First of all, this is not a piece about bubble baths and spa days, although they are important too. Instead, the focus is on dealing with mom burnout on a level you are probably not used to. As women are 28% more likely to feel mom burnout, it’s necessary to know how to at least prevent it or pull yourself out of it if you get there. There is no right way to start the parenting journey or answer its associated questions. But hopefully, the tips below can help you recover from any burnout you may experience.
According to research, more than 50% of mothers refuse to admit burnout when they experience it. Experts say this is due to the mindset that motherhood is tough. In other words, anything that elevates parental stress is considered ‘normal’ and to be expected. Due to this mindset, many women, especially mothers, do not recognize burnout or simply fail to admit it. However, acknowledging it alone is a positive action that helps you take steps to alleviate the situation.
The process of admitting burnout can be tricky if you have no idea what it entails. Therefore, here are some pointers to provide insight. First of all, mom burnout may manifest as a constant mood swing that never seems to go away. Secondly, you may start to feel overwhelmed with the enormity of house chores to be done in a day, hours, or mere minutes. You may feel an emotional disconnection from your partner and your kids. Additionally, nothing seems to give you joy as it used to. All you want to do is curl up in a corner and breathe. Does that sound familiar? If you answered yes, those are some signs of mom burnout.
Dedicate time and space to yourself
Mothers worldwide crave a day when everything they do would be for them, alone. This is where a cheat day may be useful. This can be a special day or a weekend where you get to eat anything you want, sleep your head off, read a book without interruptions, etc. The exciting part is you get to do all these from the comfort of home. It is a good idea to have a special space within your home where you can spend some ‘me time’ doing the things you love. It could be an equivalent of a man cave, and you can learn more about these ‘she sheds.’
Avoid comparing your motherhood style with others
If you want to recover from mom burnout, you can start from within. This includes avoiding comparing your parenting style with others. The truth is everyone raises their children differently, and several factors influence this. For example, a mom with a long list of nannies may not feel the same level of burnout as one without them. The problem with such comparisons is that it deflates your emotions and makes you second guess every move you make. While this is unhealthy for you, it can be even more detrimental to your family, especially the kids.
You will find it helpful to learn to be content with your parenting style. If you feel unsatisfied with your role and style, you can learn more from books or online educational materials. The secret, however, is to learn to weave your personality into your parenting style. That can be a great way to adapt to a style you and your family can live with.
Define your values and who you want to be
When you plan to recover from mom burnout, you can start by redefining your parenting values. For instance, do you entertain unrealistic expectations about running the perfect home? If you do, it may be time to accept that there is no ‘perfect’ home. Indeed, your role as a parent may naturally draw an inherent need to be perfect, but you have to apply the brakes. Nobody learns how to parent because they were born with the talent to do so. Instead, it is a lifelong journey of learning the ropes and taking lessons from mistakes. Being realistic is the guiding principle here.
Let go of guilt
First and foremost, every mom feels guilty at some point in their parenting life. Guilt may arise because you feel you deserve some ‘me time’ to rejuvenate and feel like yourself again. According to a Health Line article, guilty feelings are quite normal in motherhood. The caution, however, is to avoid letting them linger for too long. Feelings of guilt may be due to personal insecurities, hidden mental health issues, or societal pressure.
So, when you deliberately make time for yourself away from the kids, you can do so without repressed feelings. Anything else you can do to take your mind away (even if momentarily) from the parenting stress is welcome. This, therefore, leads to the next point.
Appreciate the good moments
According to parents with older children, this is one of the great moments to cherish. Appreciating the beautiful memories spent with your children can play a significant role in how quickly you recover from mom burnout. These are like your recharge points, and you can rely on them in your down moments. No matter how difficult parenting can be, you cannot deny the interspersed moments of laughter, joy, and togetherness. These are moments that strengthen the bond between you and your family.
One thing you must learn on your motherhood journey is setting boundaries. Learning to say ‘no’ can spare you the headache of doing everything simultaneously. Admittedly, it can be liberating to say ‘no’ to a request you know isn’t necessary for the time being. It protects your mental health and helps to conserve your energy levels, too. As a parent, one thing you can give yourself is protecting your mental and emotional health. It must be a continuous process that ensures you are in the right frame to be efficient in your parenting role.
Mom burnout is real and not made up, as some will have you believe. So, whenever you notice the signs, hopefully, you can take a breather and take proactive steps to recover from it.