Tackle stress that comes with being a mom

February 29, 2012 8:17:34 PM PST
It's considered the hardest job on the planet, the job of being a mom. And the stress level that comes along with it has never been higher. We have four tips from an expert who says if follow these tips, you can change your life.

At Lisa Dominick's house, there is never a dull moment. She has three children, ages 10, six and two. She's one of many mothers trying to survive the stress of being a mom.

"There's a limited amount of stress that an individual person can tolerate," said Dr. Richard Pesikoff, a Baylor professor of psychiatry.

It's a type of stress Dr. Pesikoff says is grossly underestimated, and if ignored, can lead to tragic outcomes.

"If you read the papers, you know that we are not perfect and there's an occasional horror story in the news," he said.

Dominick says the motherhood stress she faces causes her to shout at her kids, leaving her feeling guilty and frustrated.

"I remember my mom never hollered at me so I want to be that mom and not raise my voice. But I want them to listen and obey," Dominick said.

"The number one stressor in a woman's life is in fact their children," world-renowned psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman said.

Dr. Leman says mothers can see miracles by taking the advice from his book, "Have a New Kid by Friday."

Here are four of his top tips:

No. 1: Your child does not always need to be happy.

"There's times your son, your daughter has to be unhappy. Why? Because they talked back to you, they violated a rule," Dr. Leman said.

No. 2: You are the boss.

"If you take the authoritative approach, and that is God didn't put me on this earth to be overrun by a three-year-old or a five-year-old or a 19-year-old, then you're in healthy authority over your kids," he said.

No. 3: When your kids misbehave, walk away.

"You walk into the room and say something like 'Mommy is very unhappy.' And you might give them the look and turn around and walk away," Dr. Leman said. "They realize wait a minute, I better try to get this solved because I don't like it when mom and dad are unhappy with me."

Dominick tried it and says it worked, even with her toddler Brooke!

"It's so sad to see them cry and I feel like I have hurt their feelings; they need to realize these are the rules and they are hurting my feelings," she said.

And finally, tip No. 4: Have high expectations. Don't make life too easy.

"Have positive expectations for your kids, and they'll tend to meet those expectations you give them," Dr. Leman said.

Dominick is implementing all four steps and so far so good.

For more information on dealing with the stress of being a mom, see the resources for help.