Have you ever experienced mom burnout? Wait… you’re a mom, so of course, you have! And you know exactly how frustrating, depressed, and debilitating it can be. I believe mommy burnout is harder than any other type of burnout.
When you have work burnout, you can take a day off, request vacation time, or at the very least you get to go home every night. As a mom, you don’t get days off, there are no vacations from motherhood, and #momlife is always waiting for you when you get home!
We’re not talking about hating motherhood or not loving the blessing of being a mom. We’re talking about the harsh reality of something that sneaks up on every single mom at some point… mom burnout.
The Anatomy of a Burned Out Mom
Moms who are feeling the burnout are most certainly exhausted. Not just the normal, running after kids all day tired, but flat-out exhaustion. They are also likely to feel unmotivated or depressed.
Basically, you’re only motivation is to stay under the covers and sleep ALL DAY. There’s just one problem with that… you’re a mom and you can’t. And this leads to feelings of frustration because you no longer own your day – or your life for that matter.
You see how the negative emotions can snowball out of control creating an avalanche of feelings headed right for your home and family? Sadly, they’ll probably get plowed with this avalanche and won’t even see it coming.
And I think we can both agree that they don’t deserve that!
Moms who suffer from mom burnout don’t resent their kids, they’ve just misplaced one important thing on their priority list… THEMSELVES.
The Cure for Mom Burnout
Motherhood requires tremendous sacrifice every single day. Sacrifices we’re all too happy to give, until we’ve given everything we have and there’s nothing left.
You can’t keep pouring out of an empty vessel and expecting something to pour out. It doesn’t work that way! You have to pour in to be able to pour out. Otherwise, you’re just dry and grouchy and nobody likes that.
The first step to getting out of mommy burn out is to understand that being burned out doesn’t make you a bad mom. That’s just the inner dialog that happens when you’re in burn out mode. Stop believing the lie that really “good” moms love their kids so much that they never go through this.
That’s just not true. All moms feel overwhelmed by motherhood at some point. And this most likely occurs because we don’t expect it and simply don’t guard against it.
We just keep going at the same break-neck speed and never stop to check on that weird sound under the hood until we find ourselves calling AAA from the roadside.
The cure for mommy burnout is to listen carefully to what we need and create an intentional plan to fulfill that need. Therefore, curing burnout is going to look different for every mom.
Simple Ways to To Avoid Mommy Burn Out
Here are some ways you can enjoy your life more and really avoid mommy burnout… or at least make those moments few and far between!
Drop Perfection and Mom-Guilt
I really felt it was necessary to lead with the choice to stop chasing the illusion of perfection and letting mom-guilt make you feel like a crappy mom. I’m guilty of falling into these traps all the time and so are many other moms. But we have to make a choice to stop.
It’s hard when we’re bored and decide to jump on Instagram and scroll through to see all the other moms with their perfectly posed and super clean children. And you think to yourself, “how come my kids don’t look like that?”
And you glance at their superwhite house and can’t find a grape juice stain anywhere. And then you look in your living room and… you see at least one grape juice stain on the couch right next to you.
Then you’re left feeling like there’s something wrong with you. And I’m here to tell you there isn’t! Simply the fact that you’re reading this tells me a whole lot… that you care about how to raise your kids and want to be the best mom you can be.
So right now I want you to acknowledge that you’re a good mom… as a matter of fact let’s say it out loud right now. I AM A GOOD MOM! And keep saying it every day until you start believing it.
And when that voice starts telling you that you’re not… keeping speaking over that voice until you can’t hear it anymore.
Find and Schedule What You Love
This is more than the typical “me-time” where you go get your nails done. I want you to dig deep if you need to and find something you really love. Something that when you’re doing it, really brings you a sense of peace and joy in your life.
It could be gardening, reading, painting, running, or writing. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as you intentionally decide to devote scheduled time to do it… alone and without the kids if possible.
Here’s the hard part, some of you might not even know what that thing is. This was me for so many years. I never took the time to nurture what I loved before kids, so naturally, that got buried and forgotten over time. Anytime I did have free time to myself, I had no idea what to do!
So, I’d do things like binge-watch a show on Netflix or go shopping. I’d use my precious alone time to do mindless things that didn’t fill me up. So I stayed empty.
If you don’t know what you love, try remembering the things you loved when you were younger. Chances are, they’ll still bring you joy. You can also step out and discover new things. Like taking a dancing class or an art class. And remember that you don’t actually have to be “good” or talented at any of these things. They just need to bring you joy!
Once you find something you love, make time for it. Put it on the schedule, find a babysitter or leave the kids with your husband, and go out and do it. If you love reading, you can go read a great book in a comfy chair at a coffee shop. It’s great to get out instead of staying in the same environment but it isn’t absolutely necessary.
Don’t stress out if you can’t get a break from the kids. This is so real for many moms. Remember, it’s not the kids that are the source of the burnout. It’s the absence of you giving yourself what you need. And if you can’t find a real person babysitter, I find that Netflix works just fine!
Make Activity a Priority
Staying active is extremely important in fighting off burn out! Yes, I’m talking about exercise but I’m also talking about getting up and moving around all throughout the day.
Sudden bursts of activity release our happy hormones in the brain and we need lots of those firing to ward off the dreaded burnout mode!
My biggest piece of advice would be to have a regular and consistent exercise routine every day, or at least 3-4 times per week. Thirty minutes of high to moderate activity every day goes a very long way in creating lasting energy for your day.
Several years ago I was struggling with depression and brought up the issue with my Doctor. The first thing she asked me was if I was exercising every day. I wasn’t, and she said before she ever starts down the path of medication (which I wasn’t looking for anyway) she recommends women start a consistent exercise routine.
She said that exercise is one of the leading and most effective, non-medicated treatments for depression. I took her up on that recommendation and the depression, exhaustion, and extra back-fat disappeared. Nice trade off if I do say so!
Look, I’m no different than anyone else and I’ve fallen off the workout wagon a million times! The key is to make it stupid simple and ditch the over the top ideas in the beginning. And the best part is, working out can be done as a fun activity to do with your kids. You can check out simple tips for staying active and working out with kids here.
Stop Trying to be Super Mom
As women, we’re often wired to be people pleasers and have issues with saying no. And even if you don’t have People-Pleasing Syndrome, chances are, you still feel the pressure to do #AllTheThings all the time.
We don’t like failing, falling behind, or looking like we can’t handle something. So, we push ahead despite the need to slow down and say no. Honestly, it’s OK and not a sign of weakness to say no. It’s actually a sign of strength to do an honest assessment of where you are and what you can realistically handle right now.
My best advice would be to save your energy and time for the things that really matter and will last long after the action taken. Only you know what those are for you.
Before saying yes to anything, practice taking a moment to think about it and really consider it before making a decision. Sometimes taking a minute means checking your calendar, but even if you don’t have any scheduling conflicts you’re not obligated to say yes.
Finally, we want to be at our best and available for our kids whenever possible. When you’re overloaded with obligations and your kid comes home and asks you to bake your winning brownies for the class party you want to be able to easily say yes… even when you don’t feel like baking.
Take a Break and Breathe
When overwhelm does get the best of you and you’re feeling extra cranky and exhausted, make a decision to take a break and breathe. If you can take a break from the kids or take a mental health day off from work that’s great.
But even if you can’t totally disconnect, take a break from anything that’s non-essential.
That means volunteering at your kid’s school, taking a pause on extra projects or activities you’ve picked up, and even relaxing on the housework a bit.
Following the simple tips above will really help set you up for avoiding mom burnout before it has a chance to wreak havoc in your life and family.
How do you take good care of yourself? Go ahead and share your best tips in the comments below!