Every mom out there knows what I mean when I say mom burnout. Sometimes you just wake up one day and think to yourself “I don’t want to mom today”. Then, of course, you immediately feel mom guilt – but that’s a topic for another day. Today I want to focus on avoiding the problem to begin with. Rather than reacting to the stress after it happens, these 5 ways to avoid mom burnout can give you the preventative tools you need to “mom” every day.
5 Ways to Avoid Mom Burnout
Meet Your Basic Needs
I recently wrote an entire post about human needs and how they apply to moms, but I won’t go into quite as much detail here. In short, you need to take care of yourself physically. This doesn’t have to be complicated. The three most important things to consider are sleep, food, and exercise.
If you don’t get enough sleep, everything else will suffer eventually. You may feel great the first time you stay up late and get a lot done, sacrificing hours of sleep. But give it a couple more days and it will undoubtedly catch up to you. Before you tackle any other area of self-care, try getting some rest. If you aren’t getting enough, making that one change can make a really big difference in the rest of your day. If you’re little one is not on a good sleep schedule yet, you might want to try some methods to get this on track. See Why I Chose a Parent-Led Schedule Here.
Of course, we all need food to survive. But we need healthy, nourishing food to feel good. Not only does eating healthy help with managing weight and health related issues, but it will make you feel better mentally as well. Blood sugar spikes are the number one cause of a bad day for me. I know that sounds silly. but it’s no joke! Now that my husband and I have been on the ketogenic diet for some time (low-carb, high=fat), I can see the way that carbs affect me. I’ve even noticed that we tend to get in more arguments on cheat days, usually a little while after we have a lot of carbs. Coming down from that sugar high can really take a toll on your mood. Not to mention, you might just lose some weight! I’ve lost almost 20 pounds by following just 5 Food Fundamentals.
Exercise is another big mood-booster. For years, I would complain that I didn’t have time to exercise. Turns out, not only did I have time (looking back after becoming a mom), but I was looking at it all wrong! I usually wanted to exercise for weight loss reasons, which I thought meant doing a crazy amount of cardio. After doing some research before starting my current weight loss plan, I discovered that exercise is not really the most important factor in weight loss. Diet is definitely king in the weight loss world (the right diet). Upon this discovery, I changed my outlook on exercise and it made things a lot easier. Exercise can be anything from going for a brisk walk, to dancing around the house in your underwear while cleaning (I might have done this a time or two). Just get moving and you will feel better!
To avoid mom burnout, you have to occasionally take a break from being a mom! It can be tough to allow yourself a break when you feel like there is so much else to be done, but I promise it’s worth it. Taking some time for yourself can provide just enough mental clarity to boost your productivity for the rest of the day. If you keep going in mom-mode full speed for too long and you reach the burnout stage, I can assure you, more time will be wasted that the amount of time you would have spent on some good old R&R.
Mom time doesn’t have to be anything fancy (although it can be!). You can take 15 minutes to meditate or read a book. Perhaps your husband can watch the little one(s) while you leisurely stroll through target, or get a relaxing pedicure. My favorite mom time activity is to take a weekend morning off now and then. Whether my son spends the night at my parents the night before, or my husband simply takes on baby duty, there’s nothing quite like waking up when my body tells me to, laying there for a bit longer and then enjoying a hot shower without any responsibilities. I probably only set things back by 30 minutes when it all comes down to it, but I end up feeling happier and more productive for the rest of the day,
Check out my Post on Mom Time: 5 Reasons Why You Deserve a Break
If you have too much on your plate, you’re going to get burnt out – it’s inevitable. It may take longer for some than others, but it’s going to happen. So what do you do? As my dad says when I ask him for advice on how to do it all, “something has to suffer”. It doesn’t mean you completely ignore an important task, it means that you make it a lower priority. For example, if you are working hard to get your house ready for family coming into town and your baby gets sick, you re-prioritize. You do this without a second thought. Cleaning the kitchen will have to wait when your baby needs to go to the doctor.
Somehow, it’s easy to change your priorities when it’s about someone else, particularly your baby. But when it comes to rearranging things to suit your own needs, that’s tough. It’s hard to convince yourself to put off cleaning the kitchen because you need some mom time, or some extra sleep. I don’t know if it’s a biological response of some kind, but all too often, when a woman becomes a mother she takes on the role of supporting everyone else’s needs but her own. The only way to combat this is to make yourself a priority. Sure, you will still always place your baby’s needs ahead of yours, but you shouldn’t feel bad about taking 30 minutes to yourself instead of getting in an extra load of laundry.
Often times, a burnout is a direct result of feeling overwhelmed by the lack of structure. This can easily be remedied with some simply organization. No, I’m not talking about de-cluttering your closet (although that might also bring you a sense of relief). I’m talking about organizing your day-to-day. Get a planner or a notebook and hash it all out on paper. This process does two wonderful things for you:
- You get all your thoughts and stressors out of your head and on paper. There is something therapeutic about writing down your thoughts. While you haven’t erased them from your mind completely, writing them down seems to lessen the burden. It can also help you to clarify what your stressors really are, or what it is that’s holding you back from accomplishing your goals
- Writing things out allows you to determine what’s really important. You have a lot floating around in that mom brain of yours. Does it really do you any good to stress about what college your son might be able to get into when he’s only 12 months old? Maybe mastering Montessori methods doesn’t need to be the top priority when you’re struggling to be emotionally available to your kids. Mom’s are always trying to do it all, and we just can’t. The ones who claim they can are either lying or they have some seriously easy goals. It’s a miracle that I get a shower in everyday – there’s just no way I’m going to have a chance to dress my son up for an Instagram photo shoot that gives off the impression that our daily lives are perfect.
Stay at Home Moms – Check out my related post: 10 Ways to be an Organized Stay at Home Mom (with FREE Printables)
If you haven’t already picked up on the theme here, I’m trying to tell you that you can’t do it all. I hate to say it, because I am an optimistic, driven woman who often falls into the same trap, but you can’t. I can’t. No one can. You might be able to do most of it, but even then, you might not be doing a really great job at any one thing. If you’ve already prioritized and organized and you still have too much on your plate, it’s time to get some help.
Can your parents help out with some childcare while you get caught up on a couple of things? Or would they be willing to pay for a service for you that would take care of something? (cleaning service, weekly meal delivery, etc.). The important thing here is to not let pride stand in your way. Despite what her Facebook Wall may show, Stephanie is not a perfect mom, nor is Samantha. They can’t do it all either. I can assure you, anyone who appears to be doing it all has help, or they have completely lost their mind by now and it’s only a matter of time before the results are apparent.
Alright ladies, now it’s time to do what you need to do. Meet your basic needs, take some time for yourself, prioritize, re-organize and ask for help! Mom Burnout is a thing of the past. You got this!
What other tips do YOU have for avoiding mom burnout? Let me know in the comments below!
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