is arguably the most rewarding role any woman could ever have. But with the massive rewards of motherhood come huge responsibility and unprecedented challenges. Once you step into motherhood, you instantly become responsible and accountable for another life.
Even with support it’s a difficult job, and it’s likely not your only role. Most women juggle parenthood with marriage, friendships, family and professional responsibilities, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Without the proper self-care
, you may find yourself dealing with “mom burnout.”
As a psychologist, I have worked with clients battling mom burnout. If it’s not addressed, it can become chronic and lead to other problems. Read on to understand what mom burnout is, how to tell if you have it and what you can do to treat it.
What is Mom Burnout?
Motherhood involves so much caring for others, it’s easy to forget to care for yourself. The longer you put off your needs, the closer you are to burning out. What does that mean? In a nutshell, mom burnout is the state of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion as a result of neglecting one’s own needs when in the demanding role of motherhood.
Signs of Mom Burnout
The number one step in dealing with mom burnout is to avoid getting there in the first place. When you know the signs to look for, you can make changes early enough to avoid the route to burnout. While burnout presents differently with different personalities, there are common signs you should keep an eye out for.
1. Excessive yelling at your children
When dealing with the chaos of raising young ones, occasional yelling is expected. Under normal circumstances, yelling is controlled and limited. With mom burnout, yelling is more than occasional. You might find yourself yelling at your kids after the slightest trigger or provocation. Sometimes it can even turn chaotic and out of hand.
2. You feel excessively emotional
There are days you will happily clean up your children’s messes, then there are days the sight of a mess will make you weepy. If you find yourself becoming easily emotional, even for the smallest things, you are most likely burnt out
3. You have no energy left to give
When you’re burnt out, you’ll feel there’s no energy left to give. You’re so overwhelmed
, you start neglecting daily tasks like cleaning the house.
4. You feel lonely, with no urge to socialize
When going through a rough patch, it is easy to feel alone in your struggle. You feel the people around you aren’t doing enough to support you, and you may even begin to resent them. With burnout you can feel alone and disconnected, but the urge to reach out to other people
is just not there.
5. Your health takes a back seat
When you are burnt out, the last thing on your mind is your health. It becomes easy to let go of routine healthy habits
. You no longer exercise or eat healthy, and you sleep either too much or too little. In general, you are too exhausted to stay in touch with your health.
How to Overcome Mom Burnout
Mom burnout can be ugly. The good news is that you can come out of it and focus on the rewards of motherhood, but it’s a journey that requires intention and mindfulness
. Here are some solutions to overcome mom burnout.
1. Ask for help
Many moms may have trouble asking for help. Mothers can become accustomed to their leadership role, taking on tasks without assistance from other. But solely carrying the weight of the family’s tasks and challenges can lead to burnout.
Normalize asking for an extra hand from people around you. Let your partner take care of some tasks for you. If you have older kids, let them babysit the younger ones as you take care of other tasks.
2. Create a schedule
When you create a schedule for napping and mealtimes, the kids are accustomed to the routine
. You’ll find things like naps, meals and bedtime happen with less of a fight. It also helps to identify the cause of tantrums and other patterned behaviors, making them easier to manage.
A schedule also helps you plan your free time for other things, like hobbies, career goals and relationships. This time spent on personal goals and pleasures is especially important in preventing and recovering from mom burnout.
Putting yourself first can be difficult for most moms, but the truth is you will be in a better position to care for your kids when you are whole. Ensure that you exercise regularly, eat healthy, get enough sleep and take care of your mental health.
Hobbies are an important part of self-care
. Try new things, and you’ll find yourself feeling accomplished with a stronger sense of self.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others
is full of moms sharing picture-perfect moments. Remember that social media doesn’t always include the messy house and bad days. Be confident in your abilities as a parent. Sure, there will be struggles, but you have what it takes.
Sometimes all you need is someone to pour out your feelings and stresses to. Find a good psychologist or therapist to help you find ways to reduce stress and cope with the challenges of motherhood.
Mom burnout is never intended, but it happens. If you find yourself in this position, be kind to yourself. Focus on your recovery and take the necessary steps to prevent it. Even though difficult days are inevitable, the rewards of motherhood
are yours to enjoy!