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Feeling Overwhelmed

I know a fair amount about Montessori and her “method.” I attended Montessori preschool and elementary school. I volunteered in a Montessori school when I was in college and university. I have completed my 6-12 Montessori credentials and I just did a birth-3 Montessori Assistants course. I have been teaching Montessori for 12 years. My mom has been actively involved in Montessori education and teacher training since I was 3. None of this helped me from feeling majorly OVERWHELMED once I became a parent.

I was so excited to use what I knew about Montessori when Layla was born. I actually started reading and planning more when I was pregnant. I was on Pinterest daily, saving ideas and reading blog after blog. My mom and I ran to Michael’s to buy all the materials we needed for the mobiles and we were pumped. We talked about all the things we could do and what I wanted to buy.

But then life happened…I had a rough third trimester, Layla was born and sleep deprivation kicked in. I developed postpartum depression and PTSD. All I wanted to do was sleep and even functioning day to day was a bit of a struggle at first. My visions of a relaxing mat leave were not becoming a reality.

I started feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing everything that I thought I should be doing. What about the mobiles that never got completed?!?! What should I be introducing now? What developmentally appropriate activities should we be doing? The more I thought about it, the more I felt stressed. I tend to freeze and procrastinate when I feel overwhelmed.

Every time I thought I got a hold on what I was doing, Layla would change (because that is what children do!) and I felt like I was back at square one. I just wanted a plan and someone to tell me what to do.

Some things that have helped:

I signed up for an online course with Simone Davies which helped a lot. It was simple, straight forward and helped me take manageable steps. I just completed my birth-3 Assistant course, which although overwhelming, helped as well. I also did an on-line professional organization course (hoping I will be my first client). Layla started attending an infant/toddler Montessori program once a week in September. I limited my Pinterest exposure and focused on one thing at a time.

So some advice I would offer myself if I could go back in time:

  1. Start with something small. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Some Montessori is better than none.

  2. Limit the toys that are out at a time. Get rid of any that need batteries, are gender specific, broken, seem too young or too challenging.

  3. Choose books that are realistic in topic and illustrations. Donate the others or store them for when your child is older. Limit the amount of books out.

  4. Don’t spend too much time on Pinterest! Find an idea (that is age appropriate) and try it before going down that never ending rabbit hole.

  5. Read one Montessori/parenting/minimalism book at a time.

  6. Give choice, independence and provide order when possible.

  7. Learn about the basics and don’t get overwhelmed by the extras.

  8. Start the process of living simply and minimizing stuff BEFORE the baby comes.

  9. Be inspired, but don’t compare yourself to others.

  10. Be kinder to yourself, you are doing a great job wherever you are in the journey.

  11. Enjoy being a parent. Take deep breaths, observe your child and smile with them.

What advice would you give yourself?

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