Ignoring the signs that you’re on the road to mom burnout could be at the cost of your physical and mental well-being. Make yourself more aware of the mom burnout symptoms so you can take action.
As moms, we’re always looking out for everyone else. We’re the ones putting the oxygen masks on our kids despite being told to take care of ourselves first. That’s why it’s so important to recognize when you’re headed down a path that isn’t good for your health.
Whether you’re a working mom, single mom, stay-at-home mom, or any other type of mom, mommy burnout is a risk.
I hope you won’t end up here. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. But it’s good to be familiar with what to look out for so you can avoid or address mom burnout and get back to being the person you know and love.
After reviewing some of the mom burnout symptoms, I’ll share ways to fight them. Save them in case you’re ever in need!
Tips are based on personal experience and should not be considered medical advice. Full disclaimer.
Mom Burnout Symptoms
1. Everything and everyone is irritating you
Every little thing is getting under your skin. You’re losing your temper more than usual, yelling at your kid or partner at the drop of the hat. You’re frequently apologizing for how you acted, and you don’t feel like your usual self.
No mother likes to act this way. It’s usually after the fact when the mom guilt hits, and you feel terrible. But it’s not your fault, because you can’t give from an empty cup.
2. You feel you have so much to do that you don’t know where to start
Moms are busy people—that is to be expected. What’s concerning is if it gets to the point where thinking about everything that isn’t done yet is paralyzing. Your mental to-do list is a mile long and is keeping you from getting anywhere.
Your mind is exhausted with everything on your plate. You might even have some physical symptoms, such as trouble sleeping or a weight pressing down on you. For me, I feel this stress in my chest the most. Others may get headaches or fatigue.
In our society, the busy mom has become synonymous with the good mom. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. All these unrealistic expectations lead to to is an exhausted mom.
3. You’re. So. Tired.
I mean, all moms are tired, right? But if you’re experiencing a persistent sluggishness and lack of energy that is affecting your ability to function, that is a sign of trouble.
Chronic stress can sap your energy. If you’re doing everything for everyone but yourself, your mental health and physical health are at risk. Extreme fatigue is something you shouldn’t have to fight against every day.
4. You can’t remember the last time you felt truly lighthearted
Are you missing the joy motherhood used to bring you? If the last time you smiled or laughed feels like a distant memory, and you’ve got more clouds than sunshine, it’s time to get back to a better place.
You might have even started having negative feelings towards motherhood. We can begin to resent the thing that is draining us if there is no form of relief. If you’ve ever had postpartum depression, this feeling may sound familiar.
5. You aren’t excited about much of anything
The days are blurring together. One doesn’t seem much different from the next. You might be getting by with the bare minimum, but nothing has you really jazzed anymore. Maybe you don’t even want to get out of bed.
You may feel like you’ve lost yourself or that the woman you used to be has disappeared. Maybe you even cringe when you hear the word “mommy,” a reminder that your child needs something AGAIN.
If some of these sound familiar, it’s time to take action. Parenting can feel all-consuming, and it’s understandable to have times of overwhelm. But you can fight against mommy burnout and get back to living a life you enjoy.
Combatting Mom Burnout
So what do you do?
Take these mom burnout signs as a cue that you need to give some attention to your mental health. Hope is not lost–with some changes, you can reduce stress and become a woman who looks after herself, not just her children.
Make changes to lighten the load
Moms so often take on the lion’s share of the mental and physical work of parenting. If you’re the default parent in your household, can you redistribute some of the load? What tasks can you delegate to others? Let it be known that mom can’t do it all, and you need some help!
Don’t feel guilty about not being able to do everything. Super mom is a myth! Let go of ideas the you had about what it is to be the perfect mother. Motherhood requires flexibility and kindness towards ourselves.
If you’re a single mom or have an overstretched partner, you can look to your circle of family and friends for some help. You’re there to support each other in life. I love to see moms supporting other moms through things like babysitting swaps or carpool groups.
Hired help may also be an option for some people.
Be sure the kids are doing their fair share of chores too!
If spreading the work around doesn’t provide enough relief, can you let go of some tasks altogether?
Do you need to lower your expectations?
Look for ways to streamline your schedule so you can reduce stress and make more time for you in your day. Get creative or cut back on family activities. Release some of the time sucks from your life and feel a weight lifted.
You deserve to be on the priority list every day.
It’s OK to say no to additional commitments going forward. It becomes easier with practice.
Make a plan for some fun
Give yourself something to look forward to. Have you planned your next vacation? What about a girl’s night or a day to yourself? Find something you can look forward to and put it on your calendar. Start small if you need to; something is better than nothing.
Do some fun things with your kids to help you feel the joy of parenting again. If you’re usually the “cruise director” in your family (finding and scheduling all the activities), is there anyone who can help play this role so you just get to show up and enjoy for once?
Also try these ways to inject joy into your day.
Things like enjoyable hobbies, meeting up with friends, and laughing can help counteract the stress in your life. They give your brain boosts of positive chemicals that brighten your mood.
Add Self-Care ASAP
You need to start carving out regular time for you. Give yourself a little break. Actually, give yourself a lot of them–whenever you can.
Self-care doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It just needs to be something that nourishes you, whether it be meditation, reading, journaling, or a relaxing bath. See these self-care ideas.
Self-care also means making sure your basic needs are met. Are you feeding your body good nutrients, moving your body, drinking water, and getting enough sleep? Losing sight of these fundamentals is a recipe for mommy burnout.
Reconnect with yourself. What are your interests, goals, and passions outside of parenting? How can you bring some of those back into your life?
Remember that woman in there who exists outside of motherhood? Yes, her. Give her some love again.
Check out how to stop failing at self-care for tired moms for more tips on making sure you get enough self-care in your life.
Reach Out for Help
Talk to a loved one, friend, doctor, or therapist about how you’re feeling. It’s okay to say, “I’m not okay.” We all go through tough times. It doesn’t make you a weak person or a bad mother.
If you know something feels off, don’t ignore it. Reach out to someone you trust and tell them, “I’m having a hard time” or “I don’t feel like myself.” If you’re suffering from an episode of depression, there are options to help you get back on your feet.
Please know that by recognizing mom burnout symptoms and working on positive changes, there will be brighter days ahead. You can reduce overwhelm and get back to feeling enjoyment from life and being a mother again. Take note of these signs and take action.
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