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Learn the best ways to cope with mom burnout when life feels challenging!
You know mom life is getting overwhelming when you find yourself
hiding taking an extra long time in the bathroom just to get a break.
Or going to the grocery store alone feels like a vacation.
And bedtime either means falling asleep the second your head hits the pillow because you’re exhausted or lying awake for hours with your mind racing as you ponder your never-ending to-do list.
I see you and you’re not alone.
I’ve totally been there and so have many other moms.
It’s this nasty little thing called burnout and it happens to even the best of moms who are trying to do it all.
What Is Mom Burnout?
Burnout isn’t a medical condition or a disease. The World Health Organization defines it as a syndrome resulting from chronic stress.
It’s characterized by three things:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job
- Reduce professional efficiency
The WHO specifically uses burnout in the context of the workplace and says it shouldn’t be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life. But I beg to differ.
Because if you’ve ever suffered from mom burnout, you know it’s a totally real thing. And according to at least one survey, 97% of millennial moms admit to being burned out at least some of the time.
So what does it even mean?
In a nutshell, mom burnout is the feeling that you’re 100% done. Parenting’s been great and all but you gotta go.
It’s that sense of being completely drained mentally, physically and emotionally because you just can’t anymore.
I’ve dealt with single mom burnout so I know it exists. And also I know that there are ways to deal with it so it doesn’t take over your life and make you feel like a Momzilla.
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Mom Burnout Symptoms
The first step in beating mom burnout is knowing what it looks like and feels like.
And if you’re so busy or exhausted that you feel like a mombie most days you may not even realize you’re burned out.
So here’s what being an overwhelmed stay at home mom, work at home mom or working mom can trigger when it comes to burnout:
- You have trouble falling asleep at night or you fall asleep easily but wake up multiple times
- No matter how much sleep you get you always feel exhausted when you wake up
- Getting out of bed requires serious motivation and lots of coffee
- It’s hard for you to focus on simple tasks, like making a grocery list or doing laundry
- You find yourself getting irritated by the smallest things
- You’re never hungry anymore or you’re eating all the time
- Things that used to interest you don’t anymore
- You’re too tired to play with your kids or give them your full attention when they ask for it
- You never seem to make progress on your to-do list, which makes you feel worse
- You’re short-tempered with your kids and spouse/partner
Mom burnout can make you feel all these things. And in some cases, it’s more than just burnout at work.
You might be depressed and that’s an entirely different thing.
And if you think that you might be at all depressed, it’s important to reach out to your spouse, a parent, a sibling or a friend to get help. You can also try these resources for finding help.
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Why It Sucks to Be an Overwhelmed Stay at Home Mom
Being a burned-out mom, whether you stay at home or work outside the home, is pretty crappy for two reasons.
First, you don’t get to be the mom you want to be. Because you’re just too tired or angry or too-something to make it all work.
Every day feels like a chore instead of a joy because you’re constantly moving from one thing to the next without a break.
Your spouse and kids put pressure on you to get things done, without even realizing it. Or you put the pressure on yourself.
And at some point, it’s easy to get resentful of it.
This leads to the second reason SAHM burnout sucks: mom guilt.
Moms are frequently told we need to live this Pinterest-perfect lifestyle and do all the things. And if you can’t do them all then well, you’re just a mom fail.
It is so easy to let mom guilt and mom shame seep in. But when you do, it can just make mommy burnout even worse.
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How to Cope With Mommy Burnout
Okay, so now that you know what SAHM burnout is and looks like it’s time to figure out how to fight it.
Here are 10 ways to manage burnout as a busy mom when life is overwhelming.
1. Rethink your expectations
Unrealistic expectations about what it means to be a good mom can lead to burnout.
Because honestly, if you’re trying to be the perfect mom every day then you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
So think about what your expectations are for yourself as a mom. And ask yourself whether that’s doable for where you are right now.
For example, I would love to make amazing gourmet meals for my kids every night but I’m not ashamed to say our meal plan sometimes includes frozen pizza.
If you want to get out of the burnout cycle or avoid it altogether, you have to be willing to let go of unrealistic goals. And don’t waste time aiming for perfect motherhood.
2. Find your stress triggers
Figuring out what stresses you out the most as a busy mom is another effective way to deal with burnout.
Your stressors could be big things, like worrying about your finances, or smaller things like your kids’ toys constantly being scattered everywhere.
Keeping a journal is a good way to figure out what’s stressing you out each day.
Grab a notebook and document your days for one week. Write down everything that happens and how it makes you feel.
That can clue you in to the situations that might be triggering your feelings of burnout.
And from there, you can work on finding solutions for making those things less overwhelming.
3. Get routines in place
Mom routines can be a life-saver for managing burnout.
A solid morning routine can help you get the day started on the right foot.
And an evening routine can help you wind down for better sleep.
If you don’t have any routines at all, then each day may feel like you’re walking into chaos.
So look at how you spend your time each day and work on creating a schedule that you and your family can stick to. That one simple trick can make your days go much smoother so you don’t feel so frazzled all the time.
4. Make your health a priority
As busy moms, it’s so easy to let health go right out the window.
But if you do, you’ll end up paying the price sooner or later.
So as you work on managing mom burnout, don’t forget to include healthy habits like:
- Eating foods that give you energy and avoiding the junk
- Getting better sleep (Tip: consider upgrading your mattress if your old one is worn out)
- Drink more water and cut out soda or caffeine
- Make exercise part of your daily routine
- Set a realistic weight loss goal if you think you could stand to lose a few pounds (And if you need some motivation, you can get paid to lose weight with HealthyWage!)
- Include yoga or meditation in your daily routine
- Get regular check-ups with your doctor and dentist
All of these are small things but they can give you a huge physical and mental health boost when you’re fighting the burnout beast.
5. Plan ahead
Having a plan can make every day so much easier to deal with, especially if you’re burned out.
So think about ways you can save yourself time by planning ahead.
For example, you could:
- Start meal planning if you aren’t doing that already
- Get on a weekly or monthly cleaning schedule
- Automate your finances so you’re paying bills and saving money without having to think about it
- Setting up appointment reminders in your calendar
- Making your daily to-do list the night before
Again, these are all really small things you can do to get your busy mom life in order. But they’re so helpful if you’re trying to become more of an organized mom and less of a hot mess mom.
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6. Outsource and delegate
You can try to do it all as a stay home mom or work at home mom. But if you do, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get on the fast track to mommy burnout.
So here’s what you have to do: bite the bullet and ask for help.
I know that’s hard to do; I’m pretty terrible at it most of the time.
But asking for help can relieve stress and it doesn’t make you a terrible mom either.
So ask your spouse to make dinner or handle running errands you hate. Get your kids to pitch in with making dinner or cleaning up. If you can afford it, hire someone to do things you really don’t have time for, like lawn care.
Do whatever you have to do to take some of the burden off yourself.
7. Just say no
If you’re a ‘yes woman’ it’s time to break that habit.
I’m guilty of it myself and all saying yes does is wear you out that much faster.
So start saying no instead.
For example, if you’re a work at home mom running a business that could mean saying no to clients or assignments that aren’t worth your time.
If you’re a stay at home mom, it could mean saying no to things that drain your time and energy like joining the PTA or volunteering to be the snack mom for your kids’ sports teams.
And it might mean saying no to friends and family or even your own kids when they’re asking for something that would put you at your limit.
Saying no isn’t easy but if you always say yes to everything, that’s an easy way to end up even more burned out.
8. Take a break
Every so often, you just need a break.
And not a hide-in-the-closet-eating-chocolate-or-take-a-bubble-bath-break.
I mean like a real mom-cation where you can hand over all of your responsibilities to someone else for a little while.
For example, there’s an abbey a few hours away from me that offers weekend spiritual retreats for women. You can stay there for three days and you don’t have to talk to anyone. Pure bliss.
But if you can’t get away for days, you can still work time-outs into your schedule.
One simple way to do this if you have smaller kids at home is to institute a daily rest hour.
During this house, your kids can play in their rooms quietly while you lie down or meditate.
If you’re used to a noisy house all the time, having this one hour of quiet time a day can work wonders for your mental health. And it’s a simple way to reset in the middle of a busy mom day and recharge your energy.
9. Don’t give in to mom guilt
Mom guilt, mom shame–whatever you want to call it–is not your friend.
So if you’re struggling with mom burnout, the most important thing you can do to help yourself is to not let the guilt get to you.
Create some positive affirmations or a mantra you can repeat to yourself when you feel the guilt creeping in.
Keep a daily gratitude journal where you can record all of your mom wins.
When your kids or spouse or anyone tells you you’re a good mom, believe them and don’t brush it off.
And most important of all, remember that the perfect mom doesn’t exist.
Favorite Tools For Dealing With SAHM Burnout
If you’re looking for some helpful resources for managing mom burnout, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite things for you.
Stray Curls Self Care Planner
Stray Curls is just about one of the cutest blogs ever and it’s also packed with great content if you’re interested in learning how to blog for money.
But besides that, blog runner Angela also put together this adorable self care planner to help you get centered and focused.
At just $7, it’s a steal so go grab your copy and start getting zen!
Big eBook Bundle from Resilient
The Resilient blog is a go-to place for motivation and inspiration. You can find plenty of self care ideas here, along with quotes to help you feel more resilient when life gets stressful.
The Big eBook Bundle is a collection of the best self care tools from Resilient you can use to deal with mom burnout, including:
- 30 Day Negativity Detox ebook
- Slow it Down ebook
- 365 Recovery Tips ebook
- Self Care Planner ebook + daily planner
- Figure Out Your Life videos and worksheets
- Recovery Diary ebook
- Your Best Life Planner
Everything that’s included can help you get back on track if you’re feeling burned out or stuck as a mom.
Ultimate Mini Self Care Bundle
I’ve talked about Ultimate Bundles here before (check out this post if you’re looking for some amazing productivity tools!) and I just love them.
You get a ton of resources for a super-low price which is great if you’re a one-income family.
The Self Care Mini Bundle is one of my favorite resources for stressed-out moms.
When you buy the bundle, you get:
- 8 eCourses and membership sites
- 5 eBooks
- 9 printables and workbooks
And it’s all for under $30 bucks, which is less than what you’d spend on a mani/pedi or a new haircut.
This self care bundle includes a ton of great stuff from some of my favorite mommy bloggers so be sure to check it out!
What are your best cures for mom burnout?
Do you have a go-to method for dealing with stress when life gets to be too much as a busy mom?
Are you using any of the self care tools mentioned here?
Head to the comments and tell me about it. While you’re here, be sure to sign for the Busy Mom Vault to download your free Self Care Workbook!
And of course, don’t forget to pin and share this post!