Dealing with Pressure from Others

I started this blog as a way to support and help other moms. My goal is to use my educational background and professional experience to provide ideas and help for moms, because let’s face it, being a mom is HARD.

For the most part, I choose what to write about based on what I’m going through, what I see my friends experiencing, and what I think will resonate with you when you read the blog.

As a still new-ish blogger, I don’t always know what people want to read about. I’m still getting to know you and sometimes it’s a total shot in the dark if you’ll relate to what I’m sharing or if you will learn from what I have to say.

So- when someone commented last week about something she wanted help with, I knew I had to write about it. Because if it’s important to her, I know she’s not the only mom dealing with it. What is it, you ask?

Pressure From Others

Kids. Significant others. Our parents. Pressure can come from many different places. As a mom, you probably already place a significant amount of pressure on yourself so when you add on the expectations and pressure from others, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Pressure from others can feel very different than the pressure from ourselves because often times it’s from sources we feel like we can’t control or do anything about.

For example, if your mom comes over to your house to watch the kids so you can run errands, but makes comments about how “clean” it is when she gets there, she’s creating more pressure. (To my mom, if you’re reading this don’t worry- that’s not my example!)

From that point forward you may stress about the state of your house whenever she’s going to visit. And if she’s coming to help you, then the help may not feel beneficial anymore or actually relieve stress because there’s pressure that comes with it.

Similarly, with our kids- they have mountains of expectations and needs. And pretty much our job is to fulfill those. Even when you love your kids and want to give them what they need and want, these pressures can become daunting especially if you have young kids like I do because they need you almost all day long.

Then, add in pressure that seems like it comes from others but may actually be more pressure from yourself. Take a joyous occasions like birthday parties: most of us would say that the important part is that our child has fun. Only a bit of pressure there.

But then consider all of the guests that you want to have fun, and possibly their parents who will attend as well and you have a recipe for feeling lots of pressure for something that will last only a couple of hours.

What can you do to deal with the pressure?

While there are certainly many different ways to approach these challenges, I’ll give you three ideas. They may not be applicable to every situation but hopefully at least one can help you deal with the pressure that comes from others.

Cut out the source of pressure

This may sound harsh, and sometimes it might be, but if we don’t deal with the source of the pressure then everything else can feel like a band aid on a bullet wound. Take the example with mom- I’m not saying cut her out of your life, but maybe you can cut out the situation that causes that pressure or change the situation so that pressure isn’t created.

For example: she makes comments about how clean the house is and it stresses you out. Rather than have her come over, other options may be to ask her to watch the kids at her house, or to take them somewhere like the movies (if they’re old enough) and you meet her there. That way you’re still getting help when you need it but under different circumstances that will hopefully help to alleviate stress.

Another way to tackle that challenge would be instead of having your mom come over to help, trade off with a friend. Watch her kids while she runs errands and then you do the same. You likely won’t feel as stressed by the state of your house (because your friend probably understands what it’s like to have kids!) so you get the help you need without the pressure. Then, have the kiddos hang with your mom under different circumstances.

You’ll need to figure out what “cut out the source” means in your situation, but take some time to think about what are the external sources of pressure and can you do anything to rid yourself of them or change the situation so that the pressure doesn’t feel as big. Perhaps you say no to a large birthday party this year, or you volunteer at a less busy time. Remember that there may be ways you can alleviate some of the outside pressure by getting rid or adjusting the source of it.

Address the Source of Pressure Directly

Pressure from others can be hard to deal with. Check out these tips to help you manage the stress you feel from others in your life.
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I strongly believe that communication is not confrontation, but you may not be someone who shares this view. For many people having a discussion about a tense topic feels like confrontation.

I encourage you to put aside the idea that there needs to be a confrontation and consider how you can communicate with the source of pressure (if possible). If your source of stress is a person, though they may not be receptive to a conversation, you won’t know until you try.

Try to bring up the topic proactively. So, instead of snapping at mom when she mentions the state of your house, instead bring up the conversation in another setting completely. Choose a time where you’re both calm and in a good mood. Plan ahead for what you can say and focus on how you’re feeling.

Sometimes people really don’t mean to add pressure to our lives and they don’t realize how their comments and behaviors are interpreted by us. Even if it’s uncomfortable or stressful, consider talking with the person so that they understand how you’re feeling.

Let the Pressure Become White Noise

When you’ve tried to make changes and talk it out (or those aren’t realistic options), and the source of pressure still exists, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. You need the mental skills to be able to block out the pressure that’s coming your way.

Think about it as if you’re creating a protective shield to block the pressures that others are placing on you. This may not be an easy task, but being able to shield yourself from some of the pressure is a good first step.

Try these ideas:

  • Try to manage the thoughts that come from feeling pressure. The source of pressure may be bad, but the way we end up getting sucked into the thoughts that come from the pressure can be even worse. Not sure how to control your thinking? Check out this post and this post to help you manage your thinking.
  • Being able to calm down is really important because when you experience pressure you may notice that you literally don’t feel good. Racing heart, quickened breathing. It feels pretty awful. Check out this post to help you with calming down.
  • Write it out. Even if you can’t talk to the person or get rid of the source of pressure, many people find journaling to be a useful way to feel better about a situation. Take some time in your day to write about anything bothering you. Then, close the book at put it away somewhere. This is to symbolize that you’re done thinking about this issue right now.

Pressure can easily get the best of all of us, and when it comes from other people it can be especially tough. Try out the ideas here and remember that even a little bit of change or relief is better than nothing.
Have other ideas that work? Share with us how you manage pressure from other people.

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  • Yes! This is a very important topic that I know many moms face. There is pressure EVERYWHERE. I love your tips. They are practical and seem like they would actually work. Thank you for covering this topic.

    • Thanks, Melissa!! I hope you find the ideas helpful. I know that sometimes no about of “tips or tricks” can get rid of the pressure from others but hopefully these can help a bit!