How To Identify Mommy Burnout & 10+ Helpful Tips to Overcome Burnout

Imagine yelling at your child for something simple because you can’t think without being interrupted and you’re exhausted.

Maybe you’ve been there before? I know I have and it isn’t a good feeling.

After yelling you realized it wasn’t that big of a deal and that you overreacted. Now you feel guilty for behaving that way towards your child who simply asked you a question.

Insert –>Mommy Burnout

In this post you’ll learn:

  1. What mommy burnout is
  2. Signs of mommy burnout
  3. Tips to help you overcome mommy burnout

Sometimes it can present itself in ways that make you feel annoyed, angry, and even resentful towards your child, leaving you feeling guilty for wanting a moment to yourself. Ain’t that some shit.

Woman with head in her hands

I’ve experienced burn out myself, so I know that these are true feelings. I’ve also learned that sometimes it’s okay for me to FEEL like this because I’m human after all.

But the reality is that I WAS BURNT OUT. And that’s not okay.

I’m sure there are other moms out there that are familiar with this.

Because let’s be real, it happens. Sometimes as moms we don’t have help (or welcome the help) or get a break from our children. And let’s be super honest, it’s not just us single moms. Even mothers who are married can have the same issue! Some husbands or significant others don’t always help out the way we would like or the way we expect them to (but we are not talking about expectations today – but I will say that having expectations will leave you disappointed. I learned the hard way).

It’s 2022 and I have been home with my daughter since March or April of 2020. That’s well over two years. And she is only about to be 4.   To add some context, I used to work in public accounting, so month end close, quarter end, and other assignments that really required my attention and hard deadlines spread me very thin while also having her home. Saying it was challenging was an understatement. I can’t imagine how it may have been or is for mommies with multiple children at home and working full-time especially with toddlers and newborns.

Disclaimer: I am currently facing mommy burnout at the time of writing this, spare me.

What is mommy burnout?

I decided to Google mommy burnout after realizing my behavior and I was ready for it to be over. I needed to make some changes.

Do you know what mommy burnt out is? According to Today.com,

“Mommy burnout is the emotional and physical exhaustion that you feel from the chronic stress of parenting. It’s feeling like you’re over your kid sometimes,” Ziegler told Megyn Kelly TODAY. “No matter how much sleep you get, you’re always tired. And you resent your kids sometimes, which is a tough one. You feel a reduced sense of personal accomplishment — it’s a fancy way of feeling like you’re never doing a good job. The prolonged nature to it, like there’s no end in sight.”

Woman with head in her hands looking tired or stressed

Signs you may be burnt out

Below are some signs I have personally experienced

  • Feeling detached from my child
  • Irritable/on edge daily
  • Yelling or making a big deal out of small issues or mishaps (blow ups)
  • Feeling resentful towards my child
  • Wanting a break from your child all the time
  • Not connecting or spending time with them
  • Annoyed when your kid calls your name or need something

UCIhealth has a great article with a list of signs to help identify mommy burnout. After reading them, I could honestly say that I was burnt out.

  • Exhaustion — Feeling so physically, emotionally and mentally fatigued that you believe you have nothing left to give

  • Depersonalization — Feeling unmotivated, cynical, detached and disconnected from others

  • Lacking a sense of accomplishment — Feeling unproductive and ineffective

  • Poor self-care — Being unable to do what’s needed to preserve or improve your own physical and emotional health

Other signs may include:

  • Tiredness

  • Poor sleep

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Mood changes

  • Negative attitudes

  • Feelings of isolation

  • Decreased productivity

  • Physical symptoms including headaches, stomachaches, chest tightness, or hair loss

Real Life

It had only been less than 24 hours since we came back from my hometown after being there for 3 weeks, chilling, enjoying family, and getting help with my daughter.

The trip was only supposed to be for 4 days but I thought – since I am getting help and it is being offered  (which I am so grateful for) let me enjoy it! Especially since I work from home and I’m able to do so.

All it took was one night back at our place – alone and I was already back in a mood, short tempered and mad that I can’t seem to get a minute to my damn self unless it’s early morning or late at night! Wtf. I thought “Who am I?”, “Who have I become?”

Losing Yourself

Who am I? Literally I ask myself that a lot these days because I have no life outside of being a mother and that’s no bueno in itself! I don’t really have friends like that and it’s kind of hard to make new real friends when you’re older (but not old – to be clear) and have child(ren).

I felt a taste of “living my life” when I was home and had time to be alone or even go visit old friends and meet up to have a drink. It was amazing lol. Now that I’ve had that help, I’ve considered breaking my lease and moving back home for help….

Maybe that sounds crazy to someone but who cares.

It can be very tiring when you’re always trying to superwoman and be so strong! “I can do all this by myself” is bullshit! It truly takes a village. I can’t and never wanted to do it alone, and thought I could, but I’m not willing to do so at the expense of my daughter and our mental health.

I don’t want to be the cause of childhood trauma and stress especially since I’m working on healing my own childhood trauma.

I’m not sure how many people really talk about the truth. The resentment that I’ve felt makes me super guilty! Some days I thought what if I didn’t go through with the pregnancy – when some people can’t even have kids. It can make you feel like a shitty person and parent, yet it’s the truth! We are just tired and wondering how life would be without feeling crazy and always on go mode.

It’s just a temporary feeling and once we create a plan to overcome mommy burnout we can be on our way to feeling better, get back to loving motherhood and back to loving and connecting with our children.

Alternative Options

There are other options to help give you a break. School, childcare, babysitters, and nannies (which I really want) are great options for some people to provide a better balance in their home. For me personally, daycare hasn’t been the best choice because technically we are still in a pandemic, and my experience with daycares in my city overall has not been the best. My daughter isn’t school age yet either.

I’ve always wanted to homeschool my daughter, however, mommy burnout has changed my mind. The way my patience has been, I figured it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to do right now.

I have also considered bringing someone in to help facilitate it and like the idea of it, but I still need to look into the costs associated with and the time it may take to vet the person if I find them. It may be a process I need to prepare for.

Montessori school was also an option for me, but I wasn’t sure if it was currently with it because I’m not sure if I’ll stay in my current residence and state for a long time. I wasn’t willing to risk a $2,000 deposit upfront.

Being burnt out is UGLY and like I said, I know someone out there feels me and has “been there done that.”

I’ve compiled some tips I read from multiple sources like Today.com and UCIhealth.org to help overcome mommy burnout below. I recommended that you read the articles in full on their respective websites! Some tips like “ask for help” were on both lists so I didn’t add it twice.

Arrows labeled advice, help,guidance, support

Tips to Overcome Mommy Burnout

1. We have to stop isolating ourselves and letting our relationships go. Self-care goes first, and then your marriage and friendships. Stay connected. Stop overextending to your kids and start tending to your friends. Reach out. It’s something easy and tangible to do. Get connected to your community. People move around all the time. Create your own support. Create it, or connect with it.

Two friends having a drink together and laughing

2. Put yourself on a social media diet. Limit it. Be mindful about what you do, including social media. Take the time you’d spend on social media and do something for yourself. Take a walk outside, take a bath, read a book. Social media has its place.

3. Limit your choices. You want to do what’s best for your kids. So you research every school, every team, every teacher. What’s happening is that more choices mean more stress. The sky is the limit. That’s not good for anybody.

4. Don’t avoid intimacy with your partner. It’s not just sex. It’s about communication. Don’t expect your husband to be your girlfriend or best friend. Get those other needs met elsewhere. Make time to talk to each other. Make eye contact.

5. For single parents — learn how to ask for help and learn how to receive the help. Single moms, they feel like the spotlight is on them. Can they actually do this? They have the extra drive to show they can do it all. Ask for help and receive it and do it guilt-free.

Ask your partner for more help with household chores and parenting tasks. Tap your network of family and friends and seek additional childcare resources. Talk with your manager and co-workers about increased flexibility and strategies to manage your workload.

6. Be honest and talk it out with people you trust. Once burnout takes hold, people tend to retreat and become isolated. Reach out to family, friends and counselors before that happens. Seek virtual help from a therapist or support group.

Two women sitting, one has a hand on the others shoulder

7. Create routines. Work and life responsibilities have melded together during the pandemic, especially for those who also are working from home. Keep a consistent routine that includes both working time and downtime with your family.

8. Schedule “me” time. Give yourself time each day to decompress, get away from the work or school screen, and move around.

9. Set boundaries. Learn to say no or find alternatives. Something as simple as asking to shift a work meeting to a different time or day, if necessary, or requesting to connect through a short phone call instead of a Zoom session, can relieve your stress

10. Monotask instead of multitask. Rather than berate yourself for not doing more, accept that you can’t do everything. Resist the urge to multitask and allow yourself to be present in what you’re doing in the moment, be it spending time with your kids or catching up with a friend or colleague.“Sometimes even the pressure of trying to get exercise can make matters worse when it feels like just one more thing on the to do list,” she says. “People feel guilty for failing to meet another goal.”

11. Lower expectations. Focus on the basics like getting a good night’s sleep, going for a short walk or having a few minutes of quiet time as more restorative methods of self-care.

Final Thoughts

As women or parents in general, I often wonder why some of us feel bad about getting help from others? It is because we feel weak or inadequate for not being able to do it all ourselves?

I believe we need to truly normalize self care, taking breaks, and understand that we cannot pour from empty cups. We wear a lot of hats and it takes a lot of energy to do it.

If you’d like to read the article from Today.com in more detail here and if you want to read the one from UCIhealth.org, click here.

Another great post I read that had helpful information is The Best Quick Fix for Mom Burnout to Start Feeling Like Yourself Again.

The first steps I plan to take are going on a mini vacation (child-free), finding/establishing a steady babysitter, indulging in activities that may allow me to make friends, and starting fresh as a mommy!

What’s the first thing you will do to overcome mommy burnout?

I hope and pray burnout is replaced with joy and peace in your journey and that this article was helpful!

 

 

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