When Your Cup Overflows

Some days I feel like every mother I know is ridden with stress and overwhelm. This type of parenthood seems to be slowly becoming the norm. In today’s episode (episode 178) we are talking about what happens when your cup overflows. When your cup overflows the contents spill out and splash on the people who are nearest and dearest to you.

What’s splashing out of your cup? Happiness? Gratitude? Stress? Overwhelm?

What sort of helping hand do you need to get your emotional well-being on a path to balance and health?

Show Notes/Links:

Where to go if you need mental health support:

When Your Cup Overflows – Episode Transcription

Thank you for tuning into the Simple Families podcast and welcome to episode 178. Today we’re talking about what happens when your cup overflows. November is usually associated with a month of gratitude and sometimes when I think about the expression when my cup runneth over or when my cup overflows, I think about my cup overflowing with gratitude or my cup overflowing with happiness or with love. And when that’s the case, when I feel like my cup is overflowing all this goodness, life feels good, life feels light. But that’s not all our cup can overflow with. As parents so often our cups overflow with stress and with worries and with fears. Our cup overflows with well, overwhelm. And I think this is the most difficult type of clutter for us to tackle. And today we’re talking about why, why is it so hard? And also why is it so important?

My Cup Runneth Over…With Stress and Overwhelm

Now when your cup runs over, whatever’s inside of it, whether it be love, gratitude, overwhelm, stress, it spills. And you have to ask yourself, where does your cup spill onto? It spills onto the people around you. It spills onto your kids, it spills onto your partner, to your extended family, your coworkers. And if your cup is in fact overflowing with happiness and love, you’re going to be spilling happiness and love all over the place. But if your cup is overflowing with stress and overwhelm like it is for so, so many of us, you’re going to be spilling stress and overwhelm.

And I think one of the huge misconceptions in parenthood is that your own personal wellbeing doesn’t have an impact on the people around you. There’s this expression that as long as my kids are happy, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t work like that. I wish it did, but it doesn’t work like that. We can’t sacrifice our happiness for our children because of this problem. And when we do, when our stress and overwhelm builds up, when we’re sacrificing our happiness for someone else, it’s unavoidable that our cup is going to overflow and it’s going to start spilling out onto those people that we love, the people that we are so firmly and so adamantly trying to protect and make happy.

You Can’t Pour from a Spewing Cup

So as many of you know, I run a program called The Mental Unload™, which is focused on individual wellbeing in parenthood and lightening the mental load. And I can tell you that it’s been quite an adventure selling this course to parents. And the reason being, parents, moms in particular don’t prioritize themselves. If you’re on my email list, I sent out this story yesterday that I actually invited two of my friends to come with me for a night out and I wanted to take them to an art circle for moms. And it’s a woman’s circle where you sit around and you make art and you reflect and talk about life and that kind of stuff. And it really is self care 101. You get in the shower, you get out of the house, you do something that makes you the best you you could be.

But I just felt like if I had invited my friends to this that they would probably not make time for it. They would tell me that they’re too busy or they would come up with some reason not to go because you can always find a reason in this busy season of life not to take care of yourself and not to take the time to do these sort of things for you.

So instead I just told them that we were going for something that was a surprise. And this realization that my friends would probably be reluctant to come to an event like this was because I’ve been working with overwhelmed, stressed out moms for some time now and I know that we often have it all backwards. We have this strong desire to raise happy, healthy, successful children and to go about that, to go about raising happy, healthy, successful children, we burn ourselves out, we drive ourselves into the ground. We become incredibly stressed and overwhelmed in the process, all on behalf of our family, all on behalf of our kids and our partners. The stress and overwhelm is going to continue to accumulate and your cup will runneth over with the stress and overwhelm and it will splash onto the people around you.

And it’s hard. It is really hard to make time to take care of yourself. So yes, I think that taking care of ourselves can be incredibly difficult, not only making the time, but having the resources, both the financial resources, the childcare resources. It can be hard to make all those things come together to make all those things happen. And I know that reflecting back in my early years of parenthood that I didn’t think that I was overwhelmed and I really wasn’t at first. It wasn’t really until my second child was born that the overwhelm really started to sink in and to hit me hard. And by that point, I think I was already just too proud to ask for help.

My Cup Needeth a Helping Hand

And at the point when my brain was the busiest, when I felt the most overwhelmed, I was also decluttering my house. And my house felt a lot lighter and overall life was starting to feel lighter, but my brain just couldn’t stop. So this is my plea to you, to find your helping hand. Seeking support is not admitting failure. It’s not admitting weakness. Seeking support is smart. And it’s so important because the impact of parental stress and overwhelm onto children is a well-researched phenomena. We know that your stress and overwhelm is going to have an impact on your kids. So by taking care of yourself, you are actually taking very good care of your family.

Now with all that being said, The Mental Unload™, the program that I offer through Simple Families is not therapy. It’s not counseling. It’s not meant to be a treatment for depression or for anxiety. Fortunately, there are so many amazing resources out there for those of us who do need that type of support, who do need that helping hand.

Is The Mental Unload™ My Cup of Tea?

So who is The Mental Unload™ right for? So The Mental Unload™ is intended for someone who was kind of like me. Your wheels are always spinning. You have a thousand things on your to do list and you have a pretty hard time prioritizing what’s important, what has to stay and what can you let go. You have a hard time letting things go, whether it be a pair of shoes or a worry or a fear. You’re hanging on to all the things, the physical and the mental stuff is all becoming kind of a cluttered heap. In the process of The Mental Unload™, I liken it to if you had this spare bedroom in your house, and I know some of us do, where we’re just throwing all the stuff you don’t know where else to put. You’re just loading it up, filling it full of all the extraneous stuff. And it gets to the point where you just have no idea what’s in there.

Well sometimes that spare bedroom is our brain, and over time it gets really full. It gets really crowded. You think you can close the door and you can ignore it, but it’s there and it’s weighing on you. So we’re going to get to the bottom of what exactly is weighing you down. Do you really have 3000 things on your to do list every day? Maybe you do. But I’ll tell you that most people that go through The Mental Unload™ realize that it’s not actually the to do list that’s weighing them down, it’s actually the list of worries and the list of fears and the list of the things that they have to plan for. And when we can start to understand exactly what’s in the mental load, we can figure out what pieces we can let go of.

So I get a lot of people asking me, “What does the program look like? How does it work?” So the program always starts on a Thursday. And by that I mean I always launched the program on a Thursday, but you can actually kick things off on Thursday or Friday or Saturday or even Sunday. Step one of the program involves a brain dump. So write down everything that’s going on in your brain. And the community group is super encouraging and gives so much great accountability as you’re moving through the process.

So over the course of the first weekend, which is this weekend coming up November 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th, you’re working through step one. Then on Sunday night we have a live coaching session where we talk through the process thus far. There are two live coaching sessions and if you can’t make it live, that’s completely okay. You can leave questions in advance and watch on the replay.

The core program material is all prerecorded and self-paced. Step one is the biggest time commitment. It takes 90 minutes to two hours after that. The following steps, I would say take about 45 minutes to an hour.

Now for step two, three and four, the remainder of the program, you’re going to find that people slow down and they find their own pace. Some people like to fly right through it and some people like to stop and pause and reflect and work through it a little more slowly. For that reason, I leave the community group open for 30 days. So you’ll have all of the content over the course of the first week and if you want to choose to work at it over the course of the first week, that seven day period, you absolutely can. But if you want to spread it out and do it more slowly over the next couple of weeks, that works too.

So like I said, this is not meant to be a treatment for depression or anxiety. It’s not meant to replace therapy or any other kind of medical intervention. And I always want to be so, so clear about that. Instead, this program is designed to take you off autopilot, to slow you down, to start paying attention and bring awareness to the things that are weighing you down. I know it might be hard, but can you imagine if your brain was a little bit quieter? Can you imagine what it would feel like if your mental load was a little bit lighter. And it is possible? I know because I’ve led over a thousand women through this process. But like I said, it’s a hard sell. It’s a hard sell to get women to stop, to pause, to take a look within, to see how they can take care of themselves in order to better take care of their families.

And this is the type of clutter that many times I think is easier just to leave shut back in that spare bedroom and to never open the door and never to look at. But I think when you do that, that’s when you start to get the splashes. That’s when the overwhelm and the stress starts to splash out overboard. So I encourage you, after listening to this episode, do a mental check-in. Have you ever done one of those? A mental check in to assess your current state of affairs? Are you suffering from depression or anxiety or some other mental health challenge that requires support, that requires the helping hand of a professional? If so, I’m going to put some links and some resources in the show notes at simplefamilies.com/episode178. But if you feel like you’re ready to slow down and get off autopilot and take a closer look at what’s going on inside your brain, what’s weighing you down and figure out how to let go of some of those things, then The Mental Unload™ might be a good fit for you. It starts on Thursday, November 7th but you’re welcome to join us on Friday as well. You can go to simplefamilies.com/unload for more details, and if you have questions about whether you think this is a good fit, send me an email at [email protected] and I’d be happy to chat with you more.

But more than anything, I want you to start pausing and taking a look at your own emotional wellbeing and checking in to see what you need. What type of support could you benefit from? How can you help yourself so that you can help the people around you? Because when it comes to health and happiness and success, you can’t gift it to your kids. It has to come from you. But the good news is that it’s contagious. So I encourage you to start somewhere. Start with you. What do you need to thrive? What do you need in order to be able to take the best possible care of your family?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. If you want to stay in touch with Simple Families, you can go to simplefamilies.com and leave your email address. If you want more information on The Mental Unload™, you can go to simplefamilies.com/unload. And as always, thank you for tuning in.

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.