. ; )

  • Elizabeth Loftis
    September 15, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Lack of sleep with a new baby is crazy . I remember the first time they slept the night away I still did not sleep! As they get older the stress level climbs! Good luck to you !

  • Katherine G
    September 16, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I could be stressed i never really put too much thought into it. I usually go through the motion of my day without really thinking of myself except to eat and the other necessary things to maintain myself but nothing beyond that really.

  • Cindy @
    September 16, 2013 at 2:33 am

    🙂 your baby is beautiful! I remember those baby years vividly. I can’t say that I feel any less stressed now though. It’s just a different stress.

  • Dianna
    September 16, 2013 at 2:44 am

    I just took the test. I am in the border range. Your son is absolutely adorable by the way!

  • Leah
    September 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Interesting that Family Reunions is on that list 🙂
    How old is your baby? I have an 11 month old and I agree they add stress but O I can’t imagine life without her 🙂 Never before having a baby did I believe the quote “Motherhood fills a hole you never knew you had’! So True!

    • Bernetta
      September 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Leah.

      He is 7 months now! Whoo hooo!

  • kelli
    September 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    According to the scale, I’m about a 290. I lost both grandparents, our dog, and was pregnant in the last year! By the grace of God and some medicinal help, though, I am doing well now.
    Your little one is way too cute! I’d love some suga too! 🙂

    • Bernetta
      September 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Kelli!
      I tried to reply to you Blogelina post but I can’t view Disquis from my computer. 🙁
      I know that was a difficult subject to speak about, but you did what was best for your family!!
      No judgements here. YOu are better and I am sure you family can tell the difference.

  • Peg Crawford
    September 16, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Wow. That list is depressing. I have lost a loved one, had major surgery, lost pets, and am trying to settle an estate. It is very stressful but I just think about what I have in my family and know that it will be ok. Your child is adorable. He has to take away some of your stress.

  • Amy @ Butterfly Angels Quilting
    September 17, 2013 at 1:37 am

    I KNOW I’m stressed. 4 kids, 6 cats, 4 dogs (including 2 that are geriatric). Trying to get a business off the ground, and money is tight. But, what can I do about it?? It is what it is. I try not to overthink it.

  • Krista
    September 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    We just made a huge life change and the stress level is/was crazy!! Everything is new in our life and it feels like it takes so much energy everyday to just find some normalcy! Its not bad stress, but it is still stress. Thanks for this post!

  • Denine Anderson-Regan
    September 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Congrats on your new addition and condolences for your grandfather. My sister just wrote about the different ways people handle stress on our blog. She was joking around because she is compelled to clean and de-clutter everything around her, whereas I need to make a God-awful mess in the kitchen. It’s good that you recognized your stress level – and that you know it will get better once everyone’s schedules get more, well, scheduled. 🙂 Kiss those baby cheeks while they’re nice and plump!! My babies are skinny little kids now – I miss those baby-faced days!

  • Rosenda
    September 17, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    There can always be something to stress about. I take time to pray and I put my trust in my Lord Jesus. Only He can give the peace that is needed to keep calm in a stressful world. Congrats on your baby! Blessings.

  • Nikki
    September 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I am a worrier by nature so it seems like I’m always stressed out. Praying works wonders though 🙂

  • Laney (Ortensia Blu)
    September 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    What an adorable little guy!!! And stress is a part of life – it doesn’t go away so you need to figure out how to handle it. And that sleeping thing – you’ll get it back for awhile…and then they become teenagers…

  • Gena
    September 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    That’s pretty funny–where it says these things occur in our day to day life and they list Jail Term!

  • Jenn
    September 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Ok, first of all, let me say: I cannot handle the cuteness of your baby. He is ridiculous. Those cheeks are to die for. Second, yes, I am stressed out. All the time. 🙂 But I’m trying to work on becoming more organized to cut down on all that frustration!

  • Jae Mac
    September 19, 2013 at 5:17 am

    My baby is 16 and I still check on her in the middle of the night LOL good luck it you think you’ll stop once he turns 1.
    Jae Mac @ I’m Just Sayin’…(Damn!)

    September 19, 2013 at 7:15 am

    The change in eating habits during pregnancy and the lack of sleep in the first few months can definitely be a downer. I am continuously working on my time management skills and I have definitely learned to ask for help more often too.

  • Krista Low
    September 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Ah the wonderful world of stress. It’s amazing how things can just keep piling on up and up and up. I appreciate the article and suggestions to reduce stress. Time management is my biggest weakness. Hopefully that will help my stress level 🙂 Enjoy those perfect cheeks! They are adorable 🙂 Krista @ A Handful of Everything

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