Have you ever heard anyone telling you something along the lines of: “How could you ever get tired of your kids? You’re their parent!” or “Kids are a blessing. Be grateful!”?
If the answer is yes, you’re in the right spot.
What you’ve most likely been experiencing – and needing someone to try to understand it – was a mom burnout. A normal, common occurrence in a life of every parent.
Why isn’t this talked about more, though? Why aren’t there thousands of books and guides on how to avoid feeling this way? I mean, in a way, there are – but no one refers to it this way. The harshest words you’ll find out there are overwhelm and anxiety. But burnout, a word that literally describes a parent who’s had it with their kids and can’t bear it no more? Who in the world would want to be presented to the society in such a way?
As per usual, in my blog posts, you’ll find me talking about these harsh truths that tend to be stuffed under the carpet. Not baby-proofing the house? Mourning the life you’ve had before the baby? Allowing a child some screen time? I’m no stranger to dabbing into the controversy.
Here’s another truth: moms feel the burnout. We’re especially susceptible to it these days, as I’m writing this – the infamous COVID19 quarantine has managed to put a spotlight on our best, and our worst, parenting skills. Regardless of it, though, there are times when we feel stressed out, exhausted, and just want to shut ourselves away – from the noise our kids make, from the arguments with our partners, from the housework we don’t have the time for.
How do we avoid – or at least limit our burnout? How do we make our days more manageable, while truly enjoying the time we spend with our families? Here are some of the tips I’ve put into my daily practice – so far, they’ve worked!
Find the time for yourself.
This is increasingly more difficult as your family gets bigger and bigger – the more kids you’ve got, the less time there is for you (until you eventually end up being awake 24/7, tending to at least one of them at all times, right?). However, it’s crucial for you to create at least 30 minutes in your daily schedule just for you and your mental health. Make sure your family members are on the same page – everyone needs to respect it and be aware of it. If the kids object, explain to them that you need that time to be the best mom that you usually are! I’m sure everyone will be motivated by that!
Get your partner to step in.
It’s okay to admit to your partner you’re feeling burnout. The sooner you do, the sooner it’ll be recognized as a thing – which is what’s really best for everyone. When that happens, have your closest family members step in and take over for a while. If you continue with trying to take care of everyone while being low yourself, everyone loses. Come back to your duties as soon as you’re feeling ready to take over again – regardless of whether you need five minutes, an hour, or more.
Learn the power of NO.
A mom is a lot more than “just” a person who created life – she’s a judge, decision maker, manager, appointment scheduler, grocery shopper, nurse, referee, housemaid, chef and plenty other things. Moms get dragged around and stretched in many different directions on a daily basis.
I know it’s hard. Sleep is often underestimated, especially when you’ve got about a billion things to do and you’ve got no clue where to start when kids go to bed. Trust me, though – nothing is more important than you going to bed at a decent time, too. Tomorrow is a new day – your kids are getting enough sleep to be super active since the early morning. Would you rather survive, or walk around like a mombie all day? No job is more important than keeping your tiny humans alive!
Do your best to eat well.
Trust me, I know first-hand how tempting it is to grab the first thing you can get your hands on and run off to catch up on chores, or be with kids. Please, please, for your own and everybody else’s good – take great care of yourself. Food is the fuel for your body – choose the quality, long lasting one, regardless of the circumstances. Empty carbs that’ll fill you up for the next half an hour don’t fall into that category!
Do date nights – at least once a week.
It may not have to do much with the actual burnout, but trust me – having an occasional glass of wine, your favorite takeout and a great movie can go a long way! You may stay up later that night, but it’ll all be worth it the next day – you’ll feel fresh and ready to take on new challenges!
Even if it’s a couple of push-up series spread throughout the day, or a quick run in the neighborhood – it’s well worth it! You’ll feel a bit tired for the moment, but way more energized once your blood starts pumping!
Let kids do things on their own.
Do you often find yourself over-momming and doing things your children should be able to themselves? If the answer is yes (for me, this is a big issue from time to time!), try to figure out where you’re overstepping – and teach your little ones how to do stuff (or remind them that they know how to). You’ll be a lot less overwhelmed, and your child will gain some extra confidence for performing independent tasks!
Stop chasing perfection.
It doesn’t exist and it can’t be done. The sooner this sinks in, the better. You, your family and your partner are all imperfect – life is all about trying to make the best of what you’ve got. If you’re continuously trying to make everything perfect, you’ll make yourself miserable – and that stage is highly contagious for everyone around you!
What’s the one thing that helps you avoid burnout? Write in the comments! I can’t wait to get more tips on this!