Whether you are a working mom, stay at home mom, happily married mom or single mom, mom burnout can be crippling to the mind and body.
The most common misconception that I’m aware of is that Motherhood is easy. You know when you’re pregnant and everyone tells you about all the amazing things that come with being a mom? They fail to mention that it can get lonely. And that you can feel lost. Like who you used to be, no longer matters. You are just Mom.
The maid. . .
The cook. . .
The comforter. . .
The photographer. . .
WHAT IS MOM BURNOUT?
The easiest explanation on what mom burnout is; Is when you just don’t care anymore. You don’t care that you haven’t showered, you don’t care about the dishes in the sink. You just want to sleep, and make the world go away for a day, or maybe two. You might even feel like you have failed at being a good mom.
As I am sitting on the couch addressing mom burnout to you. I’m thinking of all the reasons on how I “failed” at being a good mom. I didn’t cook my son a home-cooked meal. I let the dishes pile in the sink, and crumbs have overtaken the carpet. I began questioning myself about the “quality” of time I have spent with my son. Was I doing enough?
It’s truth bomb time.
You have set yourself up for failure because you have set up unrealistic expectations. It’s impossible to do it all.
And being a mom myself I know that all you want is to give your baby the best life they can possibly have.
Did you know that Moms are good at guilting themselves into feeling like they didn’t do enough for their kids?
Eventually, you get to a point where you know you love your kids, but you are tired. You are worn out from the everyday caring of another person who doesn’t give anything back.
Yes, you might get a hug there, or maybe even a kiss. But you need to be able to wake up in the morning without dreading waking up.
The World Health Organization states “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MOM BURNOUT?
Feeling Snappy? Your Fuse is shorter and it doesn’t take much to light it. One piece of trash on the floor might be enough to set you off. One tantrum. It could be anything, but you recognize that you don’t have the patience you used to.
You could sleep for eight hours, and wake up feeling like you ran a marathon. Your mind is cloudy, and all you can think about is the next time you will be able to sleep. Coffee only seems to help for a minute.
3. NOT ENJOYING BEING AROUND YOUR CHILD
You are anticipating the next tantrum and not enjoying the precious moment in front of you. You are anticipating the next nap, so you can get other things done. You just feel like your child takes and takes, and doesn’t give anything back in return so why bother.
4. CONSTANTLY FEELING SUFFOCATED WITH TO-DO LISTS
Breakfast, Dishes, Lunch, Dishes, Dinner, Dishes. Vacuuming, changing diapers, making sure your child can’t hurt themself in the home environment. Watching mess after mess be created by your baby. Toys that you just put away being brought back out. Not to count you still need to go grocery shopping, set up doctors’ appointments, and make sure your child has activities that don’t include just TV time.
5. YOU START PUTTING YOUR OWN INTERESTS ON THE BACK BURNER
You tell yourself that there is no time to read anymore, no time to go out and go bowling. You are constantly trying to improve your child’s’ life and neglected your own life. Being a mother is who you are, but it does not define you as a person.
6. NO LONGER MOTIVATED
Do you remember when you chose to take a shower just because? And now, you have the choice to watch a TV show without interruption or take a shower. You have the choice to clean the house or take a shower. I am mentioning showers because they are one of the first things to get put off to the side.
7. GUILTING YOURSELF BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOU CAN DO BETTER
This is a Vicious Cycle. You see other moms doing it all, and you know that you can too. Or at least you tell yourself you can. But when you can’t do it all and drain all of your physical and mental energy you beat yourself up. You tell yourself that you need to work harder, you need to be there for your baby. And thus the cycle repeats. What no one is telling you is that the other moms you see doing it are getting help. Either from family or friends or they might even be doing what you yourself are doing which is going through the same vicious cycle.
SO HOW DO YOU RECOVER FROM MOM BURNOUT?
I can tell you that it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes commitment that you may not want to give. BUT I promise that it’s worth the effort.
1. MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY
You have heard this since before your baby was born. But the reason it’s repeated time and time again is because of how important sleep truly is to your mental and physical health. You need to be able to function as a normal human being and to do that starts with sleep. I absolutely love the sleepy time bedtime calculator. I always wake up feeling refreshed and not hitting snooze.
2. PUT YOURSELF IN MOMMY TIME-OUT
You need to take a ten-minute timeout. What you do with that ten minutes is all you. Whether you decided to take a shower, scroll through Facebook endlessly, or do your makeup. Or if you want maybe push your timeout to twenty minutes and focus on some self-care.
3. EAT BETTER AND STAY HYDRATED
Take care of your body by eating better. Eating better could be you just remembering to eat. Have snacks accessible throughout the house for you to be able to grab when your stomach is grumbling. If you are breastfeeding remember there are some foods that can actually help boost your milk supply.
4. MOVE YOUR BODY
Utilize that stroller you got and take your baby around the block. You might feel like you don’t have the energy to do it, but a good walk can help increase your endorphins. Or just turn on some music and dance for a few minutes with your baby.
5. GET HELP FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Call on your tribe to help you get through. Ask if they can come over so you can take an hour nap, or if they can watch your baby while you clean the house. I never wanted to bother my family and friends when my son was born, but now I always ask. They want to see your baby too! It’s a win-win.
6. SET UP A DATE NIGHT WITH YOUR SO AND STICK TO IT
I’ll be honest I still have trouble setting a date and actually sticking to it consistently. But you need time with your significant other. You need to be able to let loose, and have fun. It’s also a good way to make your significant other still feel important.
7. MAKE A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Did you know that being thankful can increase your happiness. You can start this process simply by making a gratitude journal. Set aside some time each day, and just start writing. I choose to do this in the morning while I am enjoying my first cup of coffee for the day. This momma needs coffee to survive.
8. BE UNPRODUCTIVE AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK
You can’t spend every minute of every day being productive and stay happy. It just doesn’t work like that. You need to set aside some time to be unproductive. Watch your guilty pleasure TV show. Do nothing, by taking a nap. Reward yourself for all that you do.
9. GET BACK INTO OLD HOBBIES THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN UP
Did you use to paint? Read? Play video games? Start doing it again. Start taking the time for yourself. You are in control of your destiny.
10. STOP PUTTING YOURSELF ON THE BACK BURNER
Self-care is so important. Wake up in the morning brush your teeth, wash your face, take a shower. I know that this can seem overwhelming with a little one attached to you at the hip. Just the other day I decided to take a shower in the morning while my son was awake, and he stood there at the shower door banging on it. He even managed to open the sliding door and get into the shower in his pajamas. BUT I felt clean and amazing. I was a happier mom for taking those 10 minutes.
DON’T LET MOM BURNOUT GET YOU DOWN
Right now you are exhausted from the daily wear and tear that comes with being a mom.
Remember that it won’t last forever, and if you take time for yourself a little bit each day, it can improve your happiness.
You will get through this whole mom burnout thing.