As regular commenter Stephanie recently wrote, as Mother’s Day approaches, she’s seeing more and more posts on social media bemoaning being a mom.
It’s a common phrase, “Being a mom is hard.” And for sure, there can be hard moments. But if you find yourself feeling it’s hard most of the time, chances are you may be a burned out mommy.
Many times it isn’t the mom part, as much as it is being spread too thin otherwise. Take a look at your schedule, are there some things on it that you feel you “have” to do when really they could be optional? Ask what you could pare back to take some of the pressure off.
If you are a working mom, chances are that alone may be pushing you over the edge. Over the past few generations it has become the norm that most moms are also working moms. Basically that’s like working two jobs. No wonder these moms are so stressed out! If this sounds all to familiar, it might be time to reexamine. Before you say you can’t afford it, ask yourself what it is costing you, your kids, and your relationship to continue. Could you work less? Cut back on expenses? There are many articles on this topic online, and you might be amazed to find after you subtract out what it’s costing you to be a working mom, you aren’t really earning as much money as you thought. In any case, this is not meant to add guilt. Rather it’s meant to relieve it — maybe it’s not YOU, maybe it’s that you are trying to do too much?
Likewise, things like extracirricular activities and sports can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. You may feel like your kids NEED to do these things, but I would bet they would rather not do so much if that meant having more quality time with you and a happier, less stressed out mom! When such activities aren’t fun anymore, it may be a sign to take a break.
Maybe you are a stay at home mom? In this case, one reason I see moms getting burned out is because they spend TOO much time at home. If this is the case, look into low cost kid-friendly activities in your area. Getting out of the house to go to story time at the library or the local park doesn’t cost anything, but it helps break up monotony and not only gets your kids around other kids, you’ll find yourself meeting new people who you might share common interests with. Sometimes just packing up cranky kids and going for a drive can be enough to snap everyone out of a bad mood. At the time it may seem like more work, but trust me it’s often a lot easier than staying home with stir crazy kiddos.
One more possible cause of mommy burnout can be a lack of planning. If you find yourself living in reaction to the day rather than feeling in control of it, this may be the cause. Sitting down once a week to map out meals, a few craft or play projects, some outings, as well as the things that need to get done like shopping and things around the house can help tame an unmanageable schedule. Knowing where your day is going right from the start can take a lot of stress off and help make sure all that needs to get done is, and that there is time allotted to do so.
Likewise, remember to take time to nurture yourself. Practice good self care: Eat well, get enough rest, make sure you are moving, and do little things you love to refuel your energy tanks so you can in turn nurture others.
In the end, while it may not feel like it at the time, the years your children are living at home will pass quickly. And those years will never come again. Fill them with fun times, happy memories, joy, and play. Not only will you find more days being happy mother days, you’ll be giving your kids a gift that will pay off for life — a happy childhood.
What do you think? Do you have any suggestions or insights on coping with mommy burnout? Found ideas that worked for you? Seen other people do something different that worked well? Please share in the comments!