3 Warning Signs of Mommy Burnout
The Joy of Motherhood
There's nothing like seeing that little face for the first time. This brand new child is now dependent on you to raise them to be empathetic and capable people who contribute to society. It's a huge challenge and mothers so beautifully accept it. Any loving mom willingly vows to devote herself to this new life—constant sacrifice and selflessness for her child, and the reward is immeasurable. An overwhelming amount of love fills her heart when her child smiles.
These are beautiful moments mothers treasure.
Moments that take the breath out of our lungs and smile.
But these moments aren't the only ones. There are also some less then beautiful moments. The kind that accompany toddler tantrums, massive blow outs, endless sibling quarrels, and wading though rivers of toys, dirty laundry and who knows what else (an old banana maybe?).
Many mothers are afraid to admit that these moments can sometimes be draining and eventually start to overshadow the good times.
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When beautiful moments start to blur you can bet that you're beginning to burn out if you're not there already.
Mommy Burnout is a point in which you feel like you have nothing left to give despite the fact that your child(ren) still require you to do so. It's seemingly permanent exhaustion, unhappiness, feelings of disappointment in yourself and with your life, and an overwhelming urge to just escape. Anywhere.
You find yourself being short-tempered, cranky, unfulfilled and maybe even bitter.
The Warning Signs
There are warning signs that begin to integrate into your everyday life that can cue you on when you're about to hit mommy burn out. Recognizing these can help you take the steps necessary to getting back on the right track and implementing some good self-care habits.
- You're waking up TIRED
- Taking care of your kids is beginning to feel like a chore
- You begin to expect awful days
You're Waking up TIRED
Sleeping is supposed to be restful; a time for your body to recharge and do some basic damage repair from everyday life. If you're going to sleep at night exhausted and then waking up feeling as if you haven't slept at all, it could be that something is interrupting your sleep but also that you might be approaching burnout. Stress doesn't just keep your mind wired right before falling asleep, it can affect how well you sleep and then cause fatigue during the day as well. This leads to a vicious cycle of constant exhaustion and then make mommy burnout worse. Your mind and body are sending you a warning signal that sleep isn't enough and it's time to start adding in some additional self-care routines.
Taking Care of Your Kids Feel Like a Chore
While caring for your children can be a hassle every now and then, it might be a sign of burnout when every single day you're feeling like motherhood is a chore. This has nothing to do with how much you love your children, however. Mommy guilt is good a making us believe that being stressed about our children and our devotion to them is correlated. When you begin to feel like motherhood is a chore, it's just a sign that you're burning out and it's only natural to stop enjoying things when you're overwhelmed and tired. The demands of motherhood are draining and you can easily drown in them if you're not careful.
A simple question you can ask yourself? On a scale from 1-10, how often do you feel like you're building a relationship with your child vs just taking care of them?
You're Expecting Awful Days
If you're waking up ready and prepared for the day to be awful, soul-sucking and just horribly draining you're close (or probably already) burned out. It's hard to avoid this, especially if your child is being particularly challenging or life threw something unexpected at you, but your mindset is important. Why? Because the energy you output will surely return.
Imagine having unwanted guests you feel like you can't avoid. When you have an inkling of an idea that a guest is going to stop by, you might start preparing for their visit, might as well suck it up and be ready right? So when you're waking up waiting for a draining day essentially, you make room for negativity and invite it in. You know you're burned out when you stop attempting to avoid bad days and just embrace them.
It's important to know it's okay to become overwhelmed and it's okay to take some time to care for you. There's no need to feel guilty for doing something for yourself.
There's a popular meme circulating about motherhood that says "if you're going crazy you're doing it right". I beg to differ. Parenting doesn't have to be a whirlwind of fighting for your sanity. The notion that we need to be going crazy in order to be a good parent is crazy.
Take time to care for yourself! A happier you makes a happier household anyway!
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Fair Warning Though
Motherhood takes a lot of work so even if I spend a whole day relaxing and getting some bonus solo time for myself if I've been pushing myself way too hard for an extended time period or been neglecting myself in some way, I know I could still come home feeling all three of those warning signs. Sometimes, a day of self-pampering isn't going to be enough. As a matter of fact- I don't think is is in general.
If you get a day of self-care in, bravo! But the key to beating mommy burnout is remembering self-care involves taking care of ALL facets of yourself. That's mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. This means self-care is going to be a journey. Ever changing and fluid as you grow, as your needs change, and as your seasons in motherhood come and go. It has to be a regular part of your life and you need to make sure that even if you're getting a nice bubble bath in occasionally, are you meeting other needs like expressing yourself creatively or setting goals for yourself? If not, you might still feel yourself burning out.
You have to make sure that at the end of the day, you're going to bed happy with the direction your life is going and happy with who you are. This doesn't mean every day is perfect, but generally if someone asked you "are you happy with your life" your genuine answer is yes. You feel it in your heart and not just saying "I'm happy" to keep the conversation from getting awkward.
What can you do?
One thing I like to do is keep note of how I'm feeling on a regular basis in a journal. It's a simple chart that's color coded and at the end of the day I fill in the color associated with how I felt for the majority of the day. This helps me keep track of when I'm more vulnerable to mommy burnout, as well as identify some things that might be stressing me out. From there I can decide on what I need to do to help me feel happier and less stressed out and make sure I'm keeping in tune with how I'm truly feeling.
For example, I noticed for a while I was having pretty rotten, rushed days and those all correlated to the days when I was waking up late and trying to usher my son and myself out the door in a 20-minute time frame. This, in turn, affected everything else in my day, from feeling like my son was needy to my work breaks not coming soon enough. To keep that stress from completely sapping my good vibes and burning me out, I made a choice to wake up waaay earlier despite not being a morning person.
When it comes to mommy burnout, at the end of the day, it's all about maintaining your well-being so you have the energy and willpower to give all the motherhood demands from you and receive all the beautiful benefits of being a motherhood in return.
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