Talking about mom burnout on the blog today.
Hi friends! I hope you’re having a wonderful morning so far. I’m meeting with a friend for coffee and then working on a Fit Team document for Self-care September to send out tomorrow. It’s not too late to join us here!
For today’s post, I wanted to talk a bit about mom burnout. While I’m in a positive space with motherhood, there have absolutely been times when I’ve felt overwhelmed and burned out. I wanted to share a bit about it in this post, along with some of the things I’ve learned, and always love hearing about your thoughts and perspectives, too. I also recognize that as a mom, I know I’m fortunate and privileged in many aspects of life and am grateful for all of them. There will always be those who have it better or worse than yourself; the best you can do is have gratitude for the blessings in your life, and compassion for those who are having a difficult time.
What is mom burnout exactly?
I think of it as a state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion that most moms are likely to experience at one point in their lives. I’ve learned over time that various factors can contribute to mom burnout. It can happen when you have maxed out your capacity to care for others, and it can also come from the invisible emotional and mental load mothers need to carry. Peer pressure, unrealistic expectations, and social media can play a part in causing mom burnout, and I think it’s SO important for moms to fill their own cups first.
Mom burnout should not be taken lightly, and if you feel like you are suffering, please reach out and get the help you deserve. Please keep in mind that I’m NOT a professional on this matter, just a mom sharing my story and things I’ve learned. You can absolutely love your kids like crazy and still experience mom burnout. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good mom; you just need a little extra TLC.
How to recover from mom burnout
Taking breaks and taking time to recharge
This can be so hard to do, especially if you have a tiny newborn. Take any opportunity you need to take a break and recharge, even if it’s for a short nap, a hot shower, or 10 minutes to blankly stare at the wall.
Talk it out
When you feel overwhelmed, whether you’re dealing with parenting exhaustion or life stuff, it can be so helpful to talk it out. It can be with a trusted friend, partner, or a professional, but often it can feel like a load has been lifted when you can speak your frustrations. Also, when you say things out loud, it’s easier to develop an action plan or objectively see the situation without so many emotions attached to it.
Prioritizing self care
This can be a tricky one, especially when you’re so devoted to caring for others, but I’m a big believer that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take some time to do the self-care practices that you love in your routine, like your favorite weekly yoga class, a phone call with a friend, a hike or walk outside, time to read a book, whatever self care looks like for you. It also doesn’t have to be *all the things*; it could be one thing that you look forward to each week or each day.
Focus on the bare essentials
When you feel burned out, try to delete the unnecessary tasks from your routine. This might be something like having an impeccably clean house and crossing off all of the items on your to-do list. Keeping other humans alive, happy, and fed is a huge task, and if you accomplished this (along with feeding yourself), feel proud of yourself. <3
Do something that makes you feel like YOU
This can be something like dusting off your ukulele, reading a book, a dinner date with your partner, meeting up with a friend for a coffee, or a solo shopping trip. It can be as short as 15 minutes during naptime, but try to do something that brings you joy and that was a part of your pre-kids life that you’ve been missing.
Delegate anything you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help
Wherever it makes sense for your family and budget, outsource as many items as possible, especially the tasks that you despise. For example, if you love cooking but hate grocery shopping, try grocery delivery. If you hate cooking, try some pre-made meals each week from a service you like. (Some of my clients have found out that their husbands love to cook, so they’ve taken over the meal prep and dinner duties.) Hire someone to clean the house if that works for you (it is a lifesaver for me, and I sacrifice other things to carve this into our budget), or any other tasks that are adding additional stress. See what can be deleted, and delegate as much as you can.
Drop the mom guilt
I feel like it’s SO easy to feel guilty about so many different things, especially when there’s so much…passionate… messaging online. Whether you work from home or in the office, are a stay-at-home-mom, have a vaginal birth or c-section, breastfeed your baby, do attachment parenting, sleep routines, medical decisions, etc. People have a lot of opinions about how you choose to raise your kids. At the end of the day, you have to trust that you’re making the best decision for your family and drop as much mom guilt as you can. (This is something I’m working on myself, and often feel guilty whenever I have to work or film videos and the kids are home.)
Meet with a professional to get hormones and nutrient deficiencies addressed
When I was going through postpartum anxiety and depression, there was a lot going on (a cancer diagnosis in the family and a baby with severe reflux), but I was also facing nutrient deficiencies, sleep deprivation (this makes everything worse), and significant hormone imbalances. Once these things were addressed, the dark cloud lifted, and I finally started to feel more like myself.
If you feel off, I think it’s absolutely worth speaking with your doctor or functional medicine practitioner about developing a plan to help you feel better! Also I can’t say enough good things about therapy. It’s helped me through many situations in my life, and I’m grateful for the kind and experienced therapists out there.
Invest in relationships
Take the time to invest in the relationships that are meaningful for you. This is huge for overall health and mental wellbeing, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed or exhausted. Connect with your tribe and reach out to those you love, even if it’s just a quick text to say hi.
Surround yourself with positive and inspiring examples of motherhood
I’m so so thankful to be surrounded by a group of moms who also love being moms. We can share our challenging moments with each other, but we also cheer each other on, and their positivity and perspective always brings me a dose of positive energy. They inspire me to be a better mom and experience true joy in motherhood.
On the same note:
Watch out for social media. Don’t be afraid to do a social media cleanup or detox.
It took me a while to realize that social media can be triggering for me on the motherhood front. When I first had Liv, it’s like you weren’t allowed to say that anything was difficult or challenging, or you were a *bad mom.* (And I’ve totally been called this, multiple times, by strangers on the internet.) Now, on the other hand, if you exude too much happiness, you can be accused of “toxic positivity.”
I feel like a lot of the messaging around motherhood, in an effort to be *real* has ended up being extremely negative in various accounts. There was a video of a mom, giving her child a plate of alphabet chicken nuggets that spelled out “f you” to her child. The child clapped and joyfully ate the nuggets while the mom snickered behind the screen. It wasn’t *real* to me. It was cruel, and I cried after I watched the video.
I realized I like accounts of moms who share their fun adventures with their kids, and while they absolutely share snippets of more difficult experiences, on the whole, they enjoy the members of their family.
You have to assess what type of messaging you like seeing online, and act accordingly by deleting the accounts that make you feel sad, negative, encourage comparison, or that are harmful for your mental health. It also feels good to put the phone on airplane mode for a day or so every now and again. 😉
Remember that all stages of motherhood are fleeting
I used to get used to routine or habits and then within a couple of weeks, everything would change. Now that the kids are older and way more independent, I’m constantly aware of how quickly time passes. You don’t have to enjoy every single moment (especially when you’re sleep-deprived, covered in milk stains, and recovering from birth), but I think it can be helpful to remember that time really does go quickly. Before you know it, you can ask them to do their homework.. and they’ll do it… by themselves. It’s wild, I tell ya.
So tell me, friends: what motherhood accounts do you like to follow online?
Any tips for mom burnout, or burnout in general?