If you don’t enjoy motherhood as much as you once did, are irritable, less patient, yell or not engaged, it could be Mom Burnout. How to kick a Mom funk and use positive affirmation cards for Moms to remind you of the awesome woman you are even while juggling a baby in one hand and stirring a pot of spaghetti with the other in 2-day old clothes.
Many Moms say they experience symptoms of mom burnout and if you do too, that’s Ok. But, let’s fix it! Plus, if yelling is a sore spot for you, the Stop Yelling Handbook is the best place to begin when you want to turn things around.
Mom Burnout: It’s Real & What to Do About It
The ideas I had in my head about being a Stay-at-Home Mom before I had kids was of happy trips to the park, warm summer days with ice cream cones, teaching them how to swim, cuddling under blankets, reading books and giggles for hours…
And then I had kids and the stark reality of piles of laundry, a perpetually messy house, blowouts, a million snacks and cleaning carseats that’ve been thrown up on hit me smack in the face.
Did I think it would involve unloading and loading the dishwasher twice a day or scrubbing toilets regularly?
The reality is much different once you are actually a Stay-at-Home Mom.
Suddenly you wonder what you *actually* did when you had all the time in the world and why you misspent most of it.
Sure, I relished the early newborn days of sleepy babies and long walks outside while they napped in the stroller… And then they didn’t fall asleep so easily and the days got longer and messier.
I cherished the early words they babbled and every time they called me “Momma”… And then they started saying “no.”
My kids grew up; they wanted independence and became opinionated firecrackers.
But I changed too.
I started loosing my patience and snapping over unimportant things like forgetting to take off muddy shoes in the house or spilling lunch on the floor.
I was on edge and couldn’t be anything but impatient often more times than not.
Sometimes I didn’t want to get out of the house and do things with the kids because it all felt too hard.
I’d look around the house and see clumps of dog hair needing to be swept, fingerprints all over the walls, plates stacked high in the sink and there I’d be, still sitting in my yoga pants and breastmilk smelling nursing bra for the third day in a row and my hair tied into some semblance of a greasy ponytail-like- thing.
It was a miracle my husband even wanted to crawl into bed next to me every night.
I was a mess, our house was a mess and my
patience sanity was hanging by a thread.
Have you ever felt like this?
Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, author of Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in the Process, says that “this drive, while noble, can also be destructive, causing stress and anxiety that leads to “mommy burnout.”
It has a million other names; Stay at Home Mom Stress, Mom Burnout, Mommy Overwhelm… but however you name it, what you have, and most moms go through at one point or another, are feelings of being overwhelmed and just plain ‘ol burnt out.
While there may not be an official description of it in the dictionary, let me tell you what it should say.
MOM BURNOUT: The mother of children who is dead tired, worn out, overwhelmed and has no time for herself. She sleeps with one ear on listening for awake children; wears materials made of stretch or spandex so you can’t tell if she’s worked out or is sporting athleisure; eats standing up or in the front seat of her car in less than 30 seconds; makes 37 multiple meals and snacks eery day, cleans, picks-up, entertains, plays, comforts, cuddles, nurses, folds, washes, rocks a child every waking moment of every single day. Selfishly takes care of everyone around her, but taking care of herself is always last on the list. She’s superwoman, but she’s dog tired and having mommy burnout means that this wonder woman has hit the threshold where she needs help because she’s can’t keep up the charade any longer.
Burnout is a sign the mommy hamster wheel has to stop.
BEING A MOM IS HARD – HARDER THAN IT LOOKS.
There’s no reason to feel guilty or ashamed about being having mom burnout, because truth be told, being a parent is exhausting when you’re pulled in so many different directions. (It’s half the reason I created positive affirmation cards for Moms, to remind women of the amazing people they are and the hard work they do daily!)
Everyone wants a piece of you, but there are so many pieces of you to share.
Raising kids is the hardest and best job in the world, all at the same time.
The highs are incredible and completely consume your heart but the lows are like the trenches of the deepest ocean and likely leave you racked with guilt, exhausted and maybe even with something not-so-affectionally called mommy burnout.
When you hear about meeting the basic needs of children, there’s on thing that’s always left off the list. MOM. Mom is a basic need for children.
Mothers operate on all cylinders 24-hours a day and are constantly needed as comfort object, driver, meal maker, doctor, encouragement, playmate, sleeping buddy and safety net.
On top of that, we keep our feelings reigned in because we must be patient and loving, kind and understanding, empathetic, helpful, energetic and playful for our kids.
On top of all the responsibilities of being a parent, we’re expected to maintain our home, plan activities and socialize our kids (and then some.)
That’s quite the laundry list of responsibilities – and it’s not wonder Moms can feel like they get into a joyless rut sometimes.
Being accountable and responsible for others all the time is tiring.
Taking care of someone else takes a lot of energy and giving up the lifestyle and your identity before you had children, while it may be everything you’ve ever wanted, is a hard transition.
Parenting requires us to be selfless, and sometimes we get so caught up in taking such good care of all of those little people around us – and our homes and pets – that we forget to take care of ourselves.
I’ve had Mommy Burnout more than once, but these are the things I started changing when I find myself with familiar symptoms of mom burnout, and would help pull me out of my own Mom funk before it spiraled any deeper.
I hope you can find something that helps if you feel like you have mommy exhaustion too.
1) CREATE A GREAT DAILY ROUTINE & STICK TO IT
Having a routine will not only help your children with managing expectations, sleep and eating schedules, but the organization of having a routine lets you know what to expect out of the day, be more attuned to behavior shifts in your children (like when they’re tired, hungry, thirsty, etc.) and when you may have time for yourself next – whether nap time, quiet time or bedtime.
One of the hardest parts of motherhood, is dealing with your children’s misbehavior such temper tantrums, backtalk, power struggles and outbursts at transition points in the day can make an average day, a frantic frenzy.
Enduring whining, screaming and tantrums frequently during a day is likely to drive any parent batty, but it also adds to the stress and overwhelm of parents.
The good news? Most unwelcome behavior can be tempered by keeping a good daily routine. This is because children thrive when they have a daily schedule that works and keeps sleep and eating times consistent from day to day.
My kids use these routine cards (the girls have these and my son uses these routine cards) which I had printed and laminated. Every day we put them in order for the day so they know what the schedule looks like and I don’t have to nag or remind them of what comes next. It’s so nice!
They’ve been a lifesaver!
More Parenting Resources to Help You with Routine:
- Routine Bundle – 70% off!
- Mastering Your Daily Routine: Including 40 Sample Daily Schedules
- 11 Helpful Charts for Kids: Chores, Reward & Daily Routines to Help Kids Thrive
- The Benefits of Having a Daily Routine
- Create an Awesome Bedtime Routine
2) REVAMP YOUR MORNING OR EVENING ROUTINE
Juggling many responsibilities as a busy Mom becomes overwhelming (and contributes to Mom Burnout over time.)
When you wake up in the morning, or go to bed at night feeling worn down because you don’t have any time to refuel your own tank, you know it’s time for a change.
Something has to give because you can’t keep living on empty.
I know how it feels to physically feel beat down by 5pm and without energy to make it to bedtime after a long day with my kids.
To make matters worse, I’d look around to house and see a mess in the sink, hear a dryer full of clothes I still needed to fold and lunches I had to pack for the next day.
It felt like the hamster wheel was getting the best of me, and it was. I felt I was always falling behind of my responsibilities, and it was overwhelming trying to play “catch up.”
I took the makeover your morning class by Crystal Paine, author of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode and it transformed how I approached the day and my productivity. I still go back and revisit the course for a refresher every time I need to get back on track.
If you need helping figuring out how to get all.the.things done, then I can’t recommend either of these mini-resources enough!
3) STOP FEELING GUILTY FOR MAKING KIDS ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES
Today, there is a common misunderstanding that we need to sit and play and keep our kids entertained at every moment of the day.
Erase that misconception from your mind.
WIPE IT CLEAN.
If you are always entertaining your kids, how will they ever learn to entertain and play by themselves?
It’s perfectly OK to sit on the sidelines while your children play and explore (once you’ve made sure everything is safe of course) by themselves in their own environment. In fact, this should be encouraged and is shown to help with their increased independence and interest in learning.
If You’re Looking for a Screen-Free Activity Plan for Independent Kids…
4) GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
It’s time to get out of he house and get some fresh air, especially if you haven’t gotten out much lately.
If you’re in a rut and staying at home or doing the same things over and over, a change to your environment will help shift your mood and energy.
It doesn’t have to be a full, extensive outing, it can be as simple as taking a walk around your neighborhood, going to a new park or scheduling a play date with a friend.
You’ll find that your children will appreciate the change of scenery as well and need it just as much as you do!
Since I’m a bit of planner, I like to set two days out of the week to go to somewhere bigger than a walk around the neighborhood – the zoo, aquarium, museum, hiking, a kid’s amusement park, a park that’s a little out of the way and we don’t frequent or a playdate.
Sometimes I throw the stroller and our kid’s bikes in the car and head to a nearby park so we can all get some exercise and stop off at one or two of the playgrounds on the loop around the lake.
If your house is a mess and you never want to be in it, that’s another problem.
Need Help with a realistic way to manage and organize your home? My friend Hilary has an insanely helpful class called The Organized Home which will take you room by room with practical organization steps, and the best part?
Less cleaning and clutter in the long run makes for a happier, less stressed mama.
QUICK TIP ON MEMBERSHIPS: The best part about having a membership to one of your local amusements is that we may only spend an hour or two at the zoo, etc. and just walk half the exhibits but we’re not wasting money on admission since memberships essentially pay for themselves after two or three visits.
Check yours out to see what memberships in your area may get the most bang for your buck – these are great as birthday or Christmas gifts from relatives too.
5) DRESS LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO RUN INTO PEOPLE YOU KNOW
No, unfortunately, this does not mean yoga pants or workout clothes or anything that involves spandex and stretchy fabrics.
I hear you.
I know I love my workout clothes and they’re great because you probably can’t tell if I’ve rolled out of bed or actually went to the gym, but those fall into the “do not wear” category for breaking out of your funk.
Take the time to get showered, dressed and do your hair and apply a little make-up. Even if it’s just mascara.
When you’re pulled together and feel made-up, you’ll feel like a new person.
I like to dress like I’m going to run into people I know everyplace I go.
How do I want them to see me?
What would I feel confident in?
6) ASK FOR HELP WITH CHILDCARE & SEEK OUT INEXPENSIVE SITTERS
Is there something that is really stressing you out at home and contributing to your feelings of being burnt out?
It may be time to consider outsourcing help.
If you need a break from your kids, it’s could be time to hire a babysitter for a couple hours here and there.
I have had great luck with some babysitters from a local college because their schedules are flexible and they can help out in the mornings or afternoons or for date nights. Sometimes I take the time to run errands, catch up on house projects, work or play hooky with my husband at the movie theater even if its just for two hours.
Do you need time to work out? Check your local gym to see if they offer free childcare. Our athletic club has two hours of childcare included in our membership per day, so sometimes I’m not afraid to admit I work out and then just sit and read or work on my computer until the two hours are up.
That ME time really helps me get find balance when I need a little extra time for myself or to get caught up on things.
What about cleaning and keeping your home neat. Has cleaning become a huge burden at your house? Consider hiring a house cleaner to come every other week or once a month to help tackle the mess.
Maybe it’s time to do a monster purge because all “extra” around your house is starting to seriously stress you out – do it!
7) FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE TO DO
What did you love to do BEFORE YOU HAD KIDS? Reading, running, movies, singing in a choir or crafting?
Now that you have a routine and know when you’ll have time for you or when you hire a babysitter, incorporate things you love into your personal time.
It may be as simple as going to your favorite coffee spot for a cup or two of uninterrupted you time, or signing up for a new class.
TO THE MOM WHO FEELS BURNT OUT, KNOW THIS…
Most importantly, remember to go easy on yourself.
Know this, the feelings of burnout won’t last forever.
You are doing the best you can and that’s all your children need but you have to take care of yourself as well. You are important, your family sustains itself and functions because of all that you do all day long.
What do you do that helps you get out of your mommy funk?
Need a little extra help learning how to get your anger under control? Here’s a FREE Course that will help you turn things around.
You Might Like…
- 7 Stress Busting Tips for Less Chaos and More Peaceful Parents
- Stop Being a Stressed Mom and Start Living With more Happiness & Joy
- 10 Positive Parenting Tips to Become a More Patient Mom
- 25 Things That Are Stealing Your Mom Joy
- 10 Ways to Rock Being a Stay-at-Home Mom
- The One Powerful Tip That Will Help You Be a Better Parent & Transform Your Parenting