20 Easy Tricks to Avoid "Mom Burnout"
A long, long time ago, I thought being a mom was all rainbows and happiness. I thought that every moment with my baby would be glorious. I thought frustration and anger would never be part of my relationship with my beautiful, perfect angels.
Then I had kids & things got real real quick..
- physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.
No one wants to admit that taking care of kids 24/7 can lead to burnout, but it's not an uncommon part of motherhood, especially if you're a stay-at-home mom. Burnout is brutal, and we all suffer from it at one point or another. We run out of steam when it comes to parenting, work, and staying on top of our health, obligations, and our kids’ social calendars and extracurricular activities.
Researchers examined survey responses from approximately 2,000 parents to gauge whether or not parental burnout really existed. And shocker of shocks, they found that it does. The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, states that between 2% and 12% of parents likely suffer from burnout.
Our society suffers from feeling weary because we think we’re expected to be “on” all the time. It’s so easy to look on someone’s Facebook page and get a bad case of FOMO and feel like we aren’t enough
Luckily, there are things you can do to help avoid overwhelm
1. Make sleep a priority
When moms get busy, sleep usually the first thing to go, either because we’re using the time to get stuff done or simply to have a few moments of peace to catch up on our overflowing DVR But research proves again and again just how vital sleep is to our well being and overall mood. So go to bed early tonight, mama.
2. Lower the Bar
High expectations are great, but parenting is a 24/7 job, and sometimes you’re going to have to let things go. It’s okay if your house is a mess sometimes. Your kids aren’t going to lose all capabilities if they have a day with “too much” screen time. They don’t have to do every extracurricular under the sun. You don’t have to mediate every sibling squabble. Ease up on your expectations of yourself and your kids when you start feeling stressed.
3. Eat well
It’s way easier said that done, but seriously, eating well is so important. Your body is a temple. Treat it as such! A well-fueled body will work better and keep you more energized through your busy, busy day.
4. Find a tribe — or at least one good mom friend.
No one understands the daily struggles of parenthood like other parents who are in the same stage. Support from people who are in the trenches with you is vital. Join a parenting group. Strike up a conversation with parents at your kid’s school. Take the plunge and invite a family over for dinner to establish a relationship. Some of us have a harder time making friends than others, but mom friendships are invaluable.
5. Say no
You wear so many hats and it is utterly exhausting. With every “Will you/could you?” you receive, ask yourself three questions—
Do I need to do this? Do I want to do this? Does this give me energy?
If you can’t answer yes to any of those questions, the answer to the request is no.
6. Ask for help
This job is simply too hard to do alone. You are already Super Woman, so go ahead and ask for help when you need it.
7. Get Outside
Nothing helps you feel grounded like...well...touching the ground! So, go outside and breathe in some fresh, clean air. Take your shoes off and get back to your roots. Whether it’s a hike in the woods, a trip to the beach, or a simple walk around the block—being outside can be incredibly therapeutic ?.
8. Trust your intuition when you make decisions
Our days are full of decision making. From deciding if your kid can wear his Batman costume to school (again) and figuring out what’s for dinner, to deciding how you want your career to look now that you’re a mom—you are CONSTANTLY making calls (for yourself and for other people.) And it’s tiring! Decision fatigue is a very real thing. Try not to agonize over every single choice you have to make. It’s never going to be perfect. Let your intuition be your guiding light—it won’t steer you wrong.
9. Spend Time With Significant Other
There's a reason we call them "significant" others. Their role is significant as we go through the many stages of parenting together.
Although it is very easy to do, don't put your relationship on the back burner. As exhausted as you may be at the end of the day, make time for your significant other. A simple daily conversation with your partner can give you the emotional boost you need on those days you're feeling burnout coming on.
10. Move your body
Do whatever you love to do you get your blood pumping—go for a run, dance, swim, find a rock climbing wall...whatever floats your boat! Exercising will help fight fatigue and gives you more energy. ?
11. Treat yourself
When was the last time you bought yourself something? (No, paper towels at Target doesn’t count.) While spending money isn’t always an option, consider treating yourself to something occasionally—even if it’s very small. A delicious piece of chocolate, a new book, a manicure...you SO deserve it.
12. Do something “unproductive”
Not everything in your day has to be something from your to-do list. It’s OK (and actually encouraged) for to you do something just because it’s fun. Spending time unwinding will allow you to feel more energized when you are tackling that to-do list, which will in turn help you knock those tasks out faster—and for that reason, the “unproductive” things may actually be way more “productive” than you think!
13. Make a list
I am one those “I have lists of my lists” people. And while that’s probably a little too much, I have learned that lists really help me. Lists help me remember stuff of course, but they also help me to clear my mind and stay calm—
Every morning, I decide what the top three things I want to do that day are. I’ll often say, “What three things will feel the best to cross off my list?” It helps me to feel more in control of my day, and less intimidated by how daunting it all seems. And on a related note...
14. Focus on what you do accomplish
Our to-do lists are never ending and it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the stuff we didn’t get to do. But every evening try to take a few moments to reflect on what you did do. You’ll amaze yourself with how much you actually rock it each and every day ?.
15. Set up a system of sharing responsibilities
The mental load of motherhood is the REAL DEAL. Our brains are constantly swirling with ALL THE THINGS which quickly translates to burnout. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Your partner wants to help you—sometimes they just don’t know how. Set up a shared Google Calendar or iCal, so you can BOTH see what’s going on for the week. Divide up household responsibilities in a way the feels fair to both of you.
16. Schedule you-time AKA real time for yourself.
Easier said than done, I know. But it’s also 100% necessary. Don’t wait until you’re so far past the end of your rope that you have nothing to grab onto. Your kids need you to take care of yourself, so make self-care a part of your regular routine. No guilt over this one. None. Hand the kids over to your spouse, your mom, a friend, or a hired babysitter and get your butt someplace that feeds your soul.
17. Maintain an identity outside of motherhood.
Motherhood is the most important job you’ll ever have, but it’s not everything. I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but I’ve had to work part-time for financial reasons — and now I’m grateful for that because I have something outside of motherhood that fulfills me. Even if you do stay at home, make sure you have a hobby or do volunteer work or get involved in something that has nothing to do with your kids.
18. Avoid Negative People
If your support system isn't behind you then mommy burnout may quickly appear on the horizon. Avoid negative people who don't have your back.
While you can't avoid everyone, you can make sure the majority of people in your life are supporting you and are always there for you. From getting your mother-in-law off your back to sometimes making difficult decisions to exclude certain types of unsupportive people from your life, you need to have a team of people who are positive, on your side
19. See a therapist
Therapists are amazing. They are impartial, easy to talk to people who can help you sort through the stresses of life and give you tools to cope with them. And you don’t have to wait until you have a “real problem” before seeking out their help. We check in every year with our doctor and dentist, but what about spending time on our mental and emotional health? What if once a month you made an appointment with a therapist to just help clear your mind and refocus on what’s important to you? How much better would we all feel?
20. Read parenting blogs.
This isn’t just a self-plug here — having someone put tough feelings into words for you can be incredibly therapeutic. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten e-mails from readers saying, “Thank you so much. I truly thought I was the only one who felt this way.”
You’ve got this, mama. Promise.