Mom burnout, yes, it’s a real thing. Everyone imagines a mother to be happy as she cares for her family day in and day out. But the reality is that the hidden burdens of motherhood take a toll on a mother’s health.
WHAT IS MOM BURNOUT?
Mom Burnout is when you are so exhausted from your motherhood duties that you feel empty. It is when you have nothing left to offer emotionally or physically.
Though it sounds extreme, many mothers suffer through mom burnout because there are no sick days for mom.
To every exhausted mom reading this post, I want you to know, you deserve rest. You deserve time with yourself. Most importantly, know that you are already doing enough for your family. You don’t need to be a better mom; you already are the best your family has.
I have been there many times as a mom. Pushing myself and wanting to give more when I had nothing left to give. It is hard to refocus on yourself and your needs when you are so used to caring for your family.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice (when solo parenting and single parenting) sometimes we forget ourselves in being a good mother.
But our mental health is important. Not just for ourselves but for our families.
Here is how you can recover from a mom burnout.
10 WAYS TO AVOID AND RECOVER FROM MOM BURNOUT
Take a step back when you feel you are about to burnout. Assess your life situation and try and find the reasons behind your mom burnout.
Are all tasks divided equally between you and your partner?
Are the children settled in their routine?
Is the family over scheduled for activities and events?
Once you pinpoint the reasons for your burnout only then can you start actively solving the problem.
Here is how you can automate your household life. Once you simplify your daily tasks into routines you begin to find more peace and joy.
Ask for help
If you find yourself doing a lot more than your husband in the house, it is time to chalk out a new plan and divide responsibilities. Whenever this is not possible, (maybe your husband works long hours or travels for work or maybe you are a single parent) outsource whatever you can. There is nothing wrong with hiring help or outsourcing a few tasks to close family and friends. You are not failing as a mother. It is not possible for one person to do it all and you need to give up on this, Super Mom attitude. Ask for help when you need it.
Stay away from the phone
This may sound like an out of place advice in an article about mom burnout. But believe me, you don’t realize how much time you are spending on your phone. A time that can be used to take a short nap, journaling or playing with your kids. Social media and the new work from home culture has brought mobile devices into our private home spaces and take away from us more than they give us. So, schedule time away from your phone, or keep phones away in certain areas of your house for example, away from the bedroom or family room when playing with kids. This simple change in habit will help you feel refreshed and more productive.
You know how you feel crappy when you had days of junk eating, partying and drinking. Well, when we don’t care for our bodies, the body sends us signals. Busy mothers ignore their own dietary habits, often eating leftovers, and drinking cups of coffee. Where is the nourishment your body needs to thrive on? You end up feeling exhausted and tired all the time.
Mothers need to focus on their own diets as much as they do their children’s. I know its easier said than done. I realized I had stopped eating fruits once our son started weaning onto solids. I was cutting and prepping fruits for him to eat, but no longer sitting down and enjoying my own favorite food, fruits! I used to love berries, apples, and watermelons. But after our son transitioned onto solid foods I become so obsessed with his eating habits that I completely ignored mine. Ignoring fiber-rich foods led to some gut issues and feeling generally at unease. That was when I took stock of the situation and realized I need to set good habits for myself so that our son learned by example.
The strategy to get me eating healthy is to eat alongside my son. When he eats fruit, I eat some too. We do a lot of family-style meals so that all of us are eating healthily together and not just the kid.
I also ignored exercise for a long time. In November of last year, I started working on my stamina. I had reached a point where I knew that only diet was not going to help me. Exercise immediately made me feel happier, the effects of dopamine release are for real! I found myself less stressed and calmer. I try to integrate some form of exercise in my daily routine without making it a task. I walk when our son cycles or take the stairs. 2-3 times a week I do 20-minute workouts at home. It doesn’t take a lot to make a commitment. You have to shift focus on yourself and you find the time to do it.
Schedule time for you
From my personal experience, I can say that if you don’t schedule time for yourself, you will never find the time. Self-care is crucial for a mother’s mental health. Make it a point to put yourself on your daily schedule. Here is how you build a self routine as a busy mom.
Work on your hobby or pursue your passion
When we are following a routine day in day out it is natural to feel a sense of boredom and lack of accomplishment. Especially stay at home mothers feel this lack of accomplishment with regards to your own goals. Start working on a hobby, be it creating something, learning new skills, reading books. Keep yourself actively engaged in yourself.
It is ok to say No
Learning to say No, is important for the mothers’ sanity. We can’t always do everything and be there for everyone. Set certain boundaries for yourself. Be honest with those around you. When you cannot commit to something, say No.
Streamline your schedule
One of my biggest learnings as a solo parent and lady in charge of the household is to set realistic everyday goals or to-do lists. I don’t overcrowd my schedule. I stick with 2-3 important daily tasks that must be done and then a few minor ones that can be skipped if the day gets busier. Here is an earlier post I wrote on how to be more productive as a work at home mom. I am sure you will find many valuable tips in this article.
Find your tribe
Finding the right mom tribe, women that gel with me has helped me in so many ways. Making mom friends is as hard as dating. But once you find a tribe of women you relate with, it is so helpful. I can call or message my girls and rant or talk about anything that’s troubling me. Because many of them are in the same situation as me, I find some sound advice and tips when I need them.
Make some effort to reach out to other moms in local groups, or classes and connect. In the end, a friend can really help on those low days.
I want to include your husband, mother, and mother-in-law too in this circle because these are the first set of people who will try their best to work with you and be there for you. Nurture these relationships and take care of each other.
To sum it up,
I want you to know that mom burnout is real. You are not the only one going through it.
But there are ways for you to get out of this vicious circle. You need to plan in advance, set up systems around you to support you and ask for help.
Until then, stay strong mama. You can figure this out.