Have you ever been so overly exhausted that no matter how many hours of sleep you get, you still wake up feeling tired? With 3 kids under the age of ten, I know this feeling too well. With little people depending on you at all times, it may be hard to find time to rest and recharge. However, to avoid mom burnout, you must learn to prioritize time for yourself.
Mom burnout is described as the emotional and physical exhaustion that you feel from the chronic or overwhelming stress of parenting. Being a mom isn’t easy whether you’ve been parenting for one day or one hundred years. If you take parenting seriously, you know that a mother’s job never ends.
I became a mom at 20 years old. Then again at 22 years old. And again at 28 years old. And every time I gave birth to another child, some aspects of being a Mommy got easier, while other aspects got harder. The first decade of my adult life became dedicated to raising my small children. Some days felt like a fun adventure, while other days made me want to lock myself in the closet and never come out.
Raising good people is no easy task. As a mother, I am doing my best to teach my children morals, values, and life skills that will stick with them as they grow into adults. Some assume that giving birth is the hardest part of being a mom, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. In fact, the older my children get, the more my responsibilities as a mom increases. With my toddler, I’m potty training and teaching how to share. With a pre-teen, I’m teaching laundry and cooking simple meals.
As a stay-at-home mom I have the privilege of raising my kids from the comfort of our home. Add a global pandemic to the mix, and we are stuck in the house together all day, every day. With my husband being deployed (he recently returned home) handling the responsibility of running my businesses, cooking healthy meals, homeschooling, sleep training, potty training and resolving sibling conflict all rested on my shoulders. And it was a heavy burden to carry.
For an entire year, I felt like a zombie. I would go to bed at the end of the night and wake up feeling just as exhausted as I did when I went to bed the night before. When I opened my eyes in the morning, I thought to myself “here we go again” as I unwillingly dragged myself from the bed. The days felt long and I didn’t feel enthusiastic about playing legos or barbies. Every diaper change reminder of the mundane daily activities that I had to do to pass the time.
If not careful, chronic burnout can lead you into a dark place, or worse – depression. At one time in my life, I began to resent my kids. I was so overwhelmed with raising my kids that I told myself that I would be better without them. Shortly after, I fell into a deep depression causing me to lose all enthusiasm for life all together. Being burned out can lead to feeling empty or devoid of motivation.
A few signs of mom burnout are (but not limited to):
- Constant irritability
- Negative attitude
- Loss of productivity
- Sleeping problems
- Feeling mentally exhausted
- Loss of hope
- Forcing Happiness
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Loss of enthusiasm
As a mom, you are a superhero to your children. They look to you for comfort, guidance, and support. You may not be able to always avoid mom burnout as your children solely rely on you for everything. Yes, this season of your life may be hard – I totally get it. However, you aren’t just a mom, you are a woman who has her own needs as well. Making yourself your top priority is necessary to avoid mom burnout. Needing a break from your children doesn’t make you a bad mom, it makes you a human one.
Although mom burnout may happen more than we like, I want to encourage you to press harder and not give up. One day, your children will grow up and make you proud of the adults they become. Until then, let every diaper change, every tantrum, and every meltdown remind you that one day they will grow out of this.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted as a mom, keep reading to find out how I avoid mom burnout as a stay at home mom.
5 Daily Habits to Avoid Mom Burnout
1. Make yourself a priority. Before you were a mommy, you were a woman. A woman with hopes, dreams, likes, and dislikes. So many of us put on our mommy hat and never take it off. We become great moms at the expense of our own personal needs and wants. The best way to avoid mom burnout? Learn to make yourself a priority again. You know that thing you love to do? Start making time to do it again. Take a hot bubble bath. Make sleep a primary. Eat well. Find the things that calm you, and do more of that. If you want to be a great mom to them, you have to first take care of yourself.
2. Have patience with yourself. One of the major requirements of being a mother is patience, and if I can be honest, I need more of it. When dealing with your kids, you of course need the patience to raise them – but you will also need to have patience with yourself.
The biggest lesson I have learned as a mom is to give myself grace. Mom guilt is real – and if you aren’t careful, the pressures and opinions from outside sources about your parenting can impact how you see yourself as a mother. Have patience with yourself, and take each day one day at a time.
3. Participate in one daily activity that is just for you. One thing that helps me to avoid mom burnout is looking forward to my “me time”. When the kids go to bed at the end of the evening, I stay up an extra hour or two to have uninterrupted time to myself. Giving yourself something to look forward to every day can help lift your morale when you are having a bad day.
4. Schedule daily “quiet time”. In the middle of each day, I pause our daily activities for “quiet time”. For two hours every day, my toddler takes a nap, and my older two retreat quietly to their own bedrooms. Implementing quiet time allows the children to relax and for me to have much needed-break before we begin the second half of our day. Scheduling daily quiet time has been the biggest thing to help prevent mom burnout.
5. Ask for help. This may be the most important tip of all. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you are experiencing mom burnout, please ask for help from a trusted family member or friend. Tell someone how you feel, and get the help you need. Only you know the type of help you need, so don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. Ask for help and learn to receive it.
For a while, help for me was going to therapy to unload all of the feelings I had. Talk therapy helped me to put my thoughts into perspective. Other times, help looked like asking my husband to cook dinner or give the baby a bath because I didn’t have the physical strength to do it.
A few memorable times, help came from close friends. When I was at my lowest, a dear friend of mine would come over for lunch for us to have “girl time” while the kids napped. Just the kind gesture of adult conversation was enough to relieve the stress I was feeling for the day. Asking for help from those you love or seeking medical attention can help you to get the help you need and avoid mom burnout.
I hope these tips help!