The exhaustion begins to overcome you as you stoop down to pick up yet another toy and clean up yet another mess. The checklist of things to do continues to grow along with your frustration. You try to remember the last grown up conversation you had and a time that you simply got to relax uninterrupted is a very distant memory. So what do you do when the feeling of mom burn-out begins to creep up on you?
Everyone has been there. Parenting can feel like an endless twilight zone. Repetitive routine mixed with a fog from years of sleep deprivation is a breeding ground for it.
We wake up every day the same way (usually at the same time if your child is a human alarm clock like mine). We make three meals and several snacks, most of which we pick up off the floor.
We take care of our children: change diapers, help them get dressed, put on shoes, get juice cups and snacks, wash them up, read the same stories, sing the same lullabies, do the same bedtime routines.
Then we clean the same floors, do the laundry, pick up the same toys, and wash the same dishes. The repetitiveness can feel exhausting and often times pointless when whatever it is we just cleaned gets destroyed an hour (or mere minutes) later.
Sometimes it can feel like we are all alone in this parenting gig especially if you have a spouse that works long hours, or travels frequently. The mixture of loneliness, exhaustion, and never ending tasks can leave anyone feeling burnt out.
What to do when you are feeling mom burn out:
1.) Acknowledge that you feel it.
Acknowledge to yourself that you are starting to feel burnt out. You can just say it aloud, write it down, anything. I have found the best way is writing it in a journal.
Write about what you are feeling. Let yourself experience those emotions and feelings, even if they are negative. Have a glass of wine and let it out. Write it down after the kids are asleep and let yourself really feel it.
2.) Identify the emotions you were feeling leading up to it and think about the events that may have contributed to it.
What happened the day before? Have the feelings been mounting for weeks or did it come on suddenly? Were you angrier in the past few days? Sad or a little blue? Were there particular events that were the last straw and drained your last bit of patience? Again- writing it down or just thinking about it helps. That way, later on if you are feeling the same emotions, you can be aware of them and step back, and go through the process to avoid feeling burnt out.
In my experience when I am feeling burnt out, it seems like a long time coming. The feeling has been building for weeks and so has my guilt for feeling resentment or any negative emotions. I mean I get to stay home and experience every joyous moment of my child’s life- shouldn’t I be loving this? I do love it but I also get frustrated and even miss aspects of working outside the home. And you know what? It’s okay to feel that way. I have never felt such joy and love as that I am given from my son. I also sometimes resent that I am the one changing every diaper, cleaning every mess, and drying every tear. And I have every right to feel that way. Good things- the best things- come with negative emotions too. But you know what? I would not change it for the World. I have just learned to acknowledge when I am starting to feel burnt out and work through my emotions.
3.) Talk about it with someone.
Anyone- your spouse, your mother, a friend, or a fellow mom. Talking with a mom friend lifts so much weight off of you. Chances are she has felt the same thing and sharing it with each other makes you both feel lighter. Because you aren’t alone. We have all been there and probably will be again. Because- twilight zone.
4.) Give yourself a break and practice some self care.
Something I have always struggled with is asking for help when I need it. There are so many people that would be more than happy to give me an hour of me time by watching my child if I really need it. Don’t feel comfortable asking a friend or family member to help out with the kids? Invest in yourself and pay a babysitter for an hour. Trust me, that $10 will be worth it and will help you feel more refreshed.
There are also little things I like to do for myself every day while my son is asleep like take a hot shower, give myself a pedicure, or relax with a face mask on. If you need a nap- take it. The laundry will wait, and the pile of toys on the floor will be there when your kids wake up (even if you put it away for the fifth time today). Use every minute of time you get to the things that make you feel refreshed. If that includes cleaning up a bit, try and do that too. During nap time or after I put my son to bed, I like to do at least one thing for me, at least one thing for the house, and at least one thing for my businesses. Some days I get less done than others. And you know what- that is okay. The most important thing is taking care of your kids- and taking care of yourself makes you a better parent.
5.) Think about the good things too.
Give yourself a minute before bed to think of everything you are thankful for that happened that day. Think of the moments that made you smile. The greatest joy I feel is when I see my son happy. I think of all the times he smiled that day. I praise God for giving me another day to be his Momma and for giving me the ability to shape my feelings and my outlook on life. Be happy for the good things, they very rarely come without some drawbacks as well. In the end, I would rather have the good with the bad than nothing at all.
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