The Most Overscheduled Moms in America
Dr. Phil talks with moms about regaining control over their hectic lives.


Alyce is juggling two jobs, raising three boys, teaching Sunday school and attending a master's program. With her children also very busy with extracurricular activities, she devised a schedule to follow for each day of the week from 5:30 a.m. to midnight.

Despite looking cool under pressure, Alyce says, "Inside my body is rebelling." She has had migraines for three years, and also has ulcers. "I worry about my son Vincent. He has had migraines and I know that is a sign of internal stress."

Her husband Ray worries about her getting burnt out, especially since he travels a lot, leaving her to manage everything on her own.

"Dr. Phil, I overscheduled my family. How can I prioritize so that our lives aren't so stressful?" she asks.

"You say that you were so tired one day that you ended up in another state and didn't discover it until you had driven 20 miles into New Jersey," Dr. Phil says. "So tell me why you are doing this. What are you running from? What are you trying to stay so busy that you don't have time to think about?" he asks.

Alyce says she doesn't know what it is, but feels she made commitments that she has to keep, like Sunday school.

"The truth is you don't have to do all of that," he says. "You said you're so tight onto this schedule that if it varies, it just throws you into a tailspin."

Alyce says the schedule was created to eliminate the chaos. Dr. Phil tells her that she didn't eliminate anything, all she did was order the chaos.


Next, Dr. Phil talks to a mom with five kids who's so stressed out she's losing her hair.

"I run two companies from home. I own a dance studio and teach a hundred students. I also rent out wedding backdrops. I have a real hard time admitting that I am not supermom. I am definitely exhausted and overwhelmed all the time," Patty says. "Last year, due to a hysterectomy, I was forced to slow down. I can't believe how good it felt to relax. As soon as I jumped back in, I felt out of control again. The stress headaches started coming back. My doctor believes the thinning of my hair and the bald spots are a result of stress. Dr Phil, please help me figure out what to eliminate before my schedule kills me."

Dr. Phil: You have five children and you say you are the number one faker in the world. What does that mean?

Patty: I don't think people around me know how stressed I am. I can fake it. I can have a migraine and still act like everything is wonderful and still function.

Dr. Phil: Are you trying to prove to yourself or to the world that you are a supermom?
Patty: Sometimes it's to myself.

Dr. Phil: You're the 'go to girl,' right? The world will take what you give. As long as you keep giving, they'll keep taking. You teach people how to treat you. What would happen if you learned to say no?

Patty: I probably wouldn't be as stressed ... and my hair would come back.

Dr. Phil advises Patty, "You really have to decide to say no." Dr. Phil also suggests that husbands and kids need to pitch in. "Delegating is really the key to success with moms. You've got kids that are old enough and can really help out. But if you think that admits that you really can't do it and you can't live with that admission, then you keep holding yourself to that standard."

Dr. Phil turns to Jeanne and asks, "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"

"I want to be happy," she replies.

Addressing all of the moms on the show, Dr. Phil says, "I will never give up until I can convince you moms that it is not wrong to take care of yourself and it is not selfish."

Dr. Phil looks at a list of her kids' activities and says, "What happened to just chilling out? What happened to kids just being kids?" Dr. Phil explains his theory about parents who over-schedule their children. "I think parents feel so guilty about being inadequate, that they want their kids busy all the time so it makes up for the fact that they're not there being plugged in as parents."

Alyce thinks that she is there for her kids and that maybe she does too much mothering. Dr. Phil plays a clip of Alyce's son, Vincent: "I'm 10 years old. I'm in the fifth grade and I'm very busy. I have Tai Quon Do, soccer and Cub Scouts. Lots of activities will help me get into college. My mom expects us kids to move as fast as she does."

Dr. Phil points out to Alyce that she's pushing her child to the point where he's having migraines at 10 years old and saying that he can't even keep up with his mother. "Maybe you just need to calm down and take that schedule you've got, and start marking some stuff off."

He explains that as you get older, your metabolism slows down and your ability to keep all the balls in the air diminishes. "And that's when the wheels really come off."

"What are you trying to prove?" Dr. Phil asks Alyce.

"That I can handle it," she says.

"Why?" he asks.

"Because I want to be the best mom to my children and still be able to have a career," she says.

"Is it possible that your definition of best mom is most efficient, and their definition is a soft place to fall, available, accessible, relaxed, loving, caring, and nurturing?" he asks. "Is it possible that you need to change your definition? You need to broaden it in some way where there is a difference between quantity and quality," he says.

"I believe life is all about choices," says Dr. Phil. "And the problem is that the vast majority of choices are motivated by fear. If your choices are fear based, then you were never working for what you wanted, you were working for what you didn't want. I mean, he's 10 years old and he's saying, 'All these activities will make me more competitive in college.' He's 10!"

Alyce reminds him that she's a teacher and her husband works for Educational Testing Services.

"I don't care if you are the Wizard of Oz! You need to lighten up, first on you, and then on everybody around you. And you need to learn how to say no."

"That's even tougher, but I am learning that," she says.

"Well you say no to somebody every day, and right now you are saying no to your kids," he says. "Take care of yourself first so you have more to give in a balanced way."


Jeanne is a nurse practitioner and mother of four toddlers: 2-year-old triplets and a 1-year-old. "I feel exhausted," she says. "Like a walking zombie."


After working 24-hour shifts at a hospital, she starts catching up on housework when she gets home, sometimes going 42 hours without sleep!

"In my state of sleep deprivation, I've put milk in the cupboards, and frying pans in the refrigerator," she says. Jeanne says if she's lucky, she'll get to shower every other day. "I can start to stink pretty bad, so that becomes our new method of birth control."

Her husband Randy says he tries to help out, but he can't do anything right because Jeanne's such a control freak. If the housework isn't exactly the way she wants it, she gets upset. "Jeanne is always worrying," says Randy. "She's like a ticking time bomb."

"I need a nap, just after watching that," Dr. Phil jokes. He asks Jeanne if she delegates some of the housework to Randy. Jeanne says she does a little bit, but she knows he needs his rest too, so she's almost afraid to ask him for help.

Dr. Phil wants to know how much of this Jeanne is creating on her own. "I believe there is something about women that they don't get: that they have to take care of themselves in order to take care of others," he says.

"You are not sleeping, you go 42 hours without sleep, you're not brushing your teeth, you take a shower every other day. That's kind of over the top, isn't it?" he asks.

Dr. Phil points out that Randy does help around the house. "You said she's as controlling as anybody you've ever seen?" he asks Randy.

Randy says that they once saw an episode about a controlling woman named Rochelle, who reminded him of his wife. "Y'all remember Rochelle?" Dr. Phil asks the audience. "She was pretty controlling."

Jeanne admits that after giving Randy something to do, she feels she has to supervise it.

Dr. Phil tells her, "You can't continue like this, right?" He points out that she's a neonatal nurse practitioner, and that's important work. She needs to be at her best there, as well as giving her kids 100 percent of who she is. "Do you agree that this is taking its toll on you?" he asks. Jeanne agrees. "What do you need to turn loose of?" he asks her.

"Some of the housework," she says.

Dr. Phil asks her if what she needs to let go of isn't the housework, but the attitude that the housework has to be perfect. What would happen if she let herself believe that after she delegates something, it will just be OK? What if she can let it go emotionally, and not supervise it?

Jeanne says she doesn't want to monitor all the work that Randy does around the house, yet worries that the work will still be there the next day.

"I know he's just a lowly bioengineer," says Dr. Phil, "but what if he only does it as good as he can do it and it's not as good as you would do it?"

"Well, sometimes when he does, I'm OK with it," she says.

"You keep saying, 'If he does this... If he does that...' You can't control all that, you just don't know it yet," he tells her.